1998 IRL Races To Be Covered On Four Major Television Networks
4 December 1997
Indianapolis -- All eleven Indy Racing League events will have live coverage in 1998 under agreements reached between the League and television networks ABC, CBS, ESPN and TNN, it was announced today.
The 1998 broadcast schedule adds TNN, the Nashville-based cable channel that has become a growing force in motorsports telecasting to ABC Sports, CBS Sports and ESPN, all of which originated races during the IRL's 1996-97 season. "This is an exciting development for our growing number of open-wheel fans who will be able to see all of our races live," according to Leo Mehl, executive director of the Indy Racing League. "We believe this is an excellent television package which will continue to extend our reach as we build our fan base and bring the close competition of the IRL into millions of homes in the United States and beyond." Mehl said that the contracts with ABC Sports, CBS Sports and TNN represent the best combination of dates, promotion and revenue for the Indy Racing League and its promoters. "We are delighted with the enthusiasm and energy that our new partners at CBS and TNN are bringing to us," Mehl said. "And we are pleased with the wealth of experience ABC Sports brings to our season coverage." In addition to race telecasts by the three networks, ESPN will continue to be involved in the broadcasting of practice and qualifications for the 1998 Indianapolis 500. TNN will broadcast all four Saturday night races in 1998, scheduled for June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway; July 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway; August 29 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and the season finale October 10 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. All four broadcasts will be at 9 p.m. eastern time. CBS, which originated one IRL race last season, will broadcast three Sunday races in 1998; June 28 at New Hampshire International Speedway; July 19 at Dover Downs International Speedway, and September 20 at Texas Motor Speedway, the second of two races scheduled for Texas in 1998. ABC, which has broadcast the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race since 1965, will again be the network of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing for its 82nd running on Sunday, May 24, 1998. In addition, ABC Sports will broadcast three other events, including the IRL season opener Saturday, January 24 at Walt Disney World Speedway; and two Sunday races on March 22 at Phoenix International Raceway, and August 16 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
Leo Mehl, IRL Executive Director