BT set to snatch MotoGP rights from 2014?

BT Sport are set to win the MotoGP rights from the BBC and Eurosport, articles this evening are suggesting. The usually reliable TV Sports Markets (subscription needed) are saying that BT will screen the series from 2014 onwards. As has been noted on my Contracts page for many months, the current MotoGP contract expires at the end of the season.

My initial thoughts on this is that it will be bad, bad move if it comes off. Just a few weeks ago, MotoGP was having terrestrial television presence in primetime with the beginning of their season on BBC Two. Motor cycling arguably needs the free to air presence more so than Formula 1, and I’m afraid that I struggle to find any positives here for motor cycling if the move happens. Hopefully the coverage stays free to air (BBC or elsewhere, maybe ITV) because a move to BT will slash any existing presence it currently has.

If I hear any more on this, I will update this blog.

Update on April 30th – Broadcast are today reporting that BT’s MotoGP plans are very similar to that of what Sky currently do with Formula 1, with “multi-camera options, such as rider point of view footage” being mooted. I would be surprised if they go as far to have their own MotoGP channel, when you compare the popularity of both sports, if other Formula 1 content gets less than 100,000 viewers, then I would dread to think what the other MotoGP content would get if BT went down that route.

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Sky Sports F1 – Top 10 ratings (week ending 21st April, 2013)

From BARB:

1 – 722k – Live Bahrain Grand Prix (Sunday, 11:30)
2 – 487k – Live Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying (Saturday, 11:00)
3 – 130k – Live Bahrain Grand Prix Practice 3 (Saturday, 08:45)
4 – 97k – Live Bahrain Grand Prix Practice 1 (Friday, 07:45)
5 – 78k – The F1 Show (Friday, 16:00)
6 – 75k – Ted’s Bahrain Qualifying Notebook (Sunday, 11:15)
7 – 72k – Legends (Saturday, 10:13)
8 – 64k – Live Bahrain Grand Prix Practice 2 (Friday, 11:45)
9 – 50k – Legends (Saturday, 10:22)
10 – 45k – GP Uncovered (Sunday, 16:16)

The main disappointment for me, again, is the lack of GP2 action in the top ten. I do think Sky should consider putting a repeat of GP2 Qualifying in between Practice 3 and Qualifying as the slot appears to draw fairly well despite it consisting of yet more Legends repeats. Personally, I would for the European events have:

09:45 – LIVE Practice 3
11:20 – GP2 Qualifying (R)
12:00 – LIVE Qualifying

Although the idea of Sky increasing the length of their Practice 3 broadcast is potentially outrageous considering how quickly they get off the air. Either way, they need to consider in what way at all it benefits the channel by having a six month old repeat lead into new and live content. Elsewhere, live coverage of the British Touring Car Championship on ITV4 averaged 261,000 viewers, a good rating despite the F1 clash.

Bahrain Grand Prix ratings drop versus 2012

Coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix dropped on both Sky Sports F1 and BBC One versus 2012 last Sunday, overnight ratings show. Whilst the two channels averaged 4.24 million in 2013, the number is down on the 4.39 million average in 2012.

Sky Sports F1’s race coverage on Sunday averaged 656,000 viewers (6.1% share), peaking with 1.29 million (12.0%) at 13:20. Both figures are down on the 2012 numbers of 738,000 viewers (6.2%) and a peak of 1.6 million, following the trend seen so far this season where Sky’s figures are down versus last year. The race average itself was 1.19 million, compared with 1.4 million in 2012. The closeness in the average and peak figures again shows how Sky’s figures stay very stable during the race, but fail to bring any big peaks.

BBC One’s highlights show averaged 3.58 million, down on the 3.65 million versus from 2012. The figures are by no means a big drop, in the grand scheme of things it is fairly small compared to some of the huge drops we seen late last year for the Asian flyaways.

Overall, the 2013 ratings will be below 2010 which averaged a high 4.76 million viewers due to it being a season opener, but the weighted number for 2013 (892,000 viewers for 12:10 to 15:15 for Sky and 3.58 million for BBC’s highlights) is above 2009’s number of 4.39 million viewers. So whilst there was a drop versus last year, it is not a big enough of a drop to be concerned about and appears to within the usual year-to-year fluctuations for Bahrain.

Sky add 1983 classic races to May Day weekend

For those of you that will be enjoying next weekend’s May Day Bank Holiday, good news as the first five races of 1983 are heading your way on Sky Sports F1. All races will air on the channel in highlights form.

Friday 3rd May
21:00 to 21:30 – 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix Highlights

Saturday 4th May
21:00 – 1983 United States Grand Prix West Highlights
21:40 – 1983 French Grand Prix Highlights

Sunday 5th May
21:00 – 1983 San Marino Grand Prix Highlights
21:40 – 1983 Monaco Grand Prix Highlights

And then then the repeat airings:

Monday 6th May
22:30 to 23:00 – 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix Highlights

Tuesday 7th May
22:30 to 23:10 – 1983 United States Grand Prix West Highlights

Wednesday 8th May
22:30 to 23:10 – 1983 French Grand Prix Highlights

Thursday 9th May
21:30 – 1983 San Marino Grand Prix Highlights
22:10 – 1983 Monaco Grand Prix Highlights

The reason, for those wondering, why it is only highlights airing, is because in some cases, only the highlights package exist in the FOM archive with commentary, therefore it is impossible for Sky to show the full race.

Happy 1st Birthday!

One year ago, I launched The F1 Broadcasting Blog. The first blog was your standard ‘Welcome‘ piece. From there, the site grew. Bigger and better than I ever could have imaged. 345 posts later and today marks the first birthday for The F1 Broadcasting Blog. I couldn’t be more proud of how far the site has come. Here are a few statistics on how far the site has come:

– Total of 155,000 hits
– Over 1,500 followers on Twitter
– Amassed over 800 comments since inception
– Average of 500 views per day
– Visitors from 134 countries
– Connections with members of the BBC and Sky F1 team

To all of those that have visited, praised, criticised, commented and liked, thank you for making it the success that it has been. And as a milestone has been passed, here is the regular review of the most read articles since the site began:

10. Doing the sums: the cost of viewing Sky Sports F1 this year – January 31st, 2013
Unsurprisingly, a popular article so far in 2013 has been people looking for the cheapest way to view Sky Sports F1 legally this season.

9. BBC axe 2012 opening titles – March 1st, 2013
Formula 1 opening titles tend to last three years, or at least they did throughout the ITV era. BBC had other ideas though and decided to dump their 2012 titles after only one season.

8. Tom Clarkson doing Lee McKenzie’s job this weekend – June 9th, 2012
With Jake Humphrey elsewhere, Lee McKenzie was promoted to the presenter role for the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix. In her place was Tom Clarkson, which led to the birth of the above blog article. For me, this was the first time I noticed that the blog was going to properly take off.

7. Dissecting Georgie Thompson’s decision to leave Sky F1 – February 25th, 2013
I attempt to look at the decision by Georgie Thompson to leave the Sky Sports F1 team. Two months on, and neither has made an official comment on the matter.

6. Tom Clarkson added to BBC F1 TV team – March 6th, 2013
The news in early March that Tom Clarkson had been added as a permanent member of the BBC F1 team, featuring in their coverage of every race.

5. The status of the IndyCar’s UK broadcasting rights – January 8th, 2013
The confusion surrounding the IndyCar rights concerned fans on the back-drop of a great year of racing in 2012. Unfortunately, it would turn out that Sky Sports opted to not renew the rights, with the series moving to ESPN. What happens from August 1st onwards though, is anyone’s guess.

4. Predicting the 2013 calendar pick order – September 21st, 2012
As the 2013 calendar was announced, I took a gamble, stepped into the BBC’s and Sky’s shoes and predicted what actions they would take in determining which races would be live on BBC, and which would be exclusively live on Sky. Whilst I was right some of the time, I was not right all of the time as we found out on December 21st.

3. A few thoughts on Jake Humphrey leaving the BBC – September 18th, 2012
As a follow on to number nine, later in the day on September 18th, I published my reaction to Jake Humphrey’s BBC F1 departure and speculated about who would replace him. In all cases though, I was wide of the mark.

2. Italian Grand Prix records highest rating since 1998 – September 10th, 2012
Before Jake Humphrey announced his BBC F1 departure, all was going swimmingly well. Until on the Monday after Monza it turned out that there were a few famous faces reading this blog. Cue a influx of hits sending the web traffic up many notches!

1. Georgie Thompson leaves Sky’s F1 team – February 15th, 2013
The story that I exclusively broke earlier back in February, that Georgie Thompson had left the Sky Sports F1 team after only a year in the role, with Natalie Pinkham taking over her duties.

As always, thanks for reading!
Dave,
Owner of The F1 Broadcasting Blog