ABC Closes Out its Indy 500 Telecasts on Multiple Platforms and Devices

SPEEDWAY, IN.—ABC’s 54th telecast of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race—a Memorial Day tradition—will be the network’s last, bringing a five-decades-long legacy to an end. A part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the “Indy 500” will be broadcast Sunday, May 27, 2018—starting with the pre-race show at 11am ET—across the network’s many distribution outlets, as well as mobile devices using the ESPN App and WatchABC App. Beginning in 2019, broadcasts of the Indy500 and other IndyCar races will be broadcast on the NBC broadcast network and NBCSN.  

Regarded as one of ESPN’s largest and most complex television productions, the 2018 Indy 500 will utilize 110 cameras—a record for this event—covering on-track action from dozens of locations. Four super Slo-Mo cameras will be situated around the track, one at each turn, to enhance replay coverage.

The camera complement includes a variety of specialty cameras that will provide unique viewpoints, including cameras mounted on inside and outside of competing cars, on a crew member’s helmet, as well as on a parachutist dropping into the high-profile race’s venue, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

ABC will also provide a second screen experience where viewers using the ESPN App will be able to choose between the different live video streams coming from the four on-board cameras mounted within 14 competing cars. Drivers that will have on-board cameras in their cars include: Danica Patrick, who is competing in the final race of her career, defending Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, and 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden.

[Read: Indy 500 Aims To Speed Into Living Rooms]

Sato and Rahal will also have a tiny visor cam on their helmets, giving fans a unique driver’s perspective of how it feels to be inside the car. And Blair Julian, left front tire changer for Dixon’s pit crew, will wear an “over the wall” camera on his helmet, giving viewers an exclusive look at pit stop action.

The production will also include: 210 microphones, 16 EVS machines with 123 record and playback channels, nine mobile units, four uplinks transmitting 17 satellite paths, and roughly 170,000 feet of fiber cable runs connecting the equipment.

Among the 150 technical crew members will be Senior Coordinating Producer Amy Rosenfeld, Producer Jim Gaiero, Director Bruce Watson, and Coordinating Producer Kate Jackson, who will produce the prerace show with Chip Dean directing.

In light of the historical significance, the telecast will feature a variety of pre-produced video packages, including a tribute to ABC’s 54 consecutive years of coverage, starting with its first on “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” in 1965. Other race-related features, documentaries, and race coverage can be found on ESPN SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN+, ESPN Classic, ESPN International, and the WatchABC App. 

Claudia Kienzle