ABC Gets Exclusive Rights for Indianapolis 500 Until 2018

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIIAugust 10, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 29:  Scott Dixon of New Zealand, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda, leads the field in to turn one at the start of the IZOD IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 29, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

It was announced today that ABC will retain its rights to show the Indianapolis 500 until 2018. 

Also in the agreement is that ABC/ESPN will cover four additional Izod IndyCar Series races throughout the season as well.

ABC has covered the Indianapolis 500 since 1965.  Under the new rights, ABC will get to air the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016.

The remaining races on the Izod IndyCar Series schedule in years 2012-2018 will be shown on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus).  That contact also is up in 2018.

The problem is that's what ESPN isn't giving IndyCar the time of day now.  Lets hope Randy Bernard can get something changed because ABC/ESPN isn't giving IndyCar any pre-race or post-race shows at all.  They're also not giving them any publicity during the week but the occasional commercial.  This is an outrage and lets hope this stops.

After the NASCAR race at Pocono this past weekend the lead story on Sports Center was NASCAR.  Let me tell you how much coverage the Izod IndyCar Series race got at Mid-Ohio on SportsCenter...none.  They couldn't even get a spot on the ticker at the bottom of the screen.

Lets hope this new deal had some stipulations in it.  There's absolutely no reason that IndyCar isn't getting as much if not more attention than NASCAR is right now.  That's the main thing hurting IndyCar right now is viewership.