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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Formula E best of the rest as MotoGP season comes to an end

The 2016 MotoGP season ended on Sunday live on BT Sport, but was beaten by Formula E’s second round of its new season in Morocco, overnight viewing figures show.

Formula E continues solid start on Channel 5
Live coverage of the Marrakesh ePrix aired on Channel 5 from 15:30 on Saturday (12th November). The two-hour programme averaged 281k (2.1%), peaking with 443k (3.3%) at 16:40. Bearing in mind that Formula E was resoundingly beaten on ITV4 whenever it clashed with Formula 1, this is a solid number.

The Marrakesh event also holds the feat of being one of the most watched races so far in Formula E’s history, only behind the London ePrix and the inaugural Beijing ePrix. This shows that their deal with Channel 5 is already paying off, and helping the championship reach a larger audience than it could on ITV4. Formula E at the moment needs to take baby steps on Channel 5, to try to increase the audience.

However, Formula E’s numbers were lower than Channel 5’s slot average which might be concerning for the network. Formula E’s deal with Channel 5 is two years long, so there is time to improve numbers. The large calendar gaps won’t help, but hopefully Formula E can maintain a positive trajectory when it returns in February.

MotoGP bows out lower than 2015, but up on 2014
The 2016 MotoGP season has done as well as you would probably expect, given the way Marc Marquez wrapped up the championship several races early. Live coverage of the Valencian MotoGP averaged 107k (1.2%) from 09:30 to 14:15 on BT Sport 2. The MotoGP segment itself from 12:30 to 14:00 averaged 176k (1.8%), peaking with 234k. Unsurprisingly, overnight viewing figures are down around 45 percent on last year’s record high audiences for Valencia.

Across the season as a whole, the pattern is repeated year-on-year. BT Sport’s MotoGP race day programmes in 2016 averaged 114k (1.9%), compared with 132k (2.3%) in 2015 and 90k (1.4%) in 2014. The MotoGP portion of BT’s programming from 12:30 to 14:00 or equivalent averaged 181k (3.1%), compared with 212k (3.6%) in 2015 and 139k (2.0%) in 2014. Cal Crutchlow’s maiden victory in the Czech Republic peaked with a strong 282k, up 13.5 percent on 2015. The highest peak audience of 2016 went to Austin, which peaked with 325k.

It should not be a surprise to see 2015 with higher viewing figures: the season went down to the wire and would have hooked the attention of a broader range of viewers. On the other hand, 2016 was much more exciting than 2014 for MotoGP with nine different winners. I think the viewing figures are about where I would expect for BT. Not amazing, but not poor by any stretch of the imagination. As always, viewing figures do not include BT Sport’s app, nor MotoGP’s Video Pass which will make up a small portion of the difference year-on-year.

ITV4’s highlights programme continued to drop compared with 2014 and 2015. Their highlights programme, which aired on Monday nights, averaged 285k (1.4%) according to overnight viewing figures, compared with 306k (1.5%) in 2015 and 344k (1.7%) in 2014. A drop of 7 percent is smaller than the 11 percent drop experienced between 2014 and 2015. I don’t have the numbers to hand, but I believe ITV4’s viewing share is down as a whole, which may explain why MotoGP has followed that trend.

The combined UK audience for MotoGP is made up of BT’s MotoGP portion (90 minutes or equivalent) plus ITV4’s highlights. The total of 466k is a record low, down on both 2014 and 2015, which is slightly disappointing. I do think audiences would improve if ITV4’s highlights programme was better placed, or aired on the Sunday evening for European races, but I doubt BT would allow that. The same goes for BT with MotoGP as it does for Sky with Formula 1: both need to find ways to make their channels more accessible to the wider public, as pay TV audiences have stagnated. TV does make up a smaller piece of the pie than in previous years, but it is still an incredibly important piece of the jigsaw.

overnights.tv-bannersF1 

Scheduling: The 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix / Valencian MotoGP

One season just starting, one season coming to an end, and the other could see its world champion crowned this weekend. The Formula One season moves onto Interlagos for the Brazilian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to continue his good form and take his championship battle with Nico Rosberg down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.

Sky Sports are live as usual, with no simulcasting this weekend on either Sky Sports 1 or Sky Sports Mix the race being simulcast on Sky Sports 1. So, the only way you can watch this one live (and legally) in the UK is with a Sky subscription or via Now TV. Channel 4’s highlights are at a more sociable time than USA, but they will be hoping for the championship to go to the season finale otherwise it will be the second season in a row where the championship decider has not aired live on free-to-air television.

Elsewhere, if you haven’t noticed there has been a lot of publicity related to Ross Brawn lately (he has a new book out, but I’m sure that’s not the reason…). Nevertheless, there is a half an hour F1 Report special with him discussing all things F1 with Natalie Pinkham in the lead up to Brazil (this follows a 5 Live F1 special that aired last week). BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage for 2016 comes to a conclusion in Valencia with Suzi Perry back in the presenting hot seat.

Lastly, Formula E’s season heads to Marrakesh with qualifying being broadcast live on Spike. Rather ridiculously, the race clashes with the Formula 1 qualifying session. However, there is good reason for the Marrakesh date: the United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place in Marrakesh next week. So, even though the date on the surface looks illogical, underneath there is very good reason for Formula E’s choice of date. Saying that, there was nothing preventing them from bringing the time of the race forward to avoid the direct clash.

Below are the full scheduling details for the weekend.

Channel 4 F1
12/11 – 20:00 to 21:30 – Qualifying Highlights
13/11 – 22:00 to 00:05 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
11/11 – 11:45 to 13:50 – Practice 1
11/11 – 15:45 to 18:00 – Practice 2
12/11 – 12:45 to 14:15 – Practice 3
12/11 – 15:00 to 17:45 – Qualifying
13/11 – 14:30 to 19:15 – Race
=> 14:30 – Track Parade (also on Sky Sports 1)
=> 15:00 – Pit Lane Live (also on Sky Sports 1)
=> 15:30 – Race (also on Sky Sports 1)
=> 18:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
09/11 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
09/11 – 21:00 to 21:30 – F1 Report: Ross Brawn Special
10/11 – 13:00 to 13:30 – Driver Press Conference
10/11 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
11/11 – 18:00 to 18:30 – Team Press Conference
11/11 – 18:30 to 19:00 – The F1 Show
16/11 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
10/11 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
11/11 – 12:00 to 13:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
11/11 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12/11 – 12:55 to 14:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12/11 – 16:30 to 17:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/11 – 16:00 to 18:06 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Valencia (BT Sport 2)
11/11 – 08:00 to 15:00
=> 08:00 – Practice 1
=> 10:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 12:00 – Practice 2
12/11 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
13/11 – 08:00 to 09:15 – Warm Up
13/11 – 09:30 to 15:00
=> 09:30 – Moto3 race
=> 11:15 – Moto2 race
=> 12:45 – MotoGP race
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Valencia (ITV4)
14/11 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights

Formula E – Marrakesh (online via Channel 5’s social media channels and YouTube)
12/11 – 07:55 to 08:55 – Practice 1
12/11 – 10:25 to 11:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Marrakesh
12/11 – 11:45 to 13:10 – Qualifying (Spike)
12/11 – 15:30 to 17:30 – Race (Channel 5)
13/11 – 09:10 to 10:15 – Highlights (Spike)

If anything is added, I will update the schedule.

Update on November 11th – Minor changes to 5 Live’s schedule and Sky’s coverage is being simulcast after all, thanks both in the comments for that.

Scheduling: The 2016 United States Grand Prix

17 down, four to go. For Nico Rosberg, there’s a very good chance that he could become Formula One Drivers’ Champion before Abu Dhabi if he secures a win in Austin this weekend. Elsewhere, the MotoGP championship was clinched by Marc Marquez in Motegi last weekend, meaning that the paddock will be slightly more relaxed than last year in Australia!

Sky Sports are airing F1 every session exclusively live, with the race being simulcast on Sky Sports 1. There is a special documentary on the F1 channel following the race entitled ‘Two Weeks to Win’ looking at Mercedes F1’s turnaround from the Spanish Grand Prix to the Monaco Grand Prix this season. The documentary was released by UBS in August and produced by Whisper Films, who of course also produce Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage (although a good handful of Whisper’s staff used to work for Sky F1). Either way, it is not a Sky produced exclusive.

For those of you without Sky, the bad news is that Channel 4’s highlights programme is not on until 23:00 which is frankly ridiculous. It is the latest a highlights programme has started since the shared deal started in 2012.In 2014, when the race started at 20:00, BBC One’s highlights programme aired from 22:30 to 00:00. So it isn’t that Channel 4 can’t do it, they’ve just chosen not to, instead scheduling a film premiere before the F1 from 21:00 to 23:00.

On the MotoGP front, Suzi Perry is presenting BT’s MotoGP coverage from Australia which is a nice bit of commitment from themselves, even if the timing is somewhat unlucky with the main title already wrapped up. I don’t believe this extends to their speedway coverage which is also in Australia, albeit a two hour drive away.

Channel 4 F1
22/10 – 22:00 to 23:30 – Qualifying Highlights
23/10 – 23:00 to 01:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
21/10 – 15:45 to 17:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Mix)
21/10 – 19:45 to 22:00 – Practice 2
22/10 – 15:45 to 17:15 – Practice 3
22/10 – 18:00 to 20:45 – Qualifying
23/10 – 18:30 to 23:15 – Race (also Sky Sports 1)
=> 18:30 – Track Parade
=> 19:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 19:30 – Race
=> 22:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
19/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
20/10 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Driver Press Conference
20/10 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
21/10 – 22:00 to 22:30 – Team Press Conference
21/10 – 22:30 to 23:00 – The F1 Show
23/10 – 23:15 to 23:45 – Two Weeks to Win: Mercedes F1
26/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
20/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
21/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
23/10 – 19:30 to 22:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Australia (BT Sport 2)
21/10 – 00:00 to 07:00
=> 00:00 – Practice 1
=> 02:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 04:00 – Practice 2
22/10 – 23:00 (Friday) to 07:15
=> 23:00 – Practice 3
==> extended following heavy rain on Friday
=> 03:00 – Qualifying
23/10 – 00:30 to 02:15 – Warm Up
23/10 – 02:30 to 07:15
=> 02:30 – Moto3 race
=> 04:15 – Moto2 race
=> 05:45 – MotoGP race

MotoGP – Australia (ITV4)
24/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 – Estoril (BT Sport 2)
22/10 – 13:15 to 14:00 – Race 1
23/10 – 10:00 to 10:45 – Race 2

European Le Mans Series – 4 Hours of Estoril (Motors TV)
23/10 – 13:10 to 18:05 – Race

Speedway Grand Prix – Australia (BT Sport 2)
22/10 – 09:45 to 13:15 – Races

V8 Supercars – Gold Coast 600
22/10 – 04:30 to 07:30 – Race 22 (BT Sport 1)
23/10 – 05:00 to 08:00 – Race 23 (BT Sport//ESPN)

As always, if anything changes I will update the schedule.

 

Scheduling: The 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

The Malaysian Grand Prix switches back to the latter stages of the season, this year playing host to round 16 of the 2016 Formula One season. It is the third time that the Sepang circuit has been at this end of the calendar, having previously played host to the penultimate round in 1999 and the season finale in 2000.

Channel 4 will be showing live coverage of this round, with Lee McKenzie returning to the fold after her second stint in Rio for the Paralympics and Mark Webber too with the team. Elsewhere in Channel 4’s portfolio, the channel will be airing a full replay of both qualifying and the race, this being their first live morning race. There will also be a special programme after qualifying, with David Coulthard interviewing Christian Horner.

Over on Sky, GP2 and GP3 return to action. It is the first time that GP2 has been in action at Sepang since 2013. For GP3, it is the first race ever at Sepang next weekend. Both take place in the early hours, but are repeated on Sky Sports F1 straight after the F1 action.

Elsewhere, there is a huge amount of motor sport, as the British Touring Car Championship comes to a close, whilst other championships such as the British Superbikes hurdles towards its conclusion.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
30/09 – 02:55 to 04:40 – Practice 1
30/09 – 06:55 to 08:40 – Practice 2
01/10 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Practice 3
01/10 – 09:00 to 11:30 – Qualifying
01/10 – 16:30 to 18:30 – Qualifying Replay
02/10 – 07:00 to 10:45 – Race
02/10 – 16:50 to 19:30 – Race Replay

Supplementary Programming
01/10 – 11:30 to 12:00 – David Coulthard meets Christian Horner

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
30/09 – 02:45 to 04:50 – Practice 1
30/09 – 06:45 to 08:55 – Practice 2
01/10 – 06:45 to 08:15 – Practice 3
01/10 – 09:00 to 11:45 – Qualifying
02/10 – 06:30 to 11:15 – Race
=> 06:30 – Track Parade (also Sky Sports Mix)
=> 07:00 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Mix)
=> 07:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Mix)
=> 10:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
28/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
29/09 – 08:00 to 08:30 – Driver Press Conference
29/09 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
30/09 – 09:30 to 10:00 – Team Press Conference
30/09 – 10:00 to 10:30 – The F1 Show
05/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
29/09 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
30/09 – 02:55 to 04:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
30/09 – 06:55 to 08:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
01/10 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
01/10 – 09:55 to 11:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
02/10 – 07:30 to 10:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Blancpain Sprint Series – Barcelona (BT Sport 2)
02/10 – 08:00 to 09:30 – Qualifying
02/10 – 12:45 to 14:30 – Race

British Superbikes – Assen
01/10 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
02/10 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
02/10 – 13:00 to 17:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
13/07 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch (ITV4)
02/10 – 10:15 to 18:30 – Races

Euroformula – Monza
01/10 – Race 1
=> 14:05 to 15:00 (Motors TV)
=> 14:15 to 15:15 (BT Sport 3)
02/10 – Race 2
=> 12:00 to 13:00 (BT Sport//ESPN)

FIM CEV Repsol – Jerez
02/10 – Races
=> 09:45 to 11:45 (BT Sport 2)
=> 11:45 to 14:45 (BT Sport X4)

Formula 3 Europe – Imola
01/10 – 10:00 to 11:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
02/10 – 14:45 to 16:00 – Race 3 (BT Sport X4)

Formula V8 3.5 – Monza
01/10 – 13:00 to 14:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
02/10 – 14:30 to 16:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport//ESPN)

GP2 Series – Malaysia (Sky Sports F1)
29/09 – 09:05 to 09:40 – Practice
30/09 – 08:55 to 09:30 – Qualifying
01/10 – 04:45 to 06:15 – Race 1
02/10 – 04:15 to 05:30 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Malaysia (Sky Sports F1)
30/09 – 10:30 to 11:05 – Qualifying
* note: this appears to be airing on a 40-minute tape-delay
01/10 – 03:25 to 04:25 – Race 1
02/10 – 03:00 to 04:00 – Race 2

International GT Open – Monza
01/10 – Race 1
=> 15:00 to 16:50 (Motors TV)
=> 15:15 to 17:00 (BT Sport 3)
02/10 – Race 2
=> 13:00 to 14:30 (BT Sport//ESPN)

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 1)
01/10 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

TCR International Series – Malaysia (Motors TV)
01/10 – 10:45 to 12:05 – Race

World Rally Championship – France
30/09 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
01/10 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:45 to 22:15 (BT Sport 3)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
02/10 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Power Stage (BT Sport 2)
02/10 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:15 to 22:45 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
03/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Superbikes – France (British Eurosport 2)
01/10 – 09:15 to 13:00 – Qualifying and Race 1
02/10 – 10:00 to 11:00 – Support Race
02/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Race 2

As always, if anything changes, I’ll update the schedule.