Friday, January 7, 2011

ALMS 2011 Broadcast Agreement Embraces New Media In The Mix

Turn 11 and the beginning of the front straightaway along Shoreline Drive at the 2010 Toyota Grand Prix event in Long Beach, California. Here the American Le Mans Series #16 Mazda Dyson Racing car begins another lap while hugging the wall that defines the outside of the track. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

ALMS 2011 Broadcast Agreement Embraces New Media In The Mix

The American Le Mans Series presented by Taquila Patron (ALMS) in announcing its new multi-year broadcast media deal with ABC/ESPN and its overall content portals affirmed its intention to remain at the technological leading edge and intersection of presentation and fan communications interaction.

The original announcement released on January 3, 2010 while somewhat complete, needed a little more than a press release to fully expose what plans for the 2011 season and the future of event broadcast and communications the ALMS plans to roll out to the potential consuming public - from the casually interested all the way through the fan ladder to the fully immersed.

The agreement and schedule released in the original announcement gave hints at a whole new way the ALMS is wishing to approach racing series event broadcasts, fan interaction and sponsor timeshare access to a specific target market.

This is one of the areas where the partnership of the ALMS with Intersport, an award-winning media and marketing agency, begins to pay dividends. The innovative deal put together by this partnership involves televising the world’s premier sports car series over several ABC/ESPN programming and media platforms, including ABC, ESPN2 and The event content for each platform or communications portal will be tailored to appeal to the attention and interest level in each potential fan and consumer ... and potentially on an international basis as well. The feeling going into this agreement was always to be able to have an integrated media approach, where the ALMS, in concert with the extensive production capabilities of the 25 year old Intersport, in order to get the most out of, arguably, the most extensive yet integrated sports media broadcast and media properties organization available on the scene today.

Television broadcasts, either through tailored production packages and/or live transmission, will always be the medium where one reaches the core fan due to ease of access and availability of audience. For example, ABC TV national broadcasts for sporting events reach an audience of about 115.9 million. Unfortunately, this portal can be characterized as one that has little patience for events that, by definition, last longer than 2-3 hours, or about the content size of other major sporting events. When ABC is not available, ESPN2 will take over the tailored production broadcast duties and be able to reach an estimated 99.7 million sets.

The 100% live broadcast duties will be handled by the relatively new, New Media portal on the web, which has a broadband broadcast potential reach equal to that of the more well known cable broadcast outlet, SPEED Channel (confirmed in a conversation between Intersport and SPEED) at about 65 million users. The additional beauty of having a web portal for content delivery is the added benefit of content on demand. If one cannot be available for the live broadcast of the race or event, one can run the file on demand in order to experience the whole event.

Further, there will be opportunities to develop and expand the communicative reach through the connection of social media platforms found throughout the web. Corvette, Audi, BMW, Porsche, and other car enthusiast forums will soon have the opportunity to directly interface (possibly through RSS and other New Media digital broadcast feed concepts) upon which to share timely information.

MPG's Dean Batchelor Award - Since 1995, Motor Press Guild’s annual Dean Batchelor Award has recognized “the journalist judged to have produced the single piece of work which best represents the professional standards and excellence demanded by Dean Batchelor during his life as an editor, writer, and chronicler of the automotive industry.” In more recent years, the “DBA” has expanded to single out awards in four disciplines: Articles, Audio-Visual, Books and Photography. The winner of each receives the MPG Best of the Year award in that category, while one of those winners is chosen for the overall Dean Batchelor Award. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

Another nuanced capability of this partnership and agreement will have the 2011 ESPN telecast package include a two-hour documentary-style broadcast from the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix in September - a race through the city’s inner harbor area streets - produced by Intersport’s Emmy-award winning production team (a recent honored production includes the 2009 Motor Press Guild's Dean Batchelor Award winning documentary - Keith Cossrow and Bennett Viseltear, "Truth in 24"). ALMS’ association with Intersport began in the 2010 season. Intersport previously 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.

One can listen to Wednesday`s media call (where The Motorsports Report asked questions related to social media and new media content broadcast sharing schemes) with executives from the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron and Intersport, along with representative sponsor executives, team owners and drivers. A transcript is also available for reading.

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.

ALMS race start at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where the cars run for six hours, starting in the afternoon and ending to the flaring lights of fireworks launched over the track into the night-time sky at the bridge near the start/finish line. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón 2011 broadcast Schedule
(All TV times reflect the Eastern Time Zone)

Friday, March 18 Live Qualifying
Saturday, March 19 10:15 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday, March 20 ABC 12:30-2 p.m.

Long Beach
Friday, April 15 Live Qualifying
Saturday, April 16 Live Race Coverage
Sunday, April 17 ESPN2 5-7 p.m.

Lime Rock
Friday, July 8 Live Qualifying
Saturday, July 9 Live Race Coverage
Sunday, July 10 ESPN2 1-3 p.m.

Saturday, July 23 Live Qualifying
Sunday, July 24 Live Race Coverage
Sunday, July 24 ESPN2 10 p.m.-12 a.m.

Friday, August 5 Live Qualifying
Saturday, August 6 Live Race Coverage
Sunday, August 7 ESPN2 10 p.m.-12 a.m.

Road America, Elkhart Lake
Friday, August 19 Live Qualifying
Saturday, August 20 Live Race Coverage
Sunday, August 21 ABC 4:30-6 p.m.

Friday, September 2 Live Qualifying
Saturday, September 3 Live Race Coverage
Sunday, September 11 ABC 4-6 p.m.

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Friday, September 16 Live Qualifying
Saturday, September 17 Live Race Coverage
Sunday, September 18 ESPN2 1-3 p.m.

Road Atlanta
Friday, September 30 Live Qualifying
Saturday, October 1 Live Race Coverage
Sunday, October 2 ABC 4-6 p.m.

... notes from The EDJE

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