There seems to be confusion and misinformation out there about Rogers Sportsnet's commitment to telecasting the entire IZOD IndyCar Series schedule in 2013.
I don't know why there would be, but there is.
IndyCar sought out a new Canadian partner because the previous broadcaster, TSN, would not commit to televising all the races live. Sportsnet and IndyCar signed a contract and one of the clauses contained therein was that the races would be live.
However, even before the season started, I was getting emails from people suggesting that everything was not as it seemed. And last week, a popular columnist for an Indianapolis newspaper reported that while four Sportsnet races would be live, the rest would be on tape delay.
So I am here to set the record straight, once and for all.
To wit, all remaining 18 races will air on Sportsnet channels live and in colour, as they happen — as was the case in St. Petersburg on Sunday when James Hinchcliffe of Oakville scored his first victory in the Big League. (Hey, what a race for Sportsnet to kick off its coverage, eh?)
The complete schedule can be found at the bottom of this column. You can print it out, clip it around the edges and attach it to the door of your refrigerator for quick, easy reference.
You will note that there are no specific Sportsnet channels listed for the two Detroit races on June 1 and 2. Those races won’t be on the sports channels but will be seen in the listed communities – Toronto among them – on CITY TV channels that Rogers owns.
And channels for the 17th and 18th races, a double-header in Houston in October, which are marked TBD, are just that: the races will be on — somewhere. Exactly which channel or channels will be decided at a later date.
So that’s the good news.
The not-so-good news is that to get all of the races, you will have to subscribe to a premium sports package. Nine races, for instance, starting with the next race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on April 7, will only be available on Sportsnet One, which is a premium channel. The rest should be pretty much available everywhere across the country.
So check out the schedule at the bottom of this column. And relax.
Now, on Sunday in St. Pete, Sportsnet launched its own pre-race, post-race and mid-race panel show starring sportscaster Rob Faulds, retired drivers Paul Tracy and Bill Adam, and Todd Lewis in the pits. Everybody did just fine. They weren’t on screen all the time (the U.S. feed, pictures and announcers, from NBC Sports Network covered the race). But when they were, they acquitted themselves well.
The focus of the show was pretty much all about Canadian drivers Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani and their support staffs (crew chiefs and the like), which was a good thing because the American producers and announcing team seemed – to me, anyway – to be more interested in how Simona de Silvestro was doing than anything the Canadians were up to, particularly Hinchcliffe while he was en route to scoring his first race win.
In fact, the young Canadian hot shoe was well into his last lap before the director tore himself away from Simona’s battle to hold onto third to show Hinchcliffe’s drive to the checkers.
I don’t know the particulars of the contract that Sportsnet has with NBC Sports Network, and maybe the U.S. announcing team of Leigh Diffey, Wally Dallenbach Jr., Townsend Bell and the rest has to be part of the package, but on those occasions when Faulds, Tracy, Adam and Lewis are on site (Indianapolis being the next stop for them), I can guarantee I would rather watch the action and have Faulds host, Adam do the play-by-play and Tracy do the colour than listen to the NBC folks I had to endure on Sunday.
Tracy, in particular, seemed to be on his best behaviour and that was a shame. He’s got all the stories and all the insight that he's stored up from nearly 20 years of driving Indy cars. He knows all the secrets and where the bodies are buried. I know: I’ve spent many enjoyable times listening to him rip this guy apart, or that guy.
Sportsnet owes it to everybody to turn him loose.
Remaining 2013 IZOD IndyCar Television Broadcast ScheduleHonda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Birmingham, Alabama
• Sunday, April 7, 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Long Beach, California
• Sunday, April 21, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, Pacific and ONE)
Sao Paulo Indy 300 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
• Sunday, May 5, 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis, Indiana
• Sunday, May 26, 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit – Race 1 – Detroit, Michigan
• Saturday, June 1, 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT (CITY stations in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver)
Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit – Race 2 – Detroit, Michigan
• Sunday, June 2, 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT (CITY stations in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver)
Firestone 550 – Fort Worth, Texas
• Saturday, June 8, 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
Milwaukee IndyFest – West Allis, Wisconsin
• Saturday, June 15, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
Iowa Corn Indy 250 – Newton, Iowa
• Sunday, June 23, 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
Pocono INDYCAR 400 – Long Pond, Pennsylvania
• Sunday, July 7, Noon p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
Honda Indy Toronto – Race 1 – Toronto, Ontario
• Saturday, July 13, 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
Honda Indy Toronto – Race 2 – Toronto, Ontario
• Sunday, July 14, 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – Lexington, Ohio
• Sunday, Aug. 4, 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT (Sportsnet ONE)
GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma, California
• Sunday, Aug. 25, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
Grand Prix of Baltimore – Baltimore, Maryland
• Sunday, Sept. 1, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
Shell & Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston – Race 1 – Houston, Texas
• Saturday, Oct. 5, 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT (TBD)
Shell & Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston – Race 2 – Houston, Texas
• Sunday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT (TBD)
MAVTV 500 – Fontana, California
• Saturday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)