IRL promo campaign going green

March 2, 2009
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versusThe Indy Racing League’s new TV partner is getting ready to launch a full-throttle promotional offensive. The Comcast Cable-owned Versus TV network is launching a promotional campaign March 7 that will not only be seen on Versus, but across Comcast channels, and in print, on billboards and possibly even in movie theaters.

While full of horsepower, it seems the campaign is getting revved a little late given that the season opener is April 5 at St. Petersburg, and this is the first year Versus has aired IRL races. I’m surprised I didn't see a single IRL promotional spot during last month’s week-long Tour of California bicycle race featuring Lance Armstrong. And there have been few spots during National Hockey League games.

But maybe Versus will make up for its late start with intensity. According to IRL officials, the campaign will air on Versus (and other Comcast Cable channels) nationwide. The print, billboard and movie ads will be targeted at Tampa/St. Pete, Dallas, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn. Then Versus will expand it from there. ESPN certainly never promoted the series like this.

“There’s no comparison to this campaign that we’ve ever seen before,” said IRL spokesman John Griffin. “We’ve never had this sort of commitment in our history … especially in terms of what Versus is going to do off-channel. This will be a very broad reaching and comprehensive promotional campaign.”

Versus will kick-off the racing season with four one-hour specials airing each Saturday in March at 2 p.m.

The first show on March 7 is titled “Danica: Five Years Running.” The second program, “IndyCar Series: Top 10 Closest Finishes” on March 14 will feature the top-10 closest finishes in IRL history.

 On March 21 Versus will air “IndyCar Series: Crashes and Conflicts” which will showcase some of the most memorable incidents and conflicts between drivers and several of the most incredible crashes in recent IRL history. The network concludes its month of programming on March 28 with “IndyCar Series World Tour 2009.”

The one-hour specials are fantastic for racing fans, but with so many people already complaining about how difficult Versus will be to find on the cable dial, you have to wonder why the broader promotional campaign is still idling in the pits.
  • I don't understand the bit about being hard to find on the cable dial. What cable companies don't carry Versus?
  • I think what people mean by that is the channel isn't very well known, and it's often fairly deep on the dial. In central Indiana, for instance, it's Channel 46. Since the channel isn't all that well known, much of the programming is niche, and its deep in the dial (not Channel 2 like ESPN), people aren't apt to just surf across it and stick on some interesting programming.
  • That is the nice thing about satellite, it is 603 on DirectTv. Easy to access.
  • crashes! cool! Does Tony hisself get to talk about stuff on this one?
  • I have Dish Network's Classic Silver 200 package, which is the new name for the most common package they sell today. Versus is not included.

    I love the IRL and I attend races at Indy, Kentucky, and formerly Nashville every year. It pains me to say that an aggressive marketing campaign by Versus will not even equal passer-by viewers on the ESPN family of channels. Sometimes the truth hurts.
  • I would think most sports fans, even casual ones have more than the basic package.
  • I find it odd that an earl fan would complain about not being able to find the channel when it is on their system. Well, not really. :lol: :gomer:

    Anyway, all the selling ReVersus can muster isn't going to help sell this Onion Gum. The IMS spin on this is entertaining though. :)
  • indyman: reread.

    he said most common

    you said most basic

    nobody in indy gets ReVersus, and - quite frankly - no one will care. I'll bet ___king Tony doesn;t even get it! :lol:
  • No one gets VS? I do. And I have the standard package for Direct Tv.

    Good catch on the common vs. basic. Of course how does he know that is the most common?

    I guess we will not know how it does until the season starts. But it seems to me that since this is the way ESPN and Speed started, VS. has a good chance of catching on. We will see.
  • I get Comcast's basic coverage and I have been watching Versus (formerly Outdoor Life Network) for more than a decade. Finding it for most folks shouldn't be a problem. Good grief, ESPN2 is channel 43 on my dial and no one has a problem finding that.
  • I have AT&T Uverse and I don't have it. Not that I would watch it.
  • As has been stated before here, Versus is in the U200 package, which is one step above basic. Looks like Good 'ol Brett will be stepping up!
  • It is not on the basic package, nor the 250 packeage for DISH, even inindy.
  • It is on the $39.99 package on Direct Tv. That is the same package you would need for Speed, Espn Classic and Fuel Tv. I am thinking anyone with any interest in sports, especially racing would have that package or better.
  • With that said, Indyman, I'd say if IRL is trying to win over new fans, the move to VS. might not bode well.
  • Versus is a great channel. Only way for me to watch the highlights of the Dakar to watch Robby Gordon finish 3rd with his own team! Gas on Robby!
  • sure is quiet in mIndy land without Danicles being fluffed every other day. good thing she doesn't feel that F1 would be enough of a challenge for her. Accourse the average F1 pitbabe makes Danicles look like the ho-hum sidedish that she is anyway.

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