Last month, following the conclusion of the 2014 MotoGP season, I asked you for your verdict on BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage. Thanks to all of you for the responses on the linked post, which I have summarised below.
Their inaugural season was an eventful one for the team, especially in the first half with the departure of Melanie Sykes. To say that comments drastically varied would be an understatement, with no real agreement. IAP29 says that BT Sport’s coverage is a huge improvement over what the BBC offered, however posters such as James Rowe and Adam called their coverage ‘average’.
The main praise from a number of posters surrounds Neil Hodgson, primarily due to the fact that he is a former rider and was actually on-location at the majority of races.
Hodgson and Emmett were pretty good and were the highlights of the coverage, as they were actually at the racetrack and could actually interact with the people in the paddock. – Adam
Hodgson is fine and interacts well with the riders. – john carlisle
mark sansom added that Hodgson’s on-board laps were really insightful, noting that he could not find any faults with BT’s coverage.
That is the only part that contributors agreed was a positive. There was indifference towards the commentary and negativity towards the studio. Not one comment was positive about the studio, suggesting that it should be axed, or at least significantly reduced for 2015.
BBC set the standard, and BT didn’t better it. Clipboards replaced iPads and Presentation went from Pit Lane to a Studio in London. Their intro, outro, and commercial break idents were effectively identical. BT need to improve for next year. – f1picko
The studio part baffles me, to the point where I think it would be better just being presented by Gavin [Emmett] and Neil [Hodgson] trackside! And how many presenters have we seen this year? [Melanie] Sykes, Chris Hollins, Abi Griffiths, Iwan Thomas, etc. They need a consistent presenter who is preferably knowledgeable of MotoGP! – IAP29
I think Daniel Clarke makes a very interesting comment, suggesting that the studio was utilised because their coverage was running to a very tight budget, especially considering how much BT Sport spent on the UEFA Champions League.
The big point that multiple people noted about the commentary was the noticeable bias towards British riders, some also not warming to Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder as a whole:
The race commentary is okay, I much preferred Parrish and Cox on the BBC, they had a genuine relationship and complimented one another really well. I’m not saying Huewen and Ryder aren’t good, but I just prefer the old BBC team. – James Rowe
Huewen and Ryder did their job, but were a bit too supportive of the Brits – sound familiar (North One Production). – Adam
As for commentators, it would be a dream to get Steve Parrish and Charlie Cox back with their easygoing, friendly, informative approach and, possibly the greatest talent of all, the sense to realise they’re broadcasting to bikers and there are times when the commentary team need to SHUT UP so we can enjoy the sound of a pair of Hondas or Ducatis or Aprilias running in tandem. – john carlisle
Daniel Clarke does state that the coverage was comprehensive, saying “that’s all that really matters” at the end of the day. Lastly, a comment about the presenter, should BT Sport appoint a new MotoGP presenter. James Rowe calls the decision to appoint Melanie Sykes back in February “shambolic”. Let us hope that the decision that BT Sport make regarding the presenter’s role is not as shambolic as the Sykes debacle…