The 2017 Indianapolis 500: how, and where you can see it in the UK

Update on May 17th – BT Sport’s full schedule for the 2017 Indianapolis 500 can be found here.

The news that Fernando Alonso will be racing in the Indianapolis 500 has come to a major shock and surprise to motor racing fans across the world. A pleasant surprise, and one that will be fascinating to watch in front of our very eyes.

From a media perspective, the Indianapolis 500 will have more eyeballs on it this year given the attention that Alonso brings with him from Formula 1. Closer to the time, I will post a more concrete scheduling.

For those unfamiliar with IndyCar, the Indianapolis 500 is one of the 17 races on the 2017 IndyCar Series calendar, playing host to round six of the season. In the United Kingdom, the IndyCar Series is broadcast exclusively live on BT Sport, in a deal that runs through until 2022. The race itself starts on Sunday 28th May at 17:20 UK time, with BT airing it commercial free.

I do not envisage that changing however, it is possible that another broadcaster may want to try to get in on the action (for a fee) and show the Indianapolis 500 to a wider audience whether through live or highlights form (i.e. Quest TV, Dave, or Frontrunner to give some examples).

Certainly, there could be money left on the table if IndyCar bosses did not try to sign a series of one-off television deals for the race. I can imagine a situation in other countries whereby broadcasters just want to take the Indianapolis 500 for the Alonso effect, but no other IndyCar action.

As it stands, the Indianapolis 500 will be exclusively live on one of BT Sport’s portfolio of channels, but if any other broadcasters’ get in on the action, I will update the site as usual.

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35 thoughts on “The 2017 Indianapolis 500: how, and where you can see it in the UK

  1. We will indeed be showing it live and ad-free during the green flag running on BT Sport.

    All the other races will be live and ad-free during green flag running except those in the small hours of the morning in the UK which will be live but we’ll take the US ad breaks.

    And the entire team is buzzing about the Alonso news. It’s a massive coup for the series, and a fully deserved one. I think it does him, McLaren and Andretti a lot of credit.

    • Not legally – which is a shame, because while I’d happily give BT £10-15 for the event like I do for a Now TV pass for F1, there isn’t a chance in hell that I’ll be paying them £53 for it. It makes a mockery of the argument that BT Sport vs Sky Sports is good for the consumer due to competition – all I see is both prices going up and up, and we poor sods who want to actually watch the sport having to pay twice as much to see everything. TV is hitting the same issue that the Music and Movie industries did a few years ago – they’re providing a rip off service that isn’t even properly convenient, to the point where illegal solutions are actually easier. TV needs to embrace the Netflix/NowTV models, or risk being left behind

  2. As a BT broadband customer I hope the 500 is shown on the BT Sport 1 channel which is thrown in as a freebie with the broadband.

    The remaining BT sport channels are an added extra, £7.50 per month I believe (this is just for access through their app). This is subject to a 12 month contract so can’t be added for just the month of May. Nor can BT’s sports channels be subscribed to without taking their broadband or TV.

    BT do have a habit of moving sports round their channels. Last season both Indycar and V8 supercars appeared on BTS1, BTS2 and BTESPN at various times so it was always hit and miss as to what I got to see. So far both Indycar races have been on BTESPN.

  3. Just so you know every inch car session so far.. Free practice qualifying morning warm up and race have been on their YouTube channel… Non geo blocked.. Although the race is on a few days after the event.. It’s still better than nothing

  4. The terrestrial channels would be very unlikely to come after live Indy 500 purely for Alonso. They didn’t do it when Mansell was in and they certainly didn’t when Franchitti & Wheldon were having regular success. Could BT put it on their Freeview showcase channel? Possibly.

    BT Sport is not available via Now TV or Sky Go. Its business model is fundamentally flawed.

    • The Indy car series was on UK TV when Mansell went there. I think it may only have been highlights,but I remember watching practically every race on TV. If my memory is correct, it was on Channel 4 late at night.

      • ITV showed 1 hour highlights on the Saturday after the race during Mansell’s time. When Champ Car was on its death bed it had highlights screened late at night on Tuesdays on Channel 5. The UK rounds at Rockingham were screened as highlights the day after the race on Sunday Grandstand on BBC2. 100% no way will highlights let along live coverage of Alonso at Indy be shown on terrestrial tv.

  5. I reckon, with Alonso being in it, they’d miss a trick if they don’t show it on BT Sport Showcase or some other terrestrial channel. Channel 5 maybe, or even ITV4?

  6. Both Indycar & BTSport need to maximise the exposure in the UK for the series that can be gained through Alonso’s involvement. There’s a big audience there which is interested to see what happens.

    They should drive bigger numbers by making sure that here is a way for non-BT subscribers to watch the race live for free.

    I’m a Sky customer (and I don’t have BT broadband either), and I don’t see the value in paying £21.99 / month extra to watch BT Sport. Football seems to be primary focus judging by the BT Sport homepage, and (quite shockingly) there is not even a mention of Indycar on their Motorsport page ( http://sport.bt.com/motorsport-01364097721909 ), so if that is their level of dedication to the series, they are clearly not interested.
    This needs to change, and they need to have a proper think about how to use this opportunity to reach a wider audience.

  7. I was a big fan of indycar/champcar for years but then it moved to BT & now lost track of it. But I really hope BT Sport can show the indy 500 on the Showcase. I wouldn’t even mind paying at 1.99 on a like PPV thing to watch indy 500 on BT

    As really dont want to be forced into a dodgy stream

  8. IndyCar isn’t that big over here, but I reckon that should change. If a terrestrial channel (such as ITV4 for instance) show it, it might be a bigger audience, even if it is only for the Indy 500.

  9. I jut rang BT, who said the Indy500 is on Sky Sports 4, or apparently you can go to the IndyCar series website, go to a section called race control, register for free and stream it online. Who knows. I ‘m struggling to find out how and where to watch it in the UK though!

    • This was helpful thanks. Went to the Indycar Verizon website, selected Fan Info, Indy 500 and Timing and Scoring options. Registered for free. The Timing and Scoring Option then provides a Race Control Live and video feed screen which currently says No Current Track Activity – Stay Tuned. So I am hopeful on race day I might get some action, even if it is not the race in its entirety! Gutted that BTSports haven’t given us the opportunity to purchase a one-off day pass like Sky Sports does for some events. Am a huge motor racing fan, and like previous comments, I too have now lost touch with Indycar due to the very expensive subs required to BTSports.

  10. Ummm, BT Sport has the rights to IndyCar and it’s on Sky Sports 4? That doesn’t make sense – BT are missing a trick if they don’t put it on BT Sport Showcase!

  11. BT Sport Showcase is a free to air channel. So, If I was producer, I would put the big Indycar races on BT Sport Showcase.

  12. Alistair: That’s many different types of wrong in your post.
    At the moment I am hearing of 2 separate discussions about getting the 500 on FTA TV here in Britain.
    I do NOT think it’s going to happen…BUT, Like Dave says…Money left on the Tablesville Arizona.

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