ABC will televise the Indianapolis 500 for the 48th consecutive year on Sunday, May 27, and is bringing innovation and new technology to its coverage of one of the world’s historic and iconic sporting events.
A one-hour preview show airs from Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 11 a.m. ET, with the race telecast, presented by GoDaddy.com, at noon. The green flag is at 12:12 p.m. “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” has aired on ABC every year since 1965.
ESPN’s production will utilize more than 80 cameras to televise the premier event of the IZOD IndyCar Series, including four onboard cameras per car in at least nine of the 33 cars competing in the race. ESPN will make use of dual-path technology for the first time in an IndyCar Series telecast, permitting views from two onboard cameras on the same car at the same time.
Also for the first time, viewers of the ABC telecast will be able to enhance their experience with a choice of live streaming video from the onboard cameras on ESPN3, ESPN’s multi-screen live sports network. ESPN3 will carry the feeds exclusively through WatchESPN and on Indycar.com to fans who receive their Internet or video subscription from an affiliated provider. Viewers will be able to choose which driver’s onboard cameras they want to watch from among the available cars. ESPN3 also will have replays of the ABC telecast following the event. ESPN3 is available online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold level members.
ESPN will continue its Indianapolis use of “Batcam,” a camera that provides unique views running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch and can move at more than 80 mph. Views and replays will be enhanced by the first Indianapolis 500 use of Ultra Hi Motion cameras located in the short chutes at each end of the 2.5-mile track as well as at the fourth turn exit.
Marty Reid will call the race with analysis by former IndyCar driver Scott Goodyear and 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever. Brent Musburger will host the telecast while pit reporters will be Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.
ESPN’s Indianapolis 500 coverage will be produced under the oversight of ESPN vice president, motorsports, Rich Feinberg. James Shiftan will produce the race telecast and Bruce Watson will direct, while Jeff Ingalls will produce the pre-race show with Chip Dean directing.
The opening tease looks at the event through the eyes of the driver in a first-person experience with Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, Will Power and JR Hildebrand. The piece shows a driver’s life as a sensory overload with the noises of the cars, radios and fans and follows the cadence as drivers strive to shut it all out and see only the finish line with total focus.
Among the special features that are planned for the pre-race show or in SportsCenter’s Indianapolis 500 coverage:
- Dan Wheldon: A Champion’s Story — interviews with drivers, owners and family members celebrating the life and championships of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner who died in a racing accident in October.
- JR Hildebrand: 799 Correct Turns and 1 Wrong Turn – A first-person feature about the heartbreaking finish of the 2011 Indy 500 for Hildebrand, who crashed with the checkered flag in site.
- James Hinchcliffe – The driver who has captured IndyCar fans with his sense of humor as well as his ability behind the wheel does a parody of the Danica Patrick/GoDaddy.com commercials.
- Dario Franchitti Museum Tour – The multi-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion takes a private tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, exploring the history of the race and his desire to win his third.
- Charlie Kimball: Inspiring Others — Kimball, the first diabetic driver to finish the Indy 500, has inspired a 12-year-old girl from Kansas to believe she can do anything, despite living with diabetes.
- ESPN Sport Science takes a detailed look at the new DW12 IndyCar chassis that debuted this year and details the changes from previous chassis.
- Memorial Day — The story of a mother who sacrificed a great deal when her son Ben lost his life fighting for his country. She visits Arlington National Cemetery to tell her story.
Other ESPN Platforms
In addition to the live telecast on ABC, the Indianapolis 500 will receive ESPN multiplatform coverage on the following outlets:
ESPN International’s network and joint ventures’ reach is more than 212 million homes in 136 countries and territories. Add to that syndication (46 countries and 53.3 million homes), ABC’s U.S. reach of 114,700,000 and television distribution exceeds 380.5 million homes in 182 countries worldwide. In addition, U.S. troops serving overseas and on Navy vessels around the world will watch live via a broadcast agreement between ESPN and the American Forces Network, bringing the total to 213 countries and territories around the world.
ESPN.com will provide surround coverage of the Indy 500 with senior motorsports writers Ed Hinton and Terry Blount, IndyCar correspondent John Oreovicz and motorsports editor K. Lee Davis for the 96th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The site has already been previewing and preparing for the event. ESPN.com staff will cap off the coverage on race day with Racing Live! Indianapolis 500 on ESPN.com as the writers, editors and fans interact on every aspect of the race. In addition, anchor Marty Reid and analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever will provide exclusive digital coverage leading up to and after the race.
On television, extensive reports, interviews and highlights will air on SportsCenter and ESPNEWS.
ESPN Classic will present a week-long tribute in honor of the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. All week long beginning Monday, May 21, ESPN Classic will air classic Indy 500 races and SportsCentury programming. The special programming continues after the May 27 running with A.J. Foyt tributes on May 29 and 31 and a Gordon Johncock tribute on May 30.
ESPN Radio’s Saturday RaceDay starts its engines at 6 a.m. with an hour of news, previews and analysis. ESPN Radio also provides auto racing fans the comprehensive Sunday RaceDay (6-7 a.m. Sundays), which covers the auto racing world.
ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language television, radio and Internet in the U.S., will cover the Indy 500 via SportsCenter, the network’s flagship news and information program. The network’s motorsports expert Andres Agulla and former professional driver Alex Pombo, will provide special reports and interviews with the racers directly from Indianapolis. In addition, ESPNdeportes.com will provide comprehensive coverage with previews, qualifying, photo galleries, videos and live chats with Agulla and Pombo. ESPN Deportes also will provide the SAP for the ABC telecast of the race, with Agulla and Pombo providing the commentary.
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