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Watching racing on TV in Canada – Update #2A • IndyCar on television in Canada? Well, yes, but ...

Watching racing on TV in Canada – Update #2A
• IndyCar on television in Canada? Well, yes, but ...

Okay, so I’ve finally heard something definite from INDYCAR about the television availability of their races for Canadian race fans:

Here’s the key quote from their press release:

Notably, in Canada, through INDYCAR's partnership with Sportsnet, INDYCAR fans will be able to consume NTT IndyCar Series races and qualifying sessions on SN NOW+, Sportsnet's direct-to-consumer platform. Additionally, all races except for the season opener (due to a scheduling conflict) will air in Canada on Sportsnet World, a Sportsnet linear television channel, with the Indianapolis 500 and the Honda Indy Toronto also airing on linear television via the Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet ONE channels, respectively.”

As I read it, the only way you will be able to watch the IndyCar race from St Petersburg on Sunday is via SN NOW+ (an internet streaming service available to people who have a cable subscription to Sportsnet). Beyond that event races in this series will be available via SN NOW+ or on your television set in Canadif you subscribe to Sportsnet World (except for the Toronto Honda Indy -- on SN ONE -- and the few races like the Indy 500 which will be available via the standard NBC network channel). I get all the other Sportsnet channels as part of my Cogeco subscription, but I would have to buy this SN World channel as an expensive add-on if I want to watch it. I suspect that few race fans (other than those who are also soccer fans) now get Sportsnet World as part of their channel lineup. So it may turn out that the most cost-effective way to watch the non-NBC IndyCar races in Canada will be via SN NOW +.

The rest of this message is a repeat of what I wrote this morning. The more recent Sportsnet announcement makes some of this obsolete.

I am writing this on the morning of Wednesday, March 6. The first IndyCar race of the 2019 season will run this Sunday in St. Petersburg. As of this moment, If you live in Canada, I still cannot tell you which channel to choose to watch this race or any of the other IndyCar races this year except those which will be on the NBC network channel.

I have received a press release this morning which gives hope but nothing concrete. We are told that “MX1, a global solution provider of media services, and IMS Productions, a leader in media production and technology” will be providing “distribution services for international race telecasts for the NTT IndyCar Series.”

But that’s it. Unless we know what channel will carry this feed in Canada, this announcement is useless. I guess, the next step is left up to the specific Canadian-based broadcaster – be it SportsNet, or TSN or Discovery-Velocity, or whatever – to announce their plans to broadcast the St. Petersburg race on Sunday and the rest of the season’s races subsequently.– if there is, in fact, an arrangement in place with some Canadian broadcaster ...

For what it’s worth, here is some more of the text from the IndyCar press release:

“Over the next three seasons, beginning with this week's season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, IMS Productions will be responsible for transmitting all NTT IndyCar Series races to international rights holders in approximately 80 countries around the globe, and MX1 will provide both operational support and distribution services. The partnership comes following the announcement in January that INDYCAR, sanctioning organization for the NTT IndyCar Series, has created INDYCAR Media, the in-house global distribution arm to negotiate international media rights. INDYCAR and IMS Productions are both subsidiaries of Hulman & Company.”

"We are excited for the opportunity to work with IMS Productions and distribute content for INDYCAR, the world's fastest and most diverse racing series," said Susanna Mandell Montello, Vice President of Global Sports at MX1. "MX1's satellite distribution business is used by many big-name broadcasters in the sports environment and has gained a stellar reputation for reliability and worldwide coverage."

Hopefully, we will receive word from the phantom Canadian broadcast provider soon. I will pass this on to you as soon as I hear. Meanwhile, I’m planning on visiting my friend in Buffalo on Sunday and watching the IndyCar race on NBCSN on his US-based television service.

I will update my TV Listings later today and I will provide the details as I know them at that time. I am hoping to get some specific information about the Sunday IndyCar broadcast soon – and as soon as I know that I will update my TV listings pages.

Meanwhile, I can confirm that both of the sports car endurance races from Sebring – the WEC 1000-mile race on Friday, March 15 and the IMSA WeatherTech 12-hour race on Saturday, March 16 – will be broadcast live in their entirety in Canada on the Discovery-Velocity channel. I think it is safe to assume that all rounds in both of these series will continue to be available on Discovery-Velocity. I note that the WEC announcement only refers to the current season (which ends of of the Le Mans 24-hour race in June) so we will have to wait and see if this arrangement continues beyond that into the 2019-2020 season.

As for the IMSA Michelin Pilot race which will run on Friday, March 15 before the WEC race, you can get that live via internet streaming on imsa.tv. I haven’t been able to discover any other way that we in Canada can watch the broadcast of this race.

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