This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. See announcement on Hot News Page. 01/13/05
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I hear you talk about the TV deal that could have been signed months ago and how good it was. Why was it so good? Joe McInerney, Long Island
Dear Joe, The deal as we understand it called for 6 races on CBS in year 1, 9 on CBS in year 2 and 13 on CBS in year 3. The rest would have been on SPEED Channel, which would also have shown qualifying on Saturday. The only drawback to that deal was CBS could not show Long Beach live in year 1 as it conflicted with the Masters Golf Tournament. CBS could have shown it tape-delayed or SPEED would have shown it live. That would have not been an issue in years 2 and 3 and LB was willing to shift their race by one week. The deal was a time-buy but the prices negotiated were low. The increase to 13 races on network TV by year 3 would have been a major shot in the arm for Champ Car and would have helped the teams land sponsor deals, big deals. The deal that was finally signed is 1) Not as good, and 2) cost OWRS more money. However, Kevin Kalkhoven did not want to give Long Beach the opportunity to use the excuse of their race not being on network TV as a reason to give the race to the IRL after 2005. Mark C. 01/12/05
Sources tell us the SPEED Channel deal will probably be announced Thursday – eight races on SPEED, and they think they can get five shown live, even though inventory is low. They could have had them all live had they struck the deal with SPEED months ago when they had the chance. 8 on SPEED, 4 on CBS and 2 on NBC = 14 races, a pathetically low number. Will Champ Car add at least two more races to make 16? Time will tell. Mark C. 01/11/05
Rumor on the street is that Champ Car agreed to a deal with SPEED Channel today in Charlotte to broadcast the remaining Champ Car races not included in the CBS and NBC network races for the USA. We expect an announcement soon, possibly as soon as Wednesday. Mark C.