ALMS Reaches Multi-Year TV, Digital Deal with ESPN and ABC
Series partners with Intersport for media consulting expertise
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón announced today a ground-breaking, multi-year broadcast and digital agreement with ESPN that ALMS President/CEO Scott Atherton is calling “a game changer.” The innovative deal involves televising the world’s premier sports car series over several ESPN programming and media platforms, including ABC, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. Intersport, an award-winning media and marketing agency, represented the Series in the new television and digital agreement with ESPN.
The core of the ALMS’ new innovative broadcast and digital package will deliver television coverage either on ABC or ESPN2. ABC will feature race telecast coverage on March 20 after the 59th running of the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida with remaining ABC broadcasts featuring Road America (August), Baltimore (September) and the season-ending Petit Le Mans (October). ESPN2 will feature the American Le Mans Series in two-hour telecasts from Long Beach (April), Lime Rock and Mosport (July), Mid-Ohio (August) and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (September). All four ABC race telecasts will receive an encore airing on ESPN2 as part of the new agreement.
ABC and the ESPN family of networks will provide a multi-faceted platform to bring the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón to a significantly larger audience than previous years. ABC has 100 percent coverage in 115.9 million U.S. households, including more than 230 local affiliates, while ESPN2 is available to 99.7 million homes and is one of the most widely distributed cable broadcast outlets in the United States.
In a U.S. motorsports first, all ALMS races will be carried ‘live’ in their entirety and fully produced on ESPN3.com with ESPN2 and ABC providing televised coverage on a delayed basis. ESPN3.com – ESPN’s signature broadband sports network – will deliver nearly 60 hours of live coverage including 60-minute qualifying shows from each event along with pre- and post-race content. The ESPN3.com coverage can also be seen worldwide on a variety of ESPN’s global Web-based platforms. The network is currently available in more than 65 million households nationwide in the U.S. at no additional cost to users who receive their Internet connection of cable TV video subscription from an affiliated provider. Customers of an affiliated service provider will also be able to watch the Series live via an ESPN3.com pop-off player on americanlemans.com and Xbox LIVE Gold.
Atherton called the multi-platform productions “a here-and-now benchmark example of how fans will be able to access their favorite sports programming whenever and however they wish. It combines a core conventional television component, a live digital Web delivery component, an on-demand option and potential other methods of viewing that are being embraced by our ever-growing 18-34 demographic.”
A Nielsen Media Research study recently indicated that the American Le Mans Series had doubled its interest from the coveted 18-34 demographic in the last two years while also maintaining its older, affluent core audience.
“As our current broadcast arrangement was expiring, we turned to Charlie Besser and his team at Intersport,” Atherton continued. “They developed the strategy and established our new relationship with ESPN. We firmly believe that with Intersport’s guidance, we have confirmed an outstanding media foundation for the Series now – and equally important for the future.”
“This is an innovative and breakthrough arrangement for the ALMS,” said Besser, Intersport President and CEO. “Now, the ALMS will have high profile platforms to serve its current fans as well as grow new interest in the race Series through a multi-faceted approach on the sports network leader. Going forward, Intersport will work with the ALMS on race productions and on the development of its digital and social media platforms. We at Intersport are extremely pleased that we were able to play an integral role in the process of bringing these two great brands together.”
“We are very pleased to become the television home of the American Le Mans Series and to offer our viewers the opportunity to watch both the races and qualifying live on ESPN3.com,” said Julie Sobieski, ESPN Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions. “We look forward to kicking off the relationship with the historic event at Sebring.”
The 2011 ESPN telecast package also includes a two-hour documentary-style broadcast from the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix in September – a race through the city’s inner harbor area – to be produced by Intersport’s Emmy-award winning production team. ALMS’ association with Intersport began in the 2010 season. Intersport produced two docudrama-style race broadcasts which told the story of the Series’ events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Mid-Ohio, and highlighted its many storylines and colorful personalities.
ESPN will provide a multi-faceted platform to bring the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón to a significantly larger audience. Recognized as the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN is the No. 1 media brand in sports and trails only the NFL, Nike and the NBA as the top overall sports brand. More than 100 million people each week engage with at least one ESPN property including ESPN.com and ESPN Radio. ESPN3.com features more than 3,500 live events per year and is available in 90 percent of U.S. broadband households. Other noteworthy sporting events telecast by ESPN3 include The Masters, Major League Baseball, NBA, The French Open, NCAA football and basketball games, the U.S. Open and World Cup soccer.
The 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón will open at the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 19. Visit the American Le Mans Series’ online schedule for information on tickets and area accommodations.
American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón Schedule (All TV times Eastern)
Friday, March 18 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Saturday, March 19 ESPN3.com 10:15 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday, March 20 ABC 12:30-2 p.m.
Friday, April 15 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Saturday, April 16 ESPN3.com Live Race Coverage
Sunday, April 17 ESPN2 5-7 p.m.
Friday, July 8 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Saturday, July 9 ESPN3.com Live Race Coverage
Sunday, July 10 ESPN2 1-3 p.m.
Saturday, July 23 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Sunday, July 24 ESPN3.com Live Race Coverage
Sunday, July 24 ESPN2 10 p.m.-12 a.m.
Friday, August 5 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Saturday, August 6 ESPN3.com Live Race Coverage
Sunday, August 7 ESPN2 10 p.m.-12 a.m.
Friday, August 19 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Saturday, August 20 ESPN3.com Live Race Coverage
Sunday, August 21 ABC 4:30-6 p.m.
Friday, September 2 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Saturday, September 3 ESPN3.com Live Race Coverage
Sunday, September 11 ABC 4-6 p.m.
Friday, September 16 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Saturday, September 17 ESPN3.com Live Race Coverage
Sunday, September 18 ESPN2 1-3 p.m.
Friday, September 30 ESPN3.com Live Qualifying
Saturday, October 1 ESPN3.com Live Race Coverage
Sunday, October 2 ABC 4-6 p.m.
Source: American Le Mans Series