TV channel Motorsport.tv to close

Motorsport Network are to close their television channel at the end of September, this site can exclusively confirm.

Launched internationally under previous ownership as Motors TV in 2000, the UK version of the channel launched in March 2001. As the UK channel grew, Motors TV played host to major events on the international circuit, such as live coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the British Touring Car Championship.

In more recent years, the broadcaster aired coverage of the World Endurance and World Rally Championships, whilst also airing live coverage of domestic track days featuring racing at club level, an important asset with no other specialised motor sport channels at that level in existence in the UK.

Motors TV, however were not without financial difficulties, with the channel disappearing and re-appearing from the Sky platform during the end of their lifespan. Nevertheless, the channel continued to survive and move forward.

Following the acquisition of Haymarket’s motor sport portfolio, Motors TV was next on Motorsport Network’s radar. The network duly purchased Motors TV in November 2016, re-branding the channel to Motorsport.tv three months later, and in high-definition.

The television channel has remained on-air since then, however some championships, such as NASCAR, Virgin Australia Supercars and the Motocross World Championship have disappeared from schedules in recent weeks without any warning.

I understand that the decision to axe Motorsport.tv’s television channels applies worldwide, and not just for the UK outlet. Existing championships will continue to air on Motorsport.tv’s digital platforms. A second source has indicated that discussion-based programming will be discontinued as part of this move.

There is the human aspect to this, with those who were working on the channel worldwide now looking for alternative forms of work, either within Motorsport Network, or elsewhere in the motor racing world. Allegedly, there are currently outstanding debts related to the channel to be resolved.

For UK fans, the Blancpain GT Series and Virgin Australia Supercar are, as of October 1st, in limbo without a television home. In addition, Motorsport.tv has the lion’s share of live coverage of the World Endurance Championship with BT Sport and Eurosport; whilst they also air highlights of the World Rally Championship with BT. All could transfer to BT Sport, but this is unconfirmed as of writing.

Elsewhere in the Motorsport Network spectrum, this site has learnt that Chief Executive Officer Colin Smith is stepping down from his post. Smith, who previously worked in NASCAR’s digital media team as Vice President, steps aside with F1 journalist and former commentator James Allen taking over as President of Motorsport Network with immediate effect.

When Motorsport Network acquired Motors TV, there was always a distinct possibility that Motorsport Network were going to discontinue their television channel. The network referenced the transition “from traditional linear broadcasting to a Video on Demand (VOD) service” in their initial press release in November 2016.

The shock here is the abrupt timing, with no immediate warning that this was going to happen at the end of September, prior to the end of the motor racing season. The demise of the television network both in the UK and abroad brings down the curtain on 18 years of broadcasting.

Motors TV might not have had the best picture quality, or audio for that matter, but it brought to viewers championships from around the world week in, week out. The UK motor sport television landscape will be a worse place without it.

Update on September 14th at 18:45 – Following the publication of this article, Motorsport Network staff were informed of the news late on Friday afternoon in an internal news briefing. The briefing outlined Motorsport.tv’s on-demand future beyond September, and that its television network would be no more.

In addition, at 17:37 this afternoon, the Motorsport.tv UK Twitter feed tweeted “Motorsport.tv is moving to online and on demand exclusively. We’ve got all your favourite shows & races you enjoyed on TV, now on demand, any time. Visit motorsport.tv or go to our Apple TV, iOS & Android Apps today to take advantage of our free 30 day trial.”

I have requested comment from various rights holders on the current situation, and will update the site as and when I have more information. Blancpain is unaffected for 2018 as their season concludes at the end of the month.

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10 thoughts on “TV channel Motorsport.tv to close

  1. will it is it just the channel on the tv box that is closing or is the digital streaming website stuff also going away sad?

    If it is just the channel than sad but at least we will still be able to stream it via the website and-or app and maybe they would consider bringing it to game consoles and other devices. also not just streaming of the channel (in high definition also) they have a lot of content including a lot of old duke video releases which is very nice for the rallying and sportscar group c from 1980s.

  2. When they closed the Freeview channel Motors TV lost me as a regular viewer.

    Australian Supercars are on the Freesports channel (on Freeview) for those missing it.

  3. As a regular programme provider to Motors TV from it’s earliest days and more latterly to its successor the sudden closure of this channel is sad news indeed. We will still seek to air our programmes on VOD offering but suspect that the audience will be a shadow of its former self.
    Frank Johns: FJA TV & Marketing.

  4. I used to watch motors tv., right from the begining, a wonderful channel, such a sad loss, it seems every month we loose something, we enjoyed, sky has SO LITTLE motorsports why could they not support the channel, watching motor sports on a lrage screen TV was excellent on a andoid devise sorry no. Why cant good things last…..

    • You can Miracast your Android screen to smart TVs from the last few years or some Android devices have micro HDMI ports or USB-C which can do video to a TV’s HDMI port over the right type of cable.

      Sad to see Motors TV/Motorsport.tv go, been a viewer on and off since the start. It was noticeable though in the last few years there was less and less car action and more obscure bike stuff but WEC and Aussie Supercars will be a big miss.

      Unfortunately good things can’t last if not enough people watch to bring in the advertising money.

  5. So sad, such a variety of motorsport at your fingertips with no obligation but just to love the nostalgia and bring happiness into the armchair enthusiasts life. Sky will never be the same again.

  6. I remember tuning to Motors in the early 2000,s and watching British touring cars from Ireland over a wet Easter weekend…great stuff..but i have to agree that the content has declined in the last couple of years !!

  7. Gutted. Loved the channel for its auto mundial, motor show and test drive programs but also the 24hr Le Mans classics shows as well as all the other programs. Sad loss to tv in my opinion and the online won’t survive very long either due to the channel not having the same appeal as it had as a tv channel with scheduling. #BRINGITBACKTOTHEMASSES

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