|Finally Mark Miles giving international TV rights the attention it deserves|
Hulman & Company has announced the formation of INDYCAR Media, which becomes the in-house global distribution arm of INDYCAR's international media rights. INDYCAR Media has already begun to arrange the distribution of media rights for the 2019 IndyCar Series season and beyond.
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, oversaw the development of a similar program for the ATP Tour in men's professional tennis and that program stands as a model. INDYCAR Media will secure deals with more than two dozen licensees representing more than 100 countries broadcasting IndyCar Series races.
IMS Productions, also owned by Hulman & Company, will continue to create the televised world feed distributed globally. INDYCAR Media will draw on IMSP's expertise to facilitate technical aspects of the programming and use IMSP's first-class production facilities and personnel to offer customized video content to the various international broadcasters for the first time. In addition to orchestrating all broadcast facilities for INDYCAR, IMSP does similar work for Mecum Auctions, the Indiana Pacers, the Los Angeles Lakers and Professional Bull Riders.
"The IndyCar Series is experiencing a resurgence outside the U.S.," Miles said. "For that reason, now is a particularly good time to do this. Controlling video content and media rights are essential to growth."
Miles said tailoring video content to the needs of the broadcasters is key to engaging audiences.
"In the highest-priority countries, we will work more closely with our broadcast partners to define market-specific opportunities, and we will grow our international audiences by focusing on these specific needs," Miles said. "We can enhance the amount of video content by creating new clips or drawing from our extensive archives."
Stephen Starks, INDYCAR vice president of promoter and media partner relations, has and will continue to assist Miles in developing INDYCAR Media. Starks will manage the coordination of INDYCAR's resources to execute all necessary functions. This includes the identification and arrangement of external needs such as the recent hiring of Heather White, a media rights veteran based in London who most recently worked for ESPN International, which worked on INDYCAR's behalf over the past two decades. While at ESPN International, White assisted with the distribution of INDYCAR's media rights in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She will serve as the primary licensing point of contact for INDYCAR Media.
"We will define our most important global markets based on several factors, including the ability to support places where the INDYCAR following is already strong, by targeting nations represented among our diverse driver lineup, through focusing on countries where broadcasters are best at growing our audience, and by looking at where we might want to race in the future, to name a few," Starks said. "Because we have a baseline of where our content is in high demand, we have a clear direction."
Starks said arrangements will be in place in advance of the IndyCar Series' first race of the 2019 season, which is March 10 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Miles said White's involvement is crucial to the continuity of the relationship between INDYCAR and its licensees, many of which have longstanding relationships with the sport.
"Heather knows us, she knows our product, she knows our current customers, and she knows other broadcasters all over the world," Miles said. "She will work as a representative of INDYCAR Media from London and will be totally focused on the licensing aspects."
Said Miles of ESPN International: "INDYCAR appreciates its substantial contributions to the sport." ESPN did the international distribution for IndyCar for decades.