ESPN SportsCenter to have Major Presence at 100th Indianapolis 500

Key Points: 

• ESPN’s flagship program will have a major presence at the 100th Running, airing four full episodes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

• This announcement generates more momentum for IMS and the Verizon IndyCar Series ahead of the 100th Running, marking the first live SportsCenter programs from the Indy 500 in more than a decade. 

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 29, 2016 – As part of the celebration of the 100th running of one of the world’s most important and iconic events, ESPN’s signature news and information program, SportsCenter, will have a major and significantly expanded presence at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the week of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May.

The historic 100th edition of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will get the green flag live on ABC on Sunday, May 29, and ESPN will lead up to its sister network’s race telecast with four live SportsCenter on the Road programs originating from the Speedway, as well as reports airing within other editions of the program. This will be SportsCenter on the Road’s first visit to IMS since ESPN launched the initiative in 2015 and will mark the first live SportsCenter programs from the Indy 500 in more than a decade.

In addition to previewing the premier race of the Verizon IndyCar Series with drivers, team owners and others, SportsCenter programs also will pay tribute to the long history of the Indianapolis 500 with guest appearances by past champions and special features and elements.

“We’re thrilled SportsCenter will be on hand to bring millions of viewers across the globe an up-close look at the monumental 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The buildup to the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ will make for compelling television, showcasing the world-class drivers, intense competition and innovative technology that propel the Verizon IndyCar Series forward.”

“I can’t think of a better place to be than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as we approach Race Day for the 100th Running of the Indy 500,” said J. Douglas Boles, IMS President. “Our fans are going to love hosting the SportsCenter team on site and today’s good news will truly make the Month of May even more exciting and unforgettable for everyone.”

The SportsCenter presence at the Indianapolis 500 will include two live one-hour programs on the morning of the race, with hosts Matt Barrie and Sara Walsh on a set in the Speedway’s busy Pagoda Plaza area. The first program will air from 8-9 a.m. ET on ESPN, while the second will air on ESPN from 10 a.m. until ABC’s telecast begins at 11 a.m. Barrie and Walsh will have live reports from the Speedway during the 9-10 a.m. hour while SportsCenter is airing on ESPN2.

On Saturday, May 28, the day before the race, Barrie and Walsh will host a three-hour edition of SportsCenter on the Road from the Speedway beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPN, and the 6 p.m.edition of SportsCenter, hosted by Lindsay Czarniak, will air from the Speedway on Friday, May 27, on ESPN.

In addition to the four live programs, other editions of SportsCenter will carry live reports from the Speedway, including segments with Czarniak in the 6 p.m. show on Wednesday and Thursday, May 25-26. After the race, the winner will have a live interview with SportsCenter, and Czarniak will have a SportsCenter Sunday Conversation with the winner that will air in the evening editions of the program.

Czarniak also will host the Indianapolis 500 pre-race show on ABC at 11 a.m. on May 29. The SportsCenter programs from Indy also will include contributions from ESPN reporters Marty Smith and Ryan McGee as well as other members of the ABC race coverage team.

ESPN expanded its SportsCenter on the Road initiative last year as a way of taking the program out of the studio to be closer to events and fans. In the past year, the program has originated from major events including the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, NFL Draft, College Football Playoff, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, the Masters, numerous NFL and college football games and more.

“When a sporting event as iconic as the Indianapolis 500 reaches its 100th version, it’s a testament to its appeal, stature and longevity,” said Michael Fountain, ESPN senior coordinating producer, SportsCenter. “If there is a major event, SportsCenter will be there, and we look forward to bringing the excitement and pageantry of Indy to our viewers.”

SportsCenter at 100th Indianapolis 500

Date Time Description Host(s)
Wednesday, May 25 6 p.m. Live segments in SportsCenter Lindsay Czarniak
Thursday, May 26 6 p.m. Live segments in SportsCenter Lindsay Czarniak
Friday, May 27 6 p.m. SportsCenter on the Road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Lindsay Czarniak
Saturday, May 28 9 a.m. SportsCenter on the Road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Matt Barrie, Sara Walsh
Sunday, May 29 8 a.m. SportsCenter on the Road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Matt Barrie, Sara Walsh
9 a.m. Live segments in SportsCenter Matt Barrie, Sara Walsh
10 a.m. SportsCenter on the Road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Matt Barrie, Sara Walsh
Post-race Live interview with winner
Evening editions Sunday Conversation with winner Lindsay Czarniak