ABC and Indianapolis 500 Joint Venture Approaches Fifty Years

August 10, 2011

ABC have agreed a six-year deal to televise the Indianapolis 500 through to 2018, extending one of the longest-running relationships between a sporting event and a television network past the half-century mark.

ESPN on ABC will broadcast the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race for the 48th consecutive year on May 27, 2012, and, with the new agreement taking effect in 2013.

The agreement also involves ABC being the network partner for the IZOD IndyCar Series from 2013-18 and will continue to televise four races each year in addition to the Indianapolis 500.

George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports, said: “The Indianapolis 500 and ABC have been together since 1965, and we are very proud to extend the relationship with this new agreement. The 500 is a uniquely American event and a Memorial Day tradition, and we especially look forward to televising the 100th edition of the race in 2016.”

The Indianapolis 500 aired at first as part of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” from 1965 until 1971, when it was broadcast for the first time as a same-day, stand-alone, tape-delayed telecast in prime time. It was shown on a delayed basis until the first live telecast in 1986. This past May, ESPN’s production of the Indianapolis 500 telecast used 64 high definition cameras, a satellite-activated effects system and more of the most modern television technology available.