I have been debating whether to actually publish this for a little while, but thought “why not?”.
Back in May I e-mailed you concerning the MotoGP coverage changes in the UK from the 2014 season onwards. I am disappointed that you not did acknowledge or respond to the questions I asked in the e-mail.
Several months on, and I see the situation concerning coverage has not changed. As it stands, MotoGP will not be broadcast on terrestrial television in the UK. The only deal you have is with BT Sport.
My question is: Will you be creating a new highlights package for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 to bid on? If not, what are the reasons for this?
Under the current arrangement with BBC Sport, audiences for MotoGP are in excess of one million viewers. This is a healthy audience, and helps bring motorbike racing to the masses, something that the deal with BT Sport will not do. The future arrangement with BT Sport from the 2014 season risks shrinking the audience by potentially 75 percent if not more. In my opinion, for MotoGP to thrive in the UK, terrestrial television coverage of some degree is needed.
I look forward to your response.
The above, of course, is an e-mail to Dorna Sports, who are the rights holders to the MotoGP World Championship, along with the Moto2 and Moto3 feeder series. The e-mail was sent on August 29th to an e-mail address that is located on their website. Which is why I have decided to publish this blog.
It is a fairly simple question in the e-mail, whether Dorna will be creating a highlights package for MotoGP. As it stands, only BT Sport will be screening the series. Let me state clearly that this is not an attack on BT Sport. BT Sport will, pretty much certainly, be dedicating more time and resources into MotoGP than any UK broadcaster previously. And that is a credit to them. I’m pretty certain that their coverage will be fantastic and push the boundaries of what is possible. Would it be commercially sensitive information for Dorna to say? I don’t think so – if it is a no, then fair enough, but if it is a yes, I would imagine and hope that interested parties would already have been informed.
Unfortunately though, like most other rights holders, it feels like Dorna do not really care about getting MotoGP out to the widest possible audience. If they did, then options such as a terrestrial highlights package would have been announced, and explored. Fans have not been communicated once, and as I said in the e-mail to them, they risk the MotoGP audience shrinking. Which would be sad, especially if Cal Crutchlow did turn into a championship contender in 2014.
I hope Dorna use some common sense here, but I don’t forsee it happening. Personally I want two things from 2014: for MotoGP to receive the best coverage possible and to the widest possible audience. BT Sport I am sure will provide the first part. Sadly, no one is providing the second part. Anyway, if the full interests of disclosure, I thought I should publish the e-mail, which as of writing has received no response.