Lance, Danica effect may rev IRL

July 23, 2009
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danicaLance Armstrong might not be having the Tour de France he hoped for, but the folks at Versus and the Indy Racing League aren’t complaining.

Heading into the final three stages at this year’s Tour, Armstrong is clinging to third place, but the drama of the three-week bicycle race is playing well with American TV viewers.

Average viewership for live coverage for this year’s Tour de France featuring Armstrong, a Texas native and cancer survivor, is up 88 percent over last year, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. That’s good news for the IRL, which has been heavily promoted during live morning broadcasts from France and prime-time evening replays in the U.S.

The morning broadcasts through stage 15 were bringing in 500,051 daily viewers, with the evening replays up about 40 percent, attracting another 250,000 plus daily viewers on average, according to Nielsen.

Tour viewership among key IRL demographic sets are very strong, with men 18-34 up 111 percent over last year, and men 18-49 up 134 percent.

During the first week of the Tour, Versus aired a number of IRL spots featuring Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal and pumping the July 26 Edmonton race. This week, there are a new batch of ads featuring Danica Patrick and the remaining package of seven IRL races to air on Versus.

In the ads featuring Patrick, she explains how she got into racing, proclaiming, "Some girls went to prom, I went to the race track." Versus’ IRL ads have been tagged with the slogan “It’s a new race.”

The IRL is also getting solid exposure on Versus’ Web site. Through 15 stages of the 2009 Tour, traffic on has increased 109 percent and the site has delivered more than 10 million Tour videos, nearly doubling the 2008 total (6.5 million) and more than tripling the total in 2007 (3.4 million) during the same period.
  • They'll get a 0.6 and be happy with it.
  • I'm guessing Trac was one of the girls who went to prom.
  • if it gets a bump, it sure won't be because of the product
  • Does anyone still watch this crap? I've been a fan since 1970 and this stuff they put out now is not Indy car racing. They need to bring back the horsepower and excitment, make the drivers work for a living. I ain't watchin' this stuff again until it gets back to the old style of car.
  • Tour de France is exciting stuff. IndyCar is not. I've watched every day of Versus's coverage of the Tour (the 3-hour evening broadcast and apart from too many commercial breaks and too many invasions of IndyCar promo popups on my screen, it's been great. But you know what? IndyCar didn't interest me before, and it doesn't interest me now.

    So Sunday, after watching F1 live in the AM (as I'm in Canada and don't have to wait for FOX to show it in the afternoon)), after lunch I'll be watching Mazda MX5-Cup from Autobahn Country Club live on HDNet, followed by Star Mazda from & on same, followed by Atlantic Championship from & on same. Then, if the real world doesn't have any demands on me that need to be taken care of right away, I'll probably check in on my the Canadian Open PGA Tour golf on CBS. Whether I watch it live or later, my PVR will be then set to record both rounds of the World Superbikes from Czechoslovakia on SPEED, followed by the British MotoGP/250cc races. Just as the IndyCar 'race' comes on, I'll need a break from all that tv, especially as after dinner it'll be the final 3hrs of the Tour de France.

    Monday evening, I'll be watching the GP2 race on SPEED that I had to PVR on Sunday night after I went to bed. And you know what, it'll probably be the most exciting event of the weekend.

    So much good stuff on tv. No time from crap.
  • whoops - No time from = No time for!
  • RenegadeX

    Who cares what you are watching? BTW F1 is a most boooooring sport I've ever seen.

    Live on HDnet? Wow they got less audience than Versus. Funny.:)

    Czechoslovakia ??? Man you are soooo idiot. There are Czech Republic and Slovakia. Since 1993. Go back to Crapforum.
  • I watch IRL races, and usually enjoy them.
  • RenegadeX does not get laid by pretty girls like I do. That is why he has so much time to watch a bunch of fourth-fifth tier sports product and then post about it on the forum. He does not enjoy the toes to nose babedom I get to bed down five or six days a week. Three, four different women a week. That's a lifetime achievement goal for RenegadeX. He'll be on his way when he gets to the brothel for his first. Problem is, 7-11 clerk dosn't pay that sort of scratch.
  • Count Tracula really - three or four different women a week - it would probably be more if you bought a electric pump - you are wasting so much time blowing them up manually. Just because you write a different womens name on your sock - doesnt make you a ladies man.
    I know this because gentleman who are sucessful with the ladies avoid the following terms : laid, babedom, and certainly scratch - unless you are picking them up at a Waynes World double feature.
    Can we please get back on topic - that is the IRL is sub par and thank god that the tour is doing so well.
  • Dang. I gots me a fanclub1 :)

    The IRL: Rome is burning.
  • Meet the new boss.....same as the old boss. Won't get fooled again....

    IF anyone REALLY wanted the IRL they wouldn't have to rely on riding Lance Armstrong's coattails, or Danica's sex appeal. Same damn concept that serves for reasons that MICHIGAN NEW HAMPSHIRE DOVER CHARLOTTE GATEWAY NAZARETH PIKES PEAK NASHVILLE AUSTRAILIA ATLANTA FONTANA CLEVELAND TORONTO WATKINS GLEN etc......the IRL has NO appeal, no identity (other than bad). Super crap series, same PIG with a different face painted on it.

    The product sucks and the gutless bastard who started this mess is over in the corner playing with his toy race car team. Some nimble leader HE turned out to be.
  • Chief,

    While you're at it, why don't you just go ahead and run down the whole world.

    Or, instead of pointing out the negative which everybody knows, why don't you offer some constructive ideas for the future.

  • Da BerwickGuy:

    We will never forget. Evidently you are gonna give FTg a pass on completely ruining the sport. Not that i agree with everything Count Spatula (great skis by the way) pens, but he's mostly right. This think is FUBAR'd and its gonna get alot worser afore it gets betterer. Accourse you all can keep making it out to be all rainbows and unicorns Little House on the praire BS, but we know its just TOAST.

    Where's the money gonna come from now?

    The IRL: Even Tony ran away from it.
  • Also - if it was that good, how come Tony runned away? Can ANYONE answer that?

    IRL: abandoned ship!
  • Da Hooey:

    It's not so much what he said, it's his let's just run everybody down attidude. While I get your point and I've agreed (and I'm not giving TG a pass either), I don't agree that EVERYONE involved with the IRL is worthless (as Brett always implies). Take Tony Cotman for example. He's a good man and knows what he's doing. Is anyone or everyone tainted because they worked for or under TG? Perhaps, but only to the extent of his influence while he was there in at least some cases.

    And I don't think TG ran away because he wanted to. I think his MOMMA and his sisty uglers throwed him off the train. He's probably in a fit of depression. Hey, it's of his own making.

    Additionally, do I think all of the drivers are pieces of crap? By no means do I. Yeah, I despise the ride buying ways and I hate the spec car business, but I do think there are some keepers.

    And lastly, I hold out a tiny bit of hope that there is someone or someones involved in this thing that can fix it before it totally blows up. You say, no way, and you may be right, I just hold out hope for the best. Don't hold that against me even if I am naive.
  • I see John Hooter Howard is pretending to be Count Caroline Tracula again.
    Give it up Johnny! Your act has become tiresome.
    We know you are really heartbroken over the failure of FTG and Thrillshow Chitwood.
    Posing as someone who is a bigger douche than you already are is making you look pretty stupid!
  • Patrick's Father calls Edmonton race a sh!thole

    This was in Edmonton Journal today. letters to the editor.

    I would like to recount an incident at Sunday's Rexall Edmonton Indy race. I was seated in the tented area just above pit row -- just above AJ Foyt's ABC team pit. As the race started, a gentleman pulled up a chair in the aisle beside me to watch the race. He had on a headset with a walkie-talkie so I asked him which team he was with. He said it was his daughter that was racing out there -- hence Mr. Patrick. About two-thirds of the way through the race he said this is a boring race. I commented that it would be better if they could get bunched up, to which he muttered that it is a poor track and a ----hole. I was rather surprised, but I did not bother engaging the conversation. At the end of the race, he pushed away and stormed up the stairs muttering that he hopes that he does not have to return to this ----hole next year. Well, Mr. Patrick, here is an easy solution -- don't come. And, by the way, it is my entrance fee that pays his daughter's wage and most likely his, as I am sure he sponges off his daughter. Given the money and effort that goes into hosting the race, I found him to be incredibly rude. Danica and her team will be number one in my eyes and I will let you guess which finger I will be waving as she goes by.
  • hahahaha!

    The apple does not fall far from the tree.
  • Well, any new viewers got to see a real nice parade in Edmonton courtesy of the Indy Car series formula
  • Will it be today or tomorrow that you all can start doing the Happy Dance?!! Anthony will publish the Edmonton viewership numbers and IndyCar fans and front-office staff (and Versus bigwigs) will party like it's 1999. The Tour de France WILL prove to be the big boost everyone except me said it'd be to IndyCar viewership, and the numbers will surely be through the roof. Quick, before Anthony publishes the #, what do you think - a 0.9, a 1.0, or dare you say even higher??

    And, what if Tour de France viewers on Versus don't give a hoot about IndyCar -- the Edmonton numbers come in and they are no better than the rest of the year on Versus? Then what?

    'spedway' - I said the World Superbikes were in Czechoslovakia, and you got me - it was an inexcusable mistake - it's been 16 years now since it split. But then I'm always told that I'm living in the past, so what's new. Btw, here's something else that happened in 1993: Paul Tracy won the Toronto Indy (and I was there). He and much of the racing media seems to be living in the past too, but you lot seem to love him. Just saying..
  • I saw a big 0.35 posted for reversus broadcast.
  • hahaha...Newton, Iowa ...Nascar's Nationwide series over sold Iowa Speedway and they have to install 25000 temporary seats to handle the demand for this race?
  • SportsMediaWatch
    Tour de France sees 98% rise in viewership on Versus.

    The 2009 Tour de France was a major success for Versus.

    Live, morning coverage of the '09 Tour de France averaged 530,000 viewers on Versus, up 98% from last year. When including the bonus windows leading into the regularly-scheduled telecasts, Versus averaged 500,000 viewers, also up 98%.

    The most-viewed Tour de France telecast was Stage 20, which drew 792,000 viewers. By contrast, last year's most-viewed stage drew 425,000 viewers. The mountain stages of the race, which tend to be the most popular among cycling fans, averaged 619,000 viewers, up substantially from the 339,000 viewers for last year's mountain stages.

    To put the numbers in perspective, the 530,000 viewers for the '09 Tour de France is lower than the 879,000 viewers the '09 Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged on Versus, but tops the 353,000 viewers college football games averaged on the network in '08. Viewership for the IRL on Versus is unavailable.
  • Southsidedave - don't believe what the morons who congregate on TF say. They either can't read, or can't process the information that they read. The Edmonton Journal, which they were quoting, said that according to Nielsen, Edmonton only had 402,000 viewers. Viewers is not households and viewers is actually a larger number than households (you are part of 1 household, but there may be 3 people in your house). The 0.35 number you saw was calculated from the viewer number. The 0.35 is far too high.
  • where did Edmonton get the number? doesn't sound right
  • ^ from Nielsen. Anthony here isn't the only person in the world who has access to the numbers, he is however the only who's faithfully been reporting on them. (SMW missed a few).
  • August 3rd, IRL ratings up or stalling?... Edmonton drew a 0.24, with 279,000 households. See, I was right. The numbers were up, were through the roof. The previous IRL race on Versus (Richmond) drew a 0.22 with 248,00 households. With gains like that, it won't be long before everyone in America is watching IndyCar or Versus! A big round of applesauce for everyone...

    Three thoughts immediately popped into my head upon seeing the numbers:
    1) Who paid for all those IndyCar promos during the month of July (Tour de France coverage)? Was it a big desperate push funded by IndyCar, or was it a big desperate push provided 'gratis' by Versus (rhetorical question: how long was their deal w. IndyCar again?!).
    2) So, what now? Advertising heavily has clearly Failed (with a capital 'F'). IndyCar's 'key demographic' might be interested in the Tour, but are clearly not interested in IndyCar. If you have a product and your target market doesn't give a hoot about it, you basically have 2 choices: a) change your product so that it is appealing; b) cut your losses and throw in the towel.
    3) Though event attendance might have been 'decent', who is going to break the bad news to Edmonton city councillors that the many millions of people around the world they had hoped would see the 'race' and with it, their fine city - was a figment of the event promoter's imagination. Canadian tax dollars down the drain (again)... so sad.
  • whoo hooo, that Danicles effect is really paying off

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