Scheduling: The 2013 Korean Grand Prix

The fly away races continue, with the first of three double headers to close the season. The Korean Grand Prix also means an early morning get up for the die-hard fans, so sleep deprivation is expected! My plan as usual is practice two, Qualifying and the Race live. As long as I don’t do what I did last year. Unfortunately, if I did miss my alarm call, iPlayer cannot be my saviour this year, as the weekend is exclusively live on Sky Sports F1.

BBC One will be screening highlights in the afternoon, while 5 Live will be covering the action live. Sky will also be screening the 2010 and 2011 Korean Grand Prix’s in full in the run up to the race. I do actually like the race track, it is just a pity the surroundings leave a lot to be desired. Dumped in the middle of nowhere, for no particular reason. Not exactly the most inspiring race to wake up for, that’s for sure. The Sky GP Uncovered programme after the race looks at the career of François Cevert, whilst Karun Chandhok is back on the Sky Pad this weekend, which is great to see. I imagine Anthony Davidson will not be at the next few races following the arrival of his baby girl!

Tuesday 1st October
20:00 to 23:45 – F1: 2010 Korean Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Friday 4th October at 18:00

Wednesday 2nd October
20:00 to 22:30 – F1: 2011 Korean Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Martin Brundle and David Coulthard
– repeated on Saturday 5th October at 07:45

Thursday 3rd October
07:00 to 07:45 – F1: Driver Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
17:00 to 17:15 – Gear Up for Korea (Sky Sports F1)
21:00 to 22:00 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Friday 4th October
01:45 to 03:50 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
01:55 to 03:35 – F1: Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
05:45 to 08:00 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
05:55 to 07:35 – F1: Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
08:00 to 08:45 – F1: Team Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
10:00 to 11:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

Saturday 5th October
02:45 to 04:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
02:55 to 04:05 – F1: Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
05:00 to 07:45 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
05:55 to 07:05 – F1: Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13:15 to 14:30 – F1: Qualifying (BBC One)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)
20:00 to 23:00 – IndyCar: Houston Race 1 (BT Sport 2)

Sunday 6th October
05:30 to 10:15 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1)
06:55 to 09:00 – F1: Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)
10:15 to 10:45 – Cevert: The Most Exciting Man (Sky Sports F1)
14:00 to 16:00 – F1: Race (BBC One)
18:00 to 21:00 – IndyCar: Houston Race 2 (ESPN)

Wednesday 9th October
19:00 to 19:30 – Midweek Report (Sky Sports F1)


A message to Dorna Sports

I have been debating whether to actually publish this for a little while, but thought “why not?”.

Back in May I e-mailed you concerning the MotoGP coverage changes in the UK from the 2014 season onwards. I am disappointed that you not did acknowledge or respond to the questions I asked in the e-mail.

Several months on, and I see the situation concerning coverage has not changed. As it stands, MotoGP will not be broadcast on terrestrial television in the UK. The only deal you have is with BT Sport.

My question is: Will you be creating a new highlights package for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 to bid on? If not, what are the reasons for this?

Under the current arrangement with BBC Sport, audiences for MotoGP are in excess of one million viewers. This is a healthy audience, and helps bring motorbike racing to the masses, something that the deal with BT Sport will not do. The future arrangement with BT Sport from the 2014 season risks shrinking the audience by potentially 75 percent if not more. In my opinion, for MotoGP to thrive in the UK, terrestrial television coverage of some degree is needed.

I look forward to your response.

The above, of course, is an e-mail to Dorna Sports, who are the rights holders to the MotoGP World Championship, along with the Moto2 and Moto3 feeder series. The e-mail was sent on August 29th to an e-mail address that is located on their website. Which is why I have decided to publish this blog.

It is a fairly simple question in the e-mail, whether Dorna will be creating a highlights package for MotoGP. As it stands, only BT Sport will be screening the series. Let me state clearly that this is not an attack on BT Sport. BT Sport will, pretty much certainly, be dedicating more time and resources into MotoGP than any UK broadcaster previously. And that is a credit to them. I’m pretty certain that their coverage will be fantastic and push the boundaries of what is possible. Would it be commercially sensitive information for Dorna to say? I don’t think so – if it is a no, then fair enough, but if it is a yes, I would imagine and hope that interested parties would already have been informed.

Unfortunately though, like most other rights holders, it feels like Dorna do not really care about getting MotoGP out to the widest possible audience. If they did, then options such as a terrestrial highlights package would have been announced, and explored. Fans have not been communicated once, and as I said in the e-mail to them, they risk the MotoGP audience shrinking. Which would be sad, especially if Cal Crutchlow did turn into a championship contender in 2014.

I hope Dorna use some common sense here, but I don’t forsee it happening. Personally I want two things from 2014: for MotoGP to receive the best coverage possible and to the widest possible audience. BT Sport I am sure will provide the first part. Sadly, no one is providing the second part. Anyway, if the full interests of disclosure, I thought I should publish the e-mail, which as of writing has received no response.

Motor sport ratings (week ending 15th September, 2013)

The BTCC was the main motor sport highlight in this week’s BARB round-up. The championship, coming from Rockingham, averaged 301,000 viewers across seven and a half hours on ITV4.

Over on Sky Sports F1, the first live airing of The F1 Show averaged 82,000 viewers, across four airings this increases slightly to 116,000 viewers. The live figure is the highest for the show since multi-21 in March which averaged 110,000 viewers, which is unsurprising considering Kimi Raikkonen’s move to Ferrari was announced two days earlier. In terms of highest rated editions, this is the top five for the studio shows:

1) ~200k (March 9th, 2012 – channel launch)
2) 110k (March 28th, 2013 – multi-21)
3) 86k (June 1st, 2012 – post-Monaco)
4) 83k (May 4th, 2012 – Mugello test)
5) 82k (September 13th, 2013 – Raikkonen to Ferrari)
6) 80k (September 28th, 2012 – Hamilton to Mercedes)

Interestingly, the multi-21 edition is also the only studio based edition to air on a Thursday, which should probably tell Sky something, although it has not been acted upon yet. Elsewhere on the channel, the Midweek Report averaged 17,000 viewers, as did the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

BT Sport to screen IndyCar Series until 2015

BT Sport are to continue screening the IndyCar Series up to an including the 2015 season, it has been confirmed. Writing on Twitter, Mark Coyle, the channel’s Head of Digital Production noted: “We have the rest of this season then seasons 2014 & 2015.”

Although the series is still screened on ESPN UK under BT Sport’s ownership, the confirmation secures IndyCar Series’ future in the UK for the forthcoming future, so is very good news. I don’t know if the deal has been renegotiated or whether the original deal with ESPN UK was always three years, but it is still good to know.

Vettel keeps 4 million hooked on Singapore

Sebastian Vettel’s win in yesterday’s Singapore Grand Prix kept viewing figures roughly in line with 2012, viewing figures show. BBC One’s highlights programme averaged 3.14 million viewers, a 19 percent share from 17:00 to 18:30. Sky Sports F1’s live coverage averaged 630,000 viewers, a 6.5 percent share. What is unclear is what the average covers. If it is the original 11:30 to 16:15 slot, then I have to say that is a particularly disappointing rating considering they had exclusive coverage. We will have to wait and see.

Singapore Grand Prix – Official Ratings
2008 – 3.95 million
2009 – 4.42 million
2010 – 4.49 million
2011 – 4.46 million
2012 – 3.93 million / 4.09 million (using ‘35 percent theory‘)
– overnight figures were 3.81 million / 3.97 million
2013 – 3.77 million / 3.99 million (overnight rating)

The official ratings will budge 2013 level with 2012, I imagine the highlights show was dented by the Manchester Derby, so that may timeshift more than usual. Coincidentally, that match averaged 1.91 million viewers, peaking with nearly 3 million viewers, a fairly colossal number by Sky’s standards.

The 2012 Singapore Grand Prix ratings report can be found here. Ratings data for 2013 is from ITV Media.