IRL caught in TV war

August 24, 2009
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versusDirecTV officials said over the weekend that if they can’t resolve their contract dispute with Comcast-owned Versus cable channel, they will drop the channel which airs Indy Racing League races.

DirecTV subscribers have been seeing a crawl on their TV sets since Aug. 20 telling them that as of Aug. 31, DirecTV will no longer carry Versus.

IRL officials have said that this is all part of the negotiations process, and they expect the dispute to be resolved. While California-based DirecTV doesn’t represent a huge viewing universe, the IRL can hardly afford to lose access to its more than 17 million North American subscribers.

DirecTV officials said they are not interested in paying a high price for a channel which has overall “poor” ratings. Versus said Aug. 21 in a statement that since its last deal with DirecTV, it added many marquee properties and has become the fastest-growing sports cable network in the U.S.

IRL officials said TV viewership in the series’ first year with the cable channel has exceeded Versus’ forecast, and they expect those numbers to grow.

Terry Angstadt, President of IRL’s commercial division, told IBJ that he thinks the move to Versus remains a very solid strategic decision that will pay off even more in future years.

DirecTV was an IRL sponsor until Versus came aboard as the league’s TV partner. Officials for Comcast weren’t about to let DirecTV have any direct ties to the series its company-owned station carried.

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  • IRL officials said TV viewership in the series’ first year with the cable channel has exceeded Versus’ forecast, . . . . .

    Versus must have had some pretty low expectations. I guess they must have attended some of the 2008 races and saw the product.
  • TEh IRl knows all bout negotations. THey negotiated CARt to death hahahahahaha I aint worried bout this at all. JUSt pick up the DIsh baby.

    ANyone know when the VErsus contract is up with the DIsh anyway?

    DO waht we did for the some of the IRl races. GO to WAlMArt and wach them there. WOrks grate.
  • To this day, I have yet to see the point in BigIRLfan's writing style. Makes no sense.
  • A recent IRL broadcast on Versus drew only 160,000 households...

    And this EXCEEDED their expectations?

    I find it amazingly difficult to believe that any series would sign a TV contract with the expectation of being watched in few then 160,000 households.

    Talkin' Terry is simply lieing to us. His little venture down the TV dial has been a dismal failure, and each day the IRL fails to recognize this and take immediate corrective action is costing them fans and revenue.

    IndyCar race fans have seen what happens when their beloved sport is watched by next to nobody on some obscure network attempting to re-re-re-rebrand itself. It fails.
  • I swore off posting here, but I thought I'd throw the haters some last (maybe) time:

    1. I enjoy the Vs. broadcasts. They are much better than ESPN/ABC.
    2. I subscribe to DirecTV.
    3. I will not blame Vs. or DirecTV (completely) in this dispute. I blame the IRL.

    Better coverage is what we asked for, and we're getting it, but on a relatively new not so widely distributed network. Versus is doing a fine job, and I commend them. But this was forseeable given the standing of this network in the grand field of networks that is Cable/Sat/etc.

    I will not be switching from DirecTV. I like their product. Wouldn't matter anyway, I don't think Comcast in my land gets Vs. anyway. Guess it's the internet feed for me. :(

    Growing or not though, I do have one beef with Vs. I have to question the logic in making demands when you're main focus should be market share and viewers??? Build your base, then charge what you think you're worth!
  • JoBu, why is it that you and your 2 cohorts are the ones who always initiate the hate in each blog post? The numbers on Versus reflect the true fan base; people who are fans will follow the broadcasts no matter where they are.

    It would be interesting to see the number of Versus/IRL viewers from DirecTV, which has about 18% market share. Let's see, 18% of .2 = 0.036, a general baseline, but depending on the DirecTV viewership, could be more or less.
  • Flame on SSD. I didn't spew any hate, I was throwing you a big tasty steak.
  • BTW...did you miss the fact that VS. isn't available on Comcast in my area (it's their freaking network)??? I will be relegated to the web, and I'm pretty sure that isn't in the count.
  • I don't have to flame, BooHoo, I have plenty of facts to dishup.
  • You said you didn't think it was available. If you were an IRL fan, you would know whether it is or not.
  • This plane is definitely crashing!! Doomed! Doomed I say! Come on guys you know you want to ditch the IRL and come watch NASCAR we have better open wheel racers anyway. Sam Hornish jr (your number 1 son) has read the writing on the wall and has happily joined us! Hell Roger Penske wants NASCAR to buy the IRL, so should you!!
  • The problem Versus has is that the numbers are not improving as the season progresses. The four races on ABC after the 500 showed increased viewership race to race.
  • Is TROLL a reborn version of DaHooey?
  • Nah, just one more Doofus neckcar goober.
  • As opposed to a Big IRL Fan?

    I've met numerous IRL fans who could be the one contributing here.
  • Nope. Da Hooey is right here. No need to add to the hate, the EARL is flushing its own toilet anyway...

    I want to axe Anthony why there is no coverage of MotoGP here this week? I mean, you have 100000 people coming in town to see what might well be the best race here all year. Do you think maybe this is too much for your average gomer to understand? Just asking why there is no coverage....

    Thanks in advance...
  • Funny Da Hooey since you seem to spend soooooo much time in Gomer Land yourself.

    From the words of Pee Wee Herman - I know you are but what am I?

  • Berwickguy - I live in Gomerland you idiot. These will be the 3 best days - racing wise - in Indy all year. I'm simply pointing out that while we have 3 threads a week on EARL (the dysfunctional, evaporating joke of a race series), we have ZERO on the MotoGP race coming up?

    What gives, is all i wanna know.
  • Talkin' Terry should be the new Joe Isuzu. If anyone in any business anywhere believes a word that guy says, they should be fired immediately for flagrant incompetence.

    Funny to see the whiners that swore they were leaving still addicted to the hate. :lol:

    I don't think keeping or losing ReVersus on DaWrecked TV will have any impact on the ratings either way. There's not much of any statistical significance when no one is watching.

    Anthony, I still haven't heard any answer on if you polled the other IBJ writers as to what would be good uses for the land when IMS gets bulldozed. :D
  • Ha Ha. Maybe this will speed up the death of Tony's visions. Good riddance suckers. I can only laugh at the morons who bought _TG's wooden nickel and believed his lies. How's that s___ sandwich taste?
  • Wow, Hooey, did I strike a nerve or what? You are correct about the 3 best days of racing with the Bikes. I think back to some of Mario's almost wins and how great that guy was. Those were the days. Shouldn't be the way it is today. But, unlike Brett and you and Stan, I ain't participating in throwing all participants under the bus, even if they are loopy.

    What gives with always making fun of them? It's their choice. Besides, they had no control over what happened and only know that what's left is what's left. Many of us still like some of the competitors. There are some good people involved. Some people just want to race at this level even if it is lame.

    You guys joke about the Dallara. Granted, it is uncompetetive and pretty darn ugly to look at. I will say though that that car has likely saved the lives of a few drivers including Phillipe yesterday. Ok, I know he shouldn't be there, just like Marco Greco shoudn't have been there or Salt Walther shouldn't have been there or Jigger Sirois shoudn't have been there. Truth is - none of us can have much of anything we like anymore because it all gets screwed up by money and power.

    Face it, this is happening to all forms of racing at the highest levels, open wheel, fender cars, dragsters, some more than other. Only the basics have some degree of real competition left and who knows how long that will last.

    Sports in general - Baseball - screwed up by greed and unions , Pro basketball - screwed up by greed, thugs and unions, Pro Football - it won't be long folks before it will begin tumbling because of continued greed, College Sports - screwed up by greed and the NCAA.

    What's left - minor league sports and dirt track racing. That's where it all starts and that's where it will all end. See ya at Eldora or Salem.

  • Strike a nerve? :gomer:

    no, you just don;t have good comprehesion skills, gotard.

    The IRL: Byebye TVland!
  • The Versus plan was to gather all *testosterone* based sports together and have the fanbase of each feed off the other. The NHL has nothing in common with UFC or the Tour De France and definately nothing in common at all with the IRL. Second that with Buck Hunting and Bass Fishing...

    I'm not a cynic...I'm a realist. The only thing strategic about the IRL's move to Versus is it strategically places them on a path to failure. Ten year contract? 160,000 households? What kinda business acumen is needed to understand Versus is the IRL's burial ground? And yeah yeah, the production value is improved. For the love of god....the ontrack product STINKS. The cars look awkward and slow with wings pasted all over them. How can you have respect for a series that from it's inception was oval based and as soon as they merge the sport the turn into CART, a way worse CART then CART was on it's very worst days?

    Pull the plug, or change for the better of the sport because it's dead and Versus ain't gonna help.
  • Wow, it is kind of interesting to watch the haters eat their own. Kind of like a virtual National Geographic.

    Hopefully this is a typical extortion as opposed to the battle comcast and B10 had. Usually one or the other blinks quickly. That happened with ESPN as a young network, they made the cable providers blink. Then again, some of the local networks outlets have not had the same luck. Unfortunate, but it happens.

    I am sure Anthony will post about this, but great to hear that Danica is back in the fold and Dixon should soon be there as well. Smart move for both of them.
  • Can you imagine if the IRL let Mrs. Hospenthal get away? She's the only reason the IRL isn't six foot under (and one of the reasons no one takes the sport seriously anymore).
  • Hello all. Da Hooey has a solid point. I have been a bit busy with two special projects (non-sports related) for our print product, and I haven't had a chance to check in on the MotoGP race. I will try to do so tomorrow. Thanks for reading and thanks for being patient.
  • Thanks Anthony. And while I have your attention, is it proper board etiquette to insinuate someone has a cocaine problem? Berwick guy was outta line on that one.

    And before you get your panties in a wad, BWGuy, Tony George has a documented history with cocaine abuse, I do not. so STFU unless you can back that crap up. MMMmmkay?? :rollseyes:
  • Wow dahooey, somehow you can get your panties in a bunch over cocaine insinuations (which I agree is wrong) but you can simulate cuss words? Interesting. I guess we all have our own levels of decorum.
  • Indyman,

    Perhaps I was inappropriate by even mentioning that - hey it was just a hint about what he's always saying. I will say this though. I certainly touched a nerve. Notice how he never chooses to opine about any comments of essence and worth only the innocuous diatribe he espouses. He probably won't understand that any more than he does when you or I make a point.

    And now whom is whining to the moderator? hmmmmm
  • You made 4 posts about me. :)

    I take drug addiction VERY seriously, and if you knew me, you would know that. But BoT: The EARL is almost done, and if you want to continue to circle the toilet for countless days until its inevitable death, then by all means keep up the hope! Keep up the idiocy that is following a sport on life support till its death. I know, I did that with CART/CCWS and while I did snag a few things outta the garage for cheap, none of it matters any more. The same will be true regarding EARL. ITS OVER.

    Now - to my additional point - there is some fantastic competition @ IMS this week/weekend, and if you had any snse, you would be out there checking it out. This is real stuff, real manufacturer involvement, real competition, real racers on really bleeding edge technology. Not to mention the Ducati Island and the bikini models! :eek:

    Anyone from the board going? I will gladly buy you a beer. Say Friday?
  • Another .2 being reported for Sunday. Versus is happy that they once again have exceeded all expectations. hahah
  • Danica says she won't decide what she is going to do until after the season regardless of what Gomers like Curt Cavein and Mindyman say. If she stays that means she just didn't have an opportunity to leave the hapless EARL.
  • It is fun and sad to watch the daily destruction of what was once a good sport in this country.
    They need to shut it down and let it die for the sake of the sport.
    Thanks Tony.
  • Hey, midget and sprint short trackers still are not getting a chance to ascend to the highest levels of open wheel sport. What the heck happened? All key metrics are up, lot's of new oval tracks to race on....certainly plenty of demand for Indy racing on ovals.

    Hmmm? Why the heck you figure all that failed?
  • It's been a long time since the Sonoma and Kentucky races and still not Neilsen ratings. Did they even register on Neilsen's TV O'Meter?? If they did register, are they so pathetic and embarrasing that the Indy Reject Leege is hiding them?? Are they the first 0.0something TV ratings?? Now that Dish has kicked Reversus off their line-up, with the ratings be even more pathetic?

    And how's that search for the Series Sponsor coming?
  • Yeah, it's been a long time since there's been some ratings news. Just wondering how low can they go...
  • I've got a .08, with 86,000 HHs for Chicagoland. the previous race, where ever that was, was a .2 with 186,000 HHs
  • I was under the impression the folks at 16th & Jonestown were pleased with the numbers because the numbers were inline or exceeding estimates.
  • gomers and league officials are hoping that the other sports properties Versus broadcasts will provide the leverage needed to resolve the impasse, because they know the IRL is too insignificant to have any impact. In fact, I'm imagining that Versus and the IRL wish they had other options than to continue with the current arrangement
  • Thanks for the info, SSD. Just when you thought the ratings couldn't go any lower...
  • Three weeks later and no one wants to reveal the ratings. It's reported in the media DirectTV stalemate is NOT settling. Speedway wanting $100K "lease fee" for crossover teams from merger. ALMS teams that expected to come to IRL in 2010 going belly up. Tony George's vision team can't find sponsorship and likey will go belly-up. Media report declares "nobody's watching" the IRL on TV. Paul Tracy Twitter's that he has seen the IRL Versus numbers and can't fathom taking the numbers to sponsors looking for $$$. There is no value in the series.

  • I'd like to wish everybody a Happy Anniversary. Today, September 13, marks exactly one month since ANYBODY at IBJ reported about the IRL's TV ratings. This is despite two races being broadcast since then, the IRL's broadcast partner for the majority of the races (Versus) being removed from the largest satellite TV provider (DirecTV) and numerous requests for such information ignored. Just like quarterly financial reports, the IRL's Nielsen ratings are a respected, timely report on its success. Any business publication worth its salt would report those as breaking news. IBJ isn't. Most laughable is that IBJ shows such apathy toward a recognized (at least it used to be) Indiana based business like the IRL/IMS and then people STILL wonder why it's so hard to generate multi-million dollar sponsorship deals by the league or individual teams. If a publication about Indiana business doesn't care about the IRL/IMS situation anymore, why should any other businesses care either, especially ones with large advertising budgets?
  • UPDATE 4 weeks later: IRL apparently in Japan and staying out of the spotlite as no press coverage about the now invisable series up here in the great northeast.

    No TV ratings delivered for the past three races, IRL Motegi race NOT shown on DirectTV, rumors abound about scarce crowd at Motegi and a late night boring race. Should be great for sponsors and non-releasable TV ratings. Penske rumored to be in negotiations to buy THAT would sell tickets. Maybe a possible controlling interest in the series. Like that doesn't already exist.

    Silly season has only 9 to 12 cars returning for next years 2010 season. Of course, if there was positive news about IMS/IRL you would have heard it trumpeted from sea to shining sea. There is none...even the IBJ knows it. Continue the news blackout, out of sight out of mind.
  • IBJ's non-reporting of the league is an accurate reflection of the general public's non-interest

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