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May 20, 2010


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I had to contain my laughter at work while reading this - nice article pdog!

Jim Bob

He had to fly all the way to New York and talk to suits at Versus to figure out how to improve ratings?

Hey Randy, all you need to do is buy a Indy 500 program and look at the thing called the "entry list" and that will tell you why your ratings suck.


Got a good laugh out of this one. Well done.

Cindric's quote in the IBJ article is ludicrous. Tim, you're not on network TV because network TV does not want this product! You are one of exactly three owners who could do something about it. You can afford to pay your drivers. But you serve up three guys that American race fans will never accept as stars of a major racing series.

The IMS absolutely should not pay for network TV time until owners like Cindric agree to help out by providing a product that might attract motorsports fans in the U.S.


Entry list: Dixon, Castroneves, Tracy, Rahal, Francitti, Wilson, Tagliani, two Andrettis, Kanaan, RHR, Power, di Silverstro, Beatriz and Patrick and a few others. So I'm good with that...

And IMS should never pay for network time.



That is clearly what Cindric wants. No network is going to pay for IndyCar, so any TV time beyond the ABC races that come with the Indy deal will have to be time buys. That's not new.

ChampCar and CART both had to do it that way. The IRL didn't at first because Indy still drew big enough numbers to justify the rest of the schedule. But that isn't true anymore. That's why we only have five races on ABC.

The owners have been calling for IndyCar (owned by the IMS) to buy network time since the middle of last season. That is clearly what they want.

It might even make sense if the owners would help the IRL build a product that could attract U.S. TV viewers. Another solution might be the split the cost between the series and the team owners. But the owners wouldn't like that nearly as much; it would reduce the economic benefit that they would get from network TV exposure.


Rog--even if they could buy time, what do they do about the remaining 8 years on the Versus contract? Also--if you are reduced to buying time on networks isn't that a sign you're selling a product nobody wants?



You can always buy time. The question is whether or not it makes sense to do so. I wish that I could answer your question about the Versus contract. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the contract, so I would just be guessing.

I recall reading somewhere that Versus got a guaranteed minimum number of races each year. If that is accurate, then IndyCar would need to fulfill that obligation and then buy network time for whatever number of races remains.

I did the math last year and determined that buying network time would not have made sense. Given the average network viewership for IndyCar races, the teams would not be able to sell enough additional sponsorship to justify the time buy.

Paul Tracy effectively confirmed the point last year when he told Robin Miller that GEICO said that the entire IndyCar season was worth about $1.2 million. Those numbers were based on ratings in 2008, when all IndyCar races were on ABC/ESPN. It is safe to assume that the valuation has decreased along with viewership on Versus. My calculations put the value of full-season IndyCar primary sponsorship at a little more than $900K. Given what GEICO told Tracy, that seems to be in the ballpark.

Your more existential question - the one about trying to sell a product that nobody wants - gets to the heart of the matter. It's the elephant in the room that nobody in the garage area wants to acknowledge. Fixing the problem would mean doing things that they really do not want to do.

And so they pick at the margins. They blame the TV partner. ESPN/ABC used to be the bad guy; now it is viewed as the series' salvation.

They blame race promoters, or at least those that can't dip into government coffers for the sake of promoting the events. They blame everyone but themselves.

They like what they like and they think that lots of other people should like it, too. That they're clearly wrong must be someone else's fault.

Is it not a sign that you're selling a product that few people want when you require government subsidies in order to add a new event to the schedule? Of course it is. But the team owners - and IndyCar management that is scared to death of losing those team owners - choose not to ignore what the market is shouting to them.

race fan

"when you require government subsidies in order to add a new event to the schedule"

Isn't that what Formula One does?

Harvey Pelovsky

Have ANY of you commenting EVER taken over a business that needs to be "turnedaround"?
Does not sound like it.
I have been doing this for 30+ years. Give Randy some time, what has he been on the job, 3 months????
IndyCar has been totally mismanaged by a spoiled brat for over 14 years and it will take time to point the ship the other way.
Give him credit, in the few months he has been on the job, he has made more changes in that time then "spoiled Tony" made in 14 yrs. He will get the job done. Support him!

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