Indy 500 Goes High Definition

ESPN on ABC’s live telecast of the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 will be in high definition via Sony high-definition broadcast technology, a first for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be run on Sunday, May 27 beginning at 1 p.m. (ET).

In addition to the race telecast, coverage of both weekends of qualifying on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC also will be presented in HD. ABC will cover the Indianapolis 500 for the 43rd year in 2007, extending the second-longest relationship in television history between a sporting event and television network. Only The Masters and CBS have been together longer.

"The start of the Indianapolis 500 is one of the most dramatic moments in sports, and providing flag-to-flag coverage of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ in high definition will add to our viewers’ enjoyment of the race," said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and acquisitions.

Sony is supporting the production of the 2007 Indianapolis 500 through its longstanding relationship with IMS Productions, which has and will continue to feature Sony state-of-the-art technology at its headquarters and will be expanding that technological reach into further HD efforts in the years ahead.

"We consider the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race the kind of world-class event that will come to life like never before in HD technology," said Robert Willox, director of Sony Electronics’ content creation group. "We are pleased to be working with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IndyCar Series and IMS Productions to bring fans the brilliant video produced by Sony HD broadcast technology."

The Sony broadcast and production equipment to be used includes a “matrix” flypack, designed by All Mobile Video and consisting of Sony HDC-1500 cameras, an MVS-8000A switcher, an array of Sony professional displays and SRW decks for storing HD content.

"One of the most frequent requests from our fans is a high-definition telecast of the Indianapolis 500, and we’re thrilled to fulfill that demand," said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. "This will bring home the color, pageantry and excitement of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ in vivid detail to the ever-growing numbers of homes with HD sets."

Marty Reid will be ESPN on ABC’s lead announcer for the Indianapolis 500, joined in the booth for analysis by former IndyCar Series driver Scott Goodyear and 1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace. Jack Arute, Jamie Little, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch will report the action from the pits, while Brent Musburger will host the telecast. ABC’s coverage will begin with a pre-race show at noon, with the green flag at 1 p.m.

The HD coverage will make its debut this weekend as drivers will run for the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award on Saturday, May 12, and ABC and ESPN2 will have five hours of live coverage of time trials beginning at noon. ESPN2 will have more than three additional hours of live coverage of the second day of Indianapolis 500 time trials on Sunday, May 13.

Saturday’s coverage of Pole Day begins on ESPN2 at noon for two hours. After an hour off, coverage will resume on ABC at 3 p.m. and continue until 6 p.m., returning to ESPN2 from 6-7 p.m. On Sunday, ESPN2’s coverage begins at noon and runs for two hours, then resumes from 5-6:30 p.m.

ABC and ESPN2’s coverage of Indianapolis 500 time trials continues the weekend of May 19-20, including coverage of Bump Day on Sunday, May 20.

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