January 3, 2011: ESPN and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron have signed what both sides are calling "a ground-breaking" deal that will put ALMS action across several ESPN programming and media platforms.
Financial terms for the multi-year broadcast and digital alliance were not disclosed. The media package includes ESPN, ESPN2, ABC and ESPN3.com. Intersport, Chicago, an award-winning media and marketing agency, represented Braselton, Ga.-based ALMS in the agreement with ESPN.
Scott Atherton, ALMS president and CEO, called the pact "a game changer."
In addition to Tequila Patron, ALMS marketing partners include BMW, Team Chevy, Mazda, Dunlop, Michelin, Porsche and Sirius/XM.
According to ALMS and ESPN, 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, which is ESPN's signature broadband sports network, is scheduled to deliver nearly 60 hours of live coverage, including 60-minute qualifying shows from each event along with pre- and post-race content.
The ALMS broadcast deal is scheduled to begin March 20 when ABC will feature coverage of the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. ABC this season also will broadcast events from Road America (August), Baltimore (September) and the season-ending Petit Le Mans (October). As part of the new agreement, all four ABC race telecasts will receive an encore airing on ESPN2.
ESPN2 will feature the American Le Mans Series in two-hour telecasts from Long Beach (April), Lime Rock and Mosport (July), Mid-Ohio (August) and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (September).
The 2011 ESPN telecast package also includes a two-hour documentary-style broadcast from the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix in September — a race through the city's inner harbor area — to be produced by Intersport's production team.
"[The alliance with ESPN is] a here-and-now benchmark example of how fans will be able to access their favorite sports programming whenever and however they wish," Atherton said in a statement. "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.”
According to Charlie Besser, president and CEO for Intersport, “This is an innovative and breakthrough arrangement for the ALMS. 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."
"Now, the ALMS will have high profile platforms to serve its current fans as well as grow new interest in the race Series." — Charlie Besser, Intersport
Besser said that moving forward, Intersport would 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," said Besser.
“We are very pleased to become the television home of the American Le Mans Series and to offer our viewers the opportunity to watch both the races and qualifying live on ESPN3.com,” Julie Sobieski, ESPN vp-programming and acquisitions, said in a statement. “We look forward to kicking off the relationship with the historic event at Sebring.”
ESPN/ABC ALMS SCHEDULE