ESPN, ABC to continue coverage of IndyCar Series

The Indianapolis 500 will remain on ABC through 2012 as part of a new four-year rights agreement between the Indy Racing League and ESPN. ABC will televise the race for the 45th consecutive year in 2009.

In addition, four other races in the IndyCar Series will appear on ABC in each year of the agreement, continuing coverage that has existed since the formation of the series in 1996. The four events for 2009 have not been determined.

The IndyCar Series will also be featured in additional programming on Versus, including pre- and postrace shows, extended broadcasts and specialty shows. Those were expected to be detailed Thursday in a teleconference.

Versus will carry a minimum of 13 races next year in a multiyear agreement.

"We are very pleased to extend our long relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy Racing League," said John Skipper, executive vice president, content, for ESPN, which produces all sports coverage for ABC. "The Indianapolis 500 is one of the world's marquee sporting events and one that sports fans look forward to every year."

ABC televised the 2007 Indianapolis 500 in high definition. All IndyCar Series race telecasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC were in high definition in 2008.

"2009 is the beginning of the Centennial Era celebration of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race," said Tony George, the founder and chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League. "We are proud of our heritage, history and tradition; and we are proud of our long-standing association with ABC Sports."

ESPN also has the rights to televise its five races on ESPN's international networks and highlights rights for the five races across all ESPN digital platforms.