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Sherry Yeaman

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Little 500 to be nationally televised in HDTV by HDNet

An Oscar-winning motion picture brought moviegoers from all over the world to Bloomington and the excitement of Indiana University's Little 500 bicycle race. The premier collegiate cycling event has been on national television and this year will be presented live in high-definition television (HDTV) for the first time by HDNet.

HDNet was co-founded by IU alumnus and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and is the first national television network to broadcast in 1080i HD, the highest-quality format of high-definition television. HDNet is distributed by DIRECTV and Charter systems to their HDTV customers.

The network recently announced that it will provide live, full-season coverage of Major League Soccer games. More than 1 million viewers watch HDNet in their homes, in restaurants with HDTVs, and at consumer electronics retailers broadcasting HDTV in their showrooms.

The network will present the 53rd running of the men's Little 500 race at IU Bloomington's Bill Armstrong Stadium, which begins at 3 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. CDT) on April 26. In addition, HDNet will air a one-hour package on April 25 at 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. CDT) featuring highlights from the women's Little 500 and previews of the men's race the following day. The network will repeat its coverage of the men's race in its programming after April 26. While the women's Little 500 will not be shown in its entirety, it also will be featured during the broadcast.

The IU Alumni Association is planning parties around the country to watch HDNet's race broadcast.

In addition to producing the broadcast, HDNet producers will speak to a class of IU telecommunications students and involve them in behind-the-scenes activities on race day.

A one-hour, edited version of the race may be re-broadcast later on Indiana television stations.

The Little 500 first gained international exposure through the 1979 film, Breaking Away, which was filmed in Bloomington. Featuring a Hoosier teenager so smitten with international bicycle racing that he starts speaking Italian, it went on to garner five Academy Award nominations and the Oscar for best screenplay, written by the late IU alumnus Steve Tesich. It also received the Golden Globe award for best film-musical or comedy. Stars of the film returned in 1999 for a 20th anniversary celebration.

After the film's success, the Little 500 in other years was broadcast on CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and the Outdoor Life Channel.