08 April 2009

On the TV

So, Versus released the ratings from the Honda St. Petersburg of Grand Prix, and they weren't pretty. Still, to finish with 233,000 viewers on Versus is a start. (full story, via Indycar.com)

Yes, it's not on the brand name ESPN, but I came away impressed with the overall coverage from Versus. I think most IndyCar Series fans would admit that the series was not much of a priority for ABC Sports on ESPN, leading to race coverage that was sparse and treated like a second-class member of the network.

Versus devoted three-plus hours to Sunday's race, extending their coverage past their time window (can't imagine ESPN doing that, can you?), while building story lines and following up upon them after the race. While Versus still has some kinks to work out (driver identification being one - after a couple wrecks, it took time to figure out who had crashed), if they continue to devote the time and effort to advertising the IndyCar Series, along with a concerted effort to improve the broadcast (I think Jenkins, Buhl and Beekus will continue to get better) and quality, the series will be in good hands and continue to see their viewer numbers increase.

You want to know just how much Versus values the IndyCar brand? They're devoting five full hours to Carb Day. In fact, Versus will be on air with IndyCar coverage on 11 of the 15 days running from Pole Day on May 9 to a post-race show on May 24.

Here is the full Versus/ABC schedule for the month of May.

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