We’re halfway there, just six months until the Indy 500.
And in this week’s 4 Questions, CBS4's Frank Mickens has an exclusive interview with IndyCar boss Mark Miles about his plans to revolutionize the sport.
FRANK: "If you had to just own up to ‘here’s what we really need to get a handle on or improve,’ what are those things?"
MILES: "We want to be really high-level entertainment."
MILES: "But it’s a very competitive sports marketplace. And we’re competing against the NFL and the NBA and major leagues. So the scale is probably the biggest issue for IndyCar."
FRANK: "What would you like to see IndyCar look like if you had all the options on the table, you had all the money in the world, you had all the technology in the world?"
MILES: "IndyCar ought to be a place where young, tech savvy, adrenaline-filled kids pay attention that they care about us because we’re an extreme sport because there’s all types of technology and data coming off of cars."
Miles didn’t discuss it on camera, but he says IndyCar has hired a company to develop an app that would put you on the track during the race--in virtual reality.
You could compete moment by moment with the drivers from your living room, testing your virtual driving skills as you make real time decisions – when to brake, accelerate or turn.
And Miles is ready to break from tradition, with an idea to connect IndyCar to the NFL.
MILES: "It ought to have a defined season which I think should come right after the Super Bowl in this country. All the way into the early part of September. It ought to have a regular pacing of races around the country."
MILES: "And so we want more fans to be more engaged in more ways. So I think having a platform of competition that is interesting to fans of the future is the key."
FRANK: "You mentioned the idea of having street races in major urban cities. Talk about that. Is that something that will happen?"
MILES: "Whether it’s street races or road courses we think over time, we want growth to be in more urban markets. So there are a bunch of new York cities we’re not in. How realistic it is to be in new York, Manhattan or Lakeshore Boulevard in Chicago."
MILES: "But we definitely see ourselves over time, being in more major U.S. cities."
FRANK: "You’ve got the NFL and NBA, they’re making billions off of their network deals. Where does that stand for you with TV rights? Because I know you have negotiations going on."
MILES: "It’s a good question and big opportunity. The current arrangements for everything in the U.S. were made several years ago and are not at market levels today. So there’s certainly an opportunity to grow and it’ll be meaningful growth for us and help get IndyCar in a much better place economically than it’s been in recent history."
More money, more promotion, more prominence – that’s what Miles wants from IndyCar’s next broadcasting partner.
And that might cut out the NBC Sports Network and end ABC’s 50-years broadcasting the Indy 500.
MILES: "It isn’t going to be NFL-ish or NBA-ish in terms, or NCAA in terms of those kinds of numbers."
MILES: "But we care about it being helpful economically and it would be that I believe. And ideally, help us engage more fans."
MILES: "It’s dynamic and complicated but I think still we’ll certainly be in a better place after these next arrangements are made."