|Too bad 100% of the races weren't on ABC, which delivers ratings of 1.0 or higher just about every race. IndyCar would be booming. Instead the series carries the NBCSN albatross around its neck for most races.|
If you are a Verizon IndyCar Series fan who has longed to get closer to the action, ABC and ESPN might have just made your day.
ESPN announced Tuesday that it will debut a pair of innovations during the season-opening IndyCar race Sunday in St. Petersburg, Florida, that will air live on ABC.
The first is what ESPN is calling a predictive analytics system, which it says has been built specifically for IndyCar racing. The idea is to give fans a better chance at figuring out who might win by providing them with information about race strategy, including tire compound choices and laps on a tire, fuel windows and optimal laps for pitting. The system also will provide a predictive analysis of positions, lap time falloff and probability of cautions.
This information will supplement the scoring ticker and graphics fans are accustomed to seeing.
“ESPN is always looking for new ways to serve the sports fan better, and this technology is the next step," said Kate Jackson, ESPN coordinating producer for motorsports, in a news release. "Racing can be like watching a chess match: you have to be able to see what is being set up, not just what is happening right now. This innovation will allow us to present strategy information in a way that IndyCar fans have never seen before."
Also new for this season's broadcasts will be a "Visor Cam." IndyCar fans got a preview of this technology in early February during testing in Phoenix.
“Visor Cam will give viewers a very true portrayal of how it feels to be inside the car," said Jackson, noting that the new camera will not be used during the race due to possible interference with competition. “Fans will be able to see how G forces move the driver’s head and body around and how bumps on the circuit affect the car."
After St. Petersburg, ABC will broadcast four more races this season, including the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28.