O Opinions & Commentary

Full IndyCar season to be broadcast on TSN and TSN2 in 2009

When the IRL announced plans to broadcast the majority of their 2009 races on the cable network VERSUS last fall – a channel we cannot get here in Canada – Canadian race fans were left wondering how they were going to be able to watch these races on television. This week TSN has answered in the affirmative – every IRL IndyCar race will be shown on either TSN or TSN2 this year.

Five IndyCar races, including the Indianapolis 500 and the Toronto Indy, will originate on ABC. Of the other12 events, five will be shown live on TSN and another four on TSN2. The remaining three races will not be aired live in Canada but they will be available on tape delay, two on TSN and one on TSN2. I should hasten to add that all this is based on the information that TSN has posted on its website this week – and there are some obvious discrepancies in their listings, so any of the information they have put up so far has to be considered as subject to correction or revision.

TSN will continue its practice of broadcasting every Formula One race and qualifying session live on TSN throughout 2009.

Every NASCAR Sprint Cup series will be available as live broadcasts to Canadian race fans. All the races will be broadcast on either TSN or TSN2 in 2009. Of the 39 races – including the non-points races – 25 of them will be broadcast on either Fox or ABC, American networks that we can receive in Canada. Two of the three non-points races will be available on SPEED, a cable channel generally available across Canada. Discounting a few obvious errors in the information on the TSN website, I make it that, of the 12 races that originate in the US on cable (TNT or ESPN), ten will be available here on TSN and the other two on TSN2.

When it comes to the 35-race Nationwide Series, there are a few gaps for Canadians. One race, the Texas race in April, will not be available at all in Canada. Five of the races will be available only on a tape-delayed basis. Of the remaining 29 races we will get live, 12 will be shown on TSN2, leaving Rogers Cable subscribers (and some others) without those races. At the time of writing, Rogers Cable was the only major television service provider that had not added the new TSN2 channel to their channel lineup, leaving race fans who are Rogers subscribers angry and frustrated. Of course, if they area able to set up a satellite dish at their residence they have the option of switching to either Star Choice or Bell TV (formerly Bell ExpressVu) both of which provide TSN2.

The Camping World Truck Series (formerly known as the Craftsman Truck Series) has been an exclusive for the SPEED channel and that continues into 2009. Two of the races will be on FOX, SPEED’s parent company. Every race but one will be shown live, the Dover race in May being broadcast on a tape-delayed basis later in the same day.

The American Le Mans Series has announced its broadcast plans for 2009 and we can expect to see every event on a combination of ABC, NBC and SPEED. The Grand-Am series has not yet announced its broadcast plans. Its first race of the season, the Daytona 24-hour, was broadcast on SPEED. It seems likely that most of the remaining races will also be on SPEED, with some on the American networks like ABC or NBC.

The major motorcycle racing series, MotoGP, FIA Superbikes and AMA Pro American Superbikes will likely all be available on SPEED again this year.

Race fans are able to keep up-to-date with current TV listings for all the auto and motorcycle racing broadcasts by going to Race Fan TV (www.racefantv.ca), a free TV listings website for race fans in Canada and the United States.

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