After more than a half-century of ushering in Memorial Day weekend on ABC, the Indianapolis 500 is shifting gears. As part of a newly inked three-year deal with NBC Sports, as of 2019 all IndyCar races, including the event that has long been promoted as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," will air on NBC and its affiliated cable-sports network and streaming services.
In moving to an all-NBC Sports schedule (ABC and the Peacock have split the rights to the open-wheel racing series since 2009), IndyCar brings the curtain down on one of sports media's most enduring traditions. ABC's stewardship of the Indy 500 goes back to June 5, 1965, when a taped presentation of the race aired on "Wide World of Sports" five days after the last driver crossed the finish line. That partnership pales only in comparison to CBS's coverage of the Masters Tournament, which began in 1956.
The new rights deal increases the number of IndyCar events that will air on broadcast TV from five races to eight. The remaining races will be carried on the cable network NBCSN. All IndyCar events will be live-streamed via NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, and an unspecified menu of IndyCar content will be made available to subscribers of the premium over-the-top service NBC Sports Gold.