IRL forced to buy TV time now

UPDATE We are downgrading this rumor to 'speculation' and it may soon go to 'false.' The contract before the renewal last year was $15M a year for 5 years. Two sources say that ABC pays for the rights. It is NOT a time buy. However, things most likely will change in 2007 we hear. 12/11/05 While many IRL fans think the IRL is paid by ABC/ESPN to air their race, think again. According to this Charlotte Observer article by David Poole, except for Indy, the IRL buys its TV time just like Champ Car and all the rest of the racing series in the USA, and then sells back the time on their own to try and recoup the cost.

To make matters worse for the IRL, the France family has done a deal with their TV partner for NASCAR that will require ABC/ESPN to pay them huge amounts of money. Hence ABC/ESPN will do everything in their power to promote NASCAR and the IRL will play second fiddle.

Not only is the France family moved to cut off the supply chain of the IRL (grassroots open wheel racing) they have now done a deal to squash them on TV. Oh, and the IRL races at France family tracks are a thing of the past too. It's possible they are going for the IRL's jugular, to bleed it to death and then squash it like a bug as they may be seeking to rid the sport of the fan confusion caused by too many forms of motorsport.

Looking at the strategic maneuvering NASCAR is doing, the IRL is in trouble and the future of open wheel racing in the USA is in serious jeopardy. If Tony George doesn't agree to a 50/50 deal with Champ Car soon to bolster open wheel racing, it could be lights out forever before long.

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