This week is expected to be one of the biggest of the motor sport broadcasting year, from an announcements stand-point as BT Sport are set to unveil their MotoGP line-up. Bennetts last week reported that an announcement was expected at the ExCel Arena, home to the MCN London Motorcycle Show, on 14th February. Whilst that is highly likely to be the date, Shannon Kent, the brother of Moto3 rider Danny Kent tweeted, noting that there is a BT Sport event concerning MotoGP on Thursday (13th February). Either way, it appears this week is the week.
So, who is expected to be part of the team? The rumour mill, as one would expect, has been out in force, however, we can gauge a good idea of who will be part of the team already. Toby Moody’s confirmation a few weeks ago that he would not be part of the team left us with a commentary pairing of Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder, the two expected to rekindle their relationship from the mid 1990s. Despite not mentioning BT Sport recently, his tweets quite clearly show that he is back within the MotoGP paddock circles.
As for the punditry, Bennetts are also reporting that James Toseland and Neil Hodgson, both former World Superbike champions, will be on-board. They note that Toseland “isn’t doing a full season, choosing to do occasional rounds instead, but we believe he will be alongside Hodgson at the first round in Qatar”. This bit is interesting, because a regular insider over on Digital Spy claims that BT will only be on site for seven or eight races. Which, linking back to the above, makes me wonder if Toseland is only going to play a part in proceedings when BT Sport are on-site. I won’t speculate on rumours too much here, as all of this could be wide of the mark.
Which brings me onto my final part. Bike Sport News are reporting that Melanie Sykes is set to front their coverage, with Craig Doyle (current presenter of BT’s Rugby coverage and presenter of ITV’s Isle of Man coverage) fronting a magazine show two days a week. The Sykes rumour sounds incredibly far-fetched, considering Sykes has never presented live sport before and would be a new foray for her. However, it is not as strange as you may expect, when you see this:
ROAR Sport @RoarSport1 Feb 6
Looking forward to announcing some amazing @MsMelanieSykes news next week #2014 #SPORT
3:39 PM – 6 Feb 2014
Again, I don’t want to read too much into this, she could be a lifestyle reporter like Beverley Turner was back in ITV’s Formula 1 coverage back in the mid 2000’s (alas, that role was quickly dropped). Or it could be a red herring, someone has done 2 + 2 and come out with 5. By the end of the week we will find out. And as always, there will be some happy with the line-up, and some unhappy with the moment. For the next few days at least, let the speculation continue…