Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 22, 2011

The NBC Effect on Versus for INDYCAR Is Becoming Apparent

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:46 am

The Versus/NBC folks finally announced the on-air plans for Indy Car in 2011 on Monday. The list of improvements is long and impressive. Wally Dallenbach Jr. joins Bob Jenkins and Jon Beekhuis in the booth. The production also gets an upgrade with NBC’s Sam Flood, and there is also a new director, Mike Wells, whose reputation was established when NBC and Turner carried NASCAR. The guy has multiple Emmys to back it up too.

Qualifying sessions return twelve times on Versus, and their race coverage starts with the festivities in Birmingham at Barber April 9 and 10. The broadcast window goes from three hours to five continuous hours to include live broadcasts Indy Lights races eight times.

Versus has also added “Inside the IZOD IndyCar Series” which airs from 4-5 p.m. ET debuting May 3 with re-airs. The host is said to be the oft-fired Robin Miller, now Randy Bernard’s BFF. Races will also re-air on Mondays. All told more than 140 hours of coverage is planned throughout the season and all in HD.

Aside from changes in the booth, long time fans are saddened because Jack Arute has been put out to pasture. Robbie Floyd is also on the sidelines except for fill-in roles. Lindy Thackston is back, however, and she will be joined by Marty Snider along with Kevin Lee, who comes over from the radio network.  Robin Miller will also have a pre-race role and perhaps features during the event.

Flood’s memorable sound bite is “We truly believe in the big-event strategy at NBC and VERSUS, where you’ll take an event and make it bigger than it was before and through that growth the sport grows.”

No recent word from ESPN on ABC, but INDYCAR gets five events on network television and that is good, although it appears that bunch will just phone it in as they have for the past ten years or so.

Many people remain utterly chagrined because no streaming of practices or other content NOT broadcast OTA or on cable will be offered. That is so far beyond stupid that it has become frustrating because Indy Car brass has turned a blind eye. So much for fans and trying to compete in the 21st century.




  1. I’m sure the streaming problem will be (eventually) solved. It’s far from the most important thing that’s happened over the last year & far from the most important thing over the next year. What’s so hard about watching it on television?

    Editor’s Note: What if you subscribe to a service that does not offer Versus or you are an Indy Car fan in a country not licensed to carry the programming?

    Comment by redd — March 22, 2011 @ 3:56 am | Reply

    • I’d say subscribe to a service that includes Indycar.

      I do have sympathy for those in other countries who can’t get the races. But they’re on SPEED Downunder and on SKY in Europe. I’m not sure about the Great White North…

      I also have heard that NBC could be planning to stream, which seems logical.

      Comment by redd — March 22, 2011 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

  2. It’s nice to see this NBC deal come to be. Just six months ago, many believed it to be pie in the sky. Now it’s fact.

    About the streaming: what numbers do sponsors look at? Do they monitor web activity or simply look at TV numbers? If sponsors base their decisions from the later, it possibly could be influencial on this situation. In other words, is someone trying to force people to watch it on TV?

    Comment by M. Miller — March 22, 2011 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

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