Indy coverage to stay at ABC

The Izod IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 have signed a six-year contract to remain on ABC TV through 2018, but officials have not said where that leaves NBC.

NBC got into the sport this year with the announcement that IndyCar’s main TV partner, the Versus network, will be rebranded as the “NBC Sports Network” in 2012. Versus carries two-thirds of IndyCar’s races, and many thought that the NBC Sports announcement was a precursor to NBC making a run at a network TV deal.

Not so. ABC will remain the network home to IndyCar.

The new ABC deal reportedly will bring more to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. coffers than today’s $6 million-per-year deal. Just how much additional money, however, has not been confirmed.

The deal, which includes four IndyCar races per year on ABC, also will give IndyCar fans additional programming in the form of live Internet streams of onboard race-car cameras.

Potentially positive news for international viewers is that ESPN International, which holds the rights to the races, will be able to distribute programming to outlets other than its own.

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