Can the Indy 500 be far behind?

UPDATE It's now fact that the NFL's "Monday Night Football," a hallmark of television sports programming since the days of Howard Cosell, is leaving ABC after 35 years for ESPN starting with the 2006 season. The NFL's new broadcast deal also brings football back to NBC for the first time in six years. NBC will take over the Sunday night games previously broadcast on ESPN, and plans to use a flexible scheduling model that ensures meaningful games will be played in that slot late in the season. The "Monday Night Football" move to cable is expected to cost ESPN $1.1 billion per year over eight years, two sources familiar with the deals told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. NBC will get the Sunday night package for $600 million over six years, according to the sources. The network also will get the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2012 as part of the deal, one of the sources said. AP Story If Monday Night football, who's ratings dwarfed that of the Indy 500, are moving to cable TV, can the Indy 500 be far behind? 04/15/05 Disney would like to move "Monday Night Football" from its ABC network to cable channel ESPN, the New York Times reports Thursday. The move, the Times report states, would give the cable network a prime time sporting event on a night when no other games are going on. It also states Sunday night games would be aired on ABC. Walt Disney Co., of Burbank, would pay the National Football League $1.45 billion for the switch, the report states. ESPN also is a unit of Disney. The report states ABC loses about $150 million annually from "Monday Night Football." If ABC wants to move Monday Night Football to ESPN, what does the future hold for the Indy 500, which last year only garnered a 4.1 TV rating and is headed for the 3's? Might the next TV contract for the Indy 500 see it moved to cable TV? If Tony George continues with the split from Champ Car, continues the destruction of open wheel racing, bank on it.

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