Curses, Versus (and Changing Plans…)

Spin Doctor TG: What do I expect? The IRL announced its new multi-year TV deal today – 5 races, including the Indy 500, on ABC, and the remainder on Versus. Tony George lauded the deal as a way to grow the series’ audience through expanded programming. Hey, more time on the tube for the IndyCars is great for me, the die-hard fan who already gets Versus on her cable package. And here’s to that being better coverage than what ESPN has offered up – that change would be quite welcome. Tony George also commented that the “casual fan” doesn’t go in search of the IndyCar broadcast on TV (no doubt true) so it won’t matter if they don’t make a point to stop by Versus to see what’s on. Well, here’s my question: Who the heck does TG expect to become new “hard core” fans – Martians? (At least they can bring the ice…) Even if the ESPN coverage has been lacking in quantity and quality, the network has a stranglehold on the “sports coverage” mind share. I could tell a friend “check out the race on ESPN Sunday afternoon” and they’ll remember where to look. But Versus? What’s the likelihood my friend’s gonna bother to call me and ask “What network did you say that was again?” The IRL now has to create awareness about not only itself (which it hasn’t been adept at) but also count on a successful awareness campaign around the network. I’m concerned that the growth the league is looking for will be very hard to come by.

Changing Plans?: My little Sonoma vacation later this month may need some tweaks – life and work could interfere to make it a regular two-day weekend. Still have a friend stopping by in that time frame, so I gotta have my house painting done. Bust a move, girl! *grin*

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