Back in May, it was announced that BT Sport would be taking over the MotoGP rights for the 2014 championship onwards. The move was met with mixed reaction. On one hand, BT Sport will be providing MotoGP with significantly more broadcast air-time than previous broadcasters. But, with that, the viewership will drop badly with no terrestrial coverage from 2014 onwards as I have wrote about in detail previously.
Aside from that though, there is the big question of who exactly is going to be a part of BT Sport’s MotoGP team. With that in mind, it is time for me to dive into my crystal ball, and for me to guess who will be part of that team! A disclaimer though that I have zero inside knowledge, all of the following is my own predictions and speculation.
Starting with the main figure that viewers will see: presenter. Matt Roberts deserves the role in my view, and has been a steady ship directing the BBC show in the past year or two. I’d really like him be able to do more in-depth interview or features, which a role as BT’s MotoGP presenter would allow him to do, as there would be significantly more air-time. I think Suzi Perry has to be mentioned as a possibility too, if there is an escape clause in her BBC F1 contract. I’m not sure that BBC would want two Formula 1 presenters in a row heading to BT Sport, mind! Outside of that? I don’t think Jake Humphrey is realistic, purely because it would go against everything he said when leaving the BBC F1 job. Humphrey would not want to do every race either, I don’t think, plus the fact he is BT Sport’s lead Premier League presenter I believe rules this out. Finally, Keith Huewen is a possibility. I still think Roberts will get it. There could be a complete wildcard here, but I doubt it.
Moving onto pit lane reporters, and Randy Mamola and Neil Spalding are a must for me. I missed Mamola when he left Eurosport’s coverage at the end of 2009, and would love to see him return. Spalding is great in his current Eurosport role, so I would prefer ‘both’ rather than ‘or’. Where this would leave Azi Farni I don’t know. If she is there, she is there, but it is not a deal breaker for me. Punditry is an interesting one considering MotoGP coverage in the UK has never really had pundits. BBC’s coverage relied on Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish to fill air-time in the half an hour before the race with Roberts, so no extra personnel were required. BT Sport are expected to go the extra mile with MotoGP, so I would expect a pundit or two. As it is a British audience watching, the obvious former British MotoGP riders come into mind, such as Jeremy McWilliams. I’m not entirely sure who else to suggest here, so would be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Lastly, the commentary team. I could discuss this over, but there is only one choice here: Toby Moody and Julian Ryder. Must, must, must, and I cannot emphasise that enough. It would be a near travesty if Moody and Ryder were not commentating to British audiences. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of Cox and Steve Parrish’s commentary work, but I know where these things are concerned it is personal preference. For me, Moody and Ryder are leagues ahead of Cox and Parrish. I think Parrish should be part of the team maybe as a pundit though, but at the age of 60 he may want to tone down his paddock involvements. We shall see.
With that in mind:
– presenter: Matt Roberts
– pit lane reporter: Randy Mamola
– technical reporter: Neil Spalding
– paddock reporter: Azi Farni
– pundit: Jeremy McWilliams and A.N. Other
– commentators: Toby Moody and Julian Ryder
That is just my best guesses. My expertise in terms of motorcycle broadcasting is limited regarding personnel, but I thought I would throw in my two cents!