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« Curty Cavin Asks The Questions Re: Firestone | Main | Stay Strong on No Driver Cash Subsidies from the League, 'Nard Dog »

March 14, 2011


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Christopher Leone

I'd like people to consider just how many other major professional sports allow people to view their events for free online. That has always smacked of "bush league" to me. If it's a worthwhile event, people should be paying for it.

I have a feeling that NBC and Comcast are going to attempt to take on ESPN and as soon as they do, there will be a major NBC Sports streaming site up, which will almost assuredly include IndyCar coverage. Think about it, this merger is a hell of a lot bigger than IndyCar. NBC has control of the Olympics - they're gonna have to find a way to stream those, the 2012 Super Bowl, major horse races, come on, there's absolutely going to need to be a large streaming network for these things, and it's going to need content to fill it up on other dates, why the hell wouldn't they take back control of everything they have the rights to?

We can all complain all we want about this one immediate development right now, but guess what? It's all about the bigger picture for the folks in control, and so it should be for us.

Does anybody REALLY think this decision was made with IndyCar being the first and foremost thing on Comcast's mind?

Brett M. Waldrep

Remember PDog that while it maybe 2 weeks before the first race, the first race is on ABC. Versus has till April 10 before their first race broadcast no need to panic ... yet!


Thank you for this very insightful, yet sobering, account of the inner-workings in TV land. You have a better understanding than I do, and you've explained it well. I've also heard the rumors and am curious why no announcement has been made regarding the on-air talent at Versus. You would think this close to the season, something would be announced.

17,000 unique hits in one day? I'm not worthy.


The problem I have is that I live in Canada not Spain. While traveling to Canada is an international event like traveling to Spain would be, Canada is still very tied into the USA. I pay dearly for my Cable TV which gives me the right to watch and dvr NBC shows "over here" but when it comes to internet streaming of the same content thats NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! No Hulu no nothing. If your IP is not based in the USA that tough luck. So while Versus is not available, nor will it likely be for any time in the future, in Canada, I have no way of paying for the content. Even if they did provide some sort of online PPV option it would surely be blocked at the border as well. INDYCAR is happy to take our Canadian Dollars when they come to Toronto and Edmonton, I hope they figure out quick some way to take them so I can watch coverage of there other events too. Heck I can watch practice, qualifying and races all day on SPEEDTV if I wanted to watch Nascar. Why isn't that crap blocked at the border!


If the rumored TV crew turns out to be real then it should be a good sign, but not having it confirmed with two weeks to go is a problem. The first four races are problematic...On the positive side the merger should raise awareness of Versus and get it on more lower tier cable packages, both of which should help ratings. The biggest danger to Indycar is that Comcast is going to start trying to add larger sports and if Indycar doesn't grow very quickly they risk getting left behind, just like what happened at ESPN. Indycar's pretty screwed if this doesn't work out...


Oh, and the online thing is really worrying. They've gotten Olson, Iannucci and Hobson and now they're going to be gone again?!?!?!?! WTF! Do you know if they're considering moving them over to NBC Sports or whatever they're going to call it? Hope so.

17,000 hits in one day!?!?! Wow... and you average 400??? As George said, we're not worthy. Unique hits too...

Allen Wedge

Great write-up Pdog, 100% on the ball. Just a few points worth mentioning:

#1 NBC already airs over 100+ Olympic events online for free (they sell advertising on that space, just as ESPN and CBS do for their free streaming services)

#2 NFL/MLB/NBA and all NCAA sports (through CBS-C) offers pay-to-view offerings online. For IndyCar, there are already cameras following the track, already a radio feed, if NBC just spliced those together, fans would pay for it.

#3 most of the U.S. based outrage is that even when Versus has qualifications they are on tape-delay so no one is going to watch qualifications if they already know how it ends. If quals continue on tape-delay then ratings will never go up. So quals and practice were the most useful online streaming because it was stuff you can't get on Versus.

If NBC went in either direction (free streaming that was inferior to TV with ads on screen OR pay to view) I don't think anyone would have a single issue. Both would generate revenue for NBC; just a matter of knowing how much.

The worry (that I analyzed in my writeup yesterday), GrandAm has already proven that online video offerings don't have a negative effect on TV ratings, in fact much the opposite. My fear is that NBC/Versus is cutting online streaming in hopes that ratings will take a boost; and if they don't they'll start placing blame elsewhere and that would be a real bad situation for the league to be in.


Versus might dump Indycar entirely? Did I read that right? Seriously?

One thing is that they owe money to Indycar for several more years right? And they also need programming? And ABC's rights to the 500 are up shortly, aren't they?

Ugh. I'm going back under my rock.


Agreed. Television entities can't give away their content for free; however, until Versus gets their penetration numbers up, IndyCar races need to be made available (at an appropriate fee) to those fans—international or otherwise—that don't have access to the network.


Of course keep in mind there are about a zillion nuances and wrinkles and tons of data and debate that go into these decisions as well. There's a lot of art that goes along with the science, which is why the executives who make The Call can make an assload of money or get fired pretty easily.


pressdog serves us some clarifying sauce for this dark,dank and tasteless soup.


enjoy the indycar season then.

(ex.indycar fan, audacious enough to live overseas / unable to install a dish)


I agree with Allen, if the ratings don't improve, no way will Comcast/NBC execs connect the dots and properly conclude that not streaming quals live is hurting them, rather than helping them. That would be 'fessing up to a mistake, and the egos-that-be in the management of entertainment tend to be the type who are not capable of doing so.

Tim in Independence

Nice work p-dog very good article, as I mentioned on the forum, can I assume Hobbson and Ianucci have already gotten there pink slips?

Concerned Fan

@redcar: Versus is apparently giving up on their IndyCar web site, not the TV broadcast.

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