ITV and MotoGP part company ahead of 2017 season

ITV have confirmed this evening that they will not be showing MotoGP highlights this season, leaving MotoGP without a free-to-air home. Motorcycle News first reported this news on Monday.

In a statement to this site, the broadcaster said, “Unfortunately, ITV4 do not have the rights to the MotoGP this season.” As with Formula E, which ITV stopped showing at the end of the 2015-16 season, the broadcaster was understood to be paying very little to broadcast MotoGP highlights. The MotoGP highlights deal was struck just weeks before the start of the 2014 season.

One possibility is that Dorna have attempted to increase the asking price, with ITV instead choosing not to renew the contract. There is currently no word on who will show free-to-air highlights in 2017, but Channel 4 and Channel 5 are likely to be the leading contenders, having both increased their motor sport portfolios recently.

According to overnight audience figures supplied by Overnights.tv, MotoGP’s Monday night highlights programme on ITV4 averaged 285k (1.4%) across the 2016 season, compared with 306k (1.5%) in 2015 and 344k (1.7%) in 2014.

In related news, this site has also learnt that BT Sport and Dorna were close to signing a new MotoGP contract last November. At the last minute, Dorna did not sign the contract, and left the negotiating table. The assumption is that talks have since resumed, but I cannot confirm this.

You might be wondering why both parties have gone to the negotiating table early. BT Sport’s current deal expires at the end of 2018; however, there would have been an appetite from the broadcaster to renew before the UEFA Champions League rights tender started, so that an extended deal could be locked in place.

The result of the Champions League tender, which is currently ongoing and should be revealed early next month, could influence MotoGP’s future rights deal. A bigger pot of money going to UEFA from BT means less money for MotoGP. Similarly, should BT lose the Champions League (or pay less), MotoGP could end up with a bigger slice of the money pie.

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22 thoughts on “ITV and MotoGP part company ahead of 2017 season

  1. I hope that the coverage ends up broadcast on Channel 4, it would be a good package to follow the Monday evening news. However, if it ends up on Channel 4, I don’t want it to be an early Saturday-morning magazine show. It will have to be done prolerly, in the same way as F1. Channel 5 used to broadcast MotoGP; 2000 – 2002, so tha is the more likely contender. If it went in Channel 5’s way, they also have a choice of channels, Spike or My5 could be more likely, unless they really want to draw in viewers.

    • TBH I cant recall motogp being on C5 ever. I doubt I would have somehow missed seeing it in three years of it being broadcast.
      It cant cost that much so should be on BBC/C4/C5.
      BBC lost interest once they had F1 but they have bugger all now so should make an effort.

  2. Yes, unless it’s F1, Channel 4 have this annoying habit of putting motorsport highlights on early on a weekend morning! They could trial a Saturday or Sunday afternoon motorsport programme now that they haven’t got horse racing.

  3. I want to see the coverage on the BBC. I think ot would sit well for them, top flight motorsport and cheap (due to sublicense). I think they could broadcast Highlights in an evening slot on a Monday on BBC2, with further repeats on the BBC Red Button and iPlayer. However, the likelihood is it will be broadcast on Channel 5, hopefully at around 8pm; following ITV4.

    Channel 4 may look at Live MotGP as an option (if it opens up) in 2019. It would be a good replacement for Live F1, and with shorter races, they can dedicate more adverts (before and after). If they had Live MotoGP and F1 Highlights, Sunday’s would be great for Motorsport fans and would provide numbers above slot averages.

    Imagine it’s 2019 and this was your Sunday schedule:
    09.30 – 12.30: Moto2 & Moto3 (More4)
    12.30 – 14.30: MotoGP (Channel 4)
    14.30 – 17.00: Motorsport Special (Channel 4)
    17.00 – 20.00: F1 Highlights (Channel 4)

  4. Looking at it from a broadcasting perspective, Highlights will probably end up on BT Showcase (FTA). BBC are cash strapped, Channel 4 have Formula 1 to worry about and Channel 5 has Formula E (Live) and WRC (Highlights) on Monday evenings already. I would love to see it on the BBC, but that is unrealistic for 2 reasons; cost and sublicense would break their advertising policy (advertising for other broadcasters – BT and using a BT Sport Production).

  5. I actually don’t blame ITV4 for doing this. They are concentrating mainly on the BTCC, their main motorsport coverage. The MotoGP coverage can’t have cost them much, but as they rely on ads for their income, other motorsport may be more lucrative,

  6. Slightly off topic but World Superbike Highlights on ITV4 at 8pm (UK Time).

    Another sport apparently dropped by ITV Sport.

  7. It was a mistake that I had noticed, WSB was taken off ITV’s scheduled listings (along with MotoGP loss) and re-added recently. I think the contract is in place until end of 2018. My bad!

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