I just noticed I got this in the email yesterday (sorry, I was prepping for the race) which is "a statement from the Indy Racing League". I guess they got everyone in the offices at 16th and Georgetown together and in unison chanted...
STATEMENT REGARDING VERSUS COVERAGE ON DIRECTVYou don't need a press release to tell you VERSUS and the IndyCar Series and DirecTV subscribers are all frustrated at this contractual stalemate, but let's also not forget those folks who help pay for the rides and the broadcasts - namely, the sponsors. They bought ad time and paid for snappy decals on the cars and did all sorts of other expensive things that cost money, and I'm sure they're none too pleased at this development. Especially the series title sponsor, who...oh, wait - nevermind that last bit.
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2009 - The following is a statement from the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series, regarding VERSUS' coverage of the Indy Japan 300 on DirecTV:
"We have been in constant communication with our television partner VERSUS regarding its negotiations with DirecTV. Talks have been ongoing and, while we're hopeful for a speedy resolution, we do not anticipate coverage of the Indy Japan 300 on DirecTV this weekend.
"As announced earlier in the week, there will be comprehensive coverage of practice, qualifying and the race on IndyCar.com. We could not be happier with the partnership we have forged in just over a year with VERSUS and look forward to a long and healthy relationship. Both VERSUS and the IndyCar Series share the frustration of DirecTV subscribers and we are hopeful that the two sides will continue talks and that DirecTV subscribers will have the ability to view IndyCar Series coverage for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway."
Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I have a hunch this will all be resolved somewhere before the start of the National Hockey League season, which would result in minimal damage to the IndyCar series. That would mean only the Motegi event would be unavailable, and it's not like anyone was expecting a huge audience for an overnight race in Japan in the first place. As long as the series finale, which once again will effectively be the championship match, is on DirecTV then antacid consumption around the league will decline considerably.
Until then though, we can all marvel at the irony of how in a year DirecTV has gone from "presenting sponsor" of the series to, well, the unoffical sponsor of non-presentation.