Sky adds IndyCar racing to cut-price F1 2019 package

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Sky Sports is boosting its slate of motorsports coverage in 2019 by picking up the rights to all 17 races in this year's NTT IndyCar Series.

That includes the live broadcast of the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday May 26, the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix.

Having skipped Monaco to take part in the 2017 Indy 500 two years ago, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will return to the event this year in his second bid to complete the Triple Crown of motorsport.

Other familiar faces taking part in the rest of the 2019 calendar include Alexander Rossi, Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson, Takuma Sato and Sebastian Bourdais, as well as long-time series veterans Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Will Power, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal and Josef Newgarden.

The races will be aired on the broadcaster's dedicated Formula 1 subscription channel. Sky Sports previously aired IndyCar races up to 2012, when the rights were lost to the newly launched BT Sport network.

However the domestic rights to IndyCar in the US have now passed to NBC, parent company of Comcast which recently bought up Sky's broadcasting business in Europe.

As a result, a multi-year agreement means that the series will get a new high-profile place in the UK TV schedules right alongside Formula 1 Grand Prix events.

Qualifying sessions and races are due to be shown live, starting with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 10.

โ€œWe are pleased to reach a deal with Sky Sports to showcase IndyCar on the Sky Sports F1 channel for the next several seasons,โ€ said Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar's parent company Hulman & Company.

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โ€œIndyCar values the commitment Sky and NBC have made to the series and the support of Comcast-NBCUniversal to help make this deal possible," he continued. "We look forward to starting our season next week on Sky.โ€

The time difference between the US and UK will mean there will ne no direct clashes between events, even when they're held on the same day.

It's part of a big promotional push by Sky for its Formula 1 channel, which includes a special discount offer reducing the cost of subscribing to the channel on satellite platforms from ยฃ18 to ยฃ10 per month from March 1.

โ€œThe IndyCar Series is one of the most thrilling competitions in motor racing, crowned by the world renowned Indy 500," said Steve Smith, director of content and production at Sky Sports.

"Itโ€™s great to be able to work with our new partners at NBC to bring it to a whole new audience here in the UK and Ireland.โ€

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