INDY 500 Coverage on The Internet: One step forward, 1000 steps back

Recent events have proven that, it is not the availability of technology that drives good motor sport event coverage, but seasoned management that understands what is important to bring to its viewers, is willing to invest its company’s resources, and take risks that will raise the bar for how the web can positivly effect event coverage.

In 1996, 1997 and 1998, at the very dawn of the Internet, with limited technology, no handbook, but with boundless creative energy and inventive technological skills, The Auto Channel broke new ground by web casting the stories and events that surround the Indy 500, all from a TV studio that we set up in Pennzoil’s(our sponsor) hospitality suite.

Amazingly, more than 5 years ago the Indy 500 had the kind of “Live on the Web” coverage that NASCAR is trying to provide its fans now, with much fan fare, and at a cost of many millions of dollars, and sadly, an interactive coverage level that the Indy 500 is not providing it fans in 2002!

During those months of May in 1996, 1997 and 1998, web savvy Indy 500 fans around the world were able to see and hear what was happening at the Brickyard, LIVE as it happened.

The Auto Channel was web casting “Live from the Brickyard”, when the IRL held a press conference to announce Scott Brayton’s demise, and because we were there, fans around the world were also there, in fact, this is acknowledged as the first “Live Radio on the Internet” News coverage and you can still listen to it, just call it up from our archives. CLICK HERE for audio

…and because The Auto Channel was web casting “Live from the Brickyard”, when the rains came, the only Live TV coverage from the Brickyard was from our Pennzoil studios…ABC was off the air, Indy Radio network, local radio and TV was off the Indy 500 story, only The Auto Channel persevered and gave Indy 500 fans around the world what they wanted, and the fledgling technology allowed us to provide..

During those halcyon years we heard from thousands of transplanted Hoosiers who told us that “…listening to Tom Carnegie call the race made them feel like they were once again at home in Indiana.”.

As I perused this year’s Indy 500 web coverage it is apparent that there is a dearth of iTV coverage of what we believe is the biggest motor sport event.

I can only feel sorry for the fans who will not have the opportunity to get what they deserve…the best web coverage of the Indy 500.

Maybe next year there will be no roadblocks put in the way that prevents us from continuing to provide our groundbreaking coverage efforts.

Hopefully our efforts will be appreciated by the powers that be…and we will once again be web casting Live from the Brickyard”

By the way you can still see and hear all of our 1996, 1997 and 1998 INDY 500 coverage …it is still available on The Auto Channel:

1996 - http://www.theautochannel.com/news/events/indy500/indynews.html?NEWS 1997 - http://www.theautochannel.com/news/events/indy500_97/index.html?NEWS 1998 - http://www.theautochannel.com/sports/openwheel/1998/index.html?SPORTS

Bob Gordon President and Co-publisher The Auto Channel

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