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.