The American Le Mans Series has announced today a 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 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 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 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with remaining ABC broadcasts featuring Road America (August), Baltimore (September) and the season-ending Petit Le Mans (October). ESPN2 will feature the ALMS 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.
In addition, 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. Customers of an affiliated service provider will also be able to watch ALMS events live via an ESPN3.com video 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.
“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.”
The 2011 ESPN telecast package also includes a two-hour documentary-style broadcast from the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix street race in September, to be produced by Intersport.