Some bits of news today (not of an April Fools nature!) and the past few days worth mentioning which I have summarised below.
The first bit of news is that BT Sport are debuting a new motor sport show. Entitled ‘Motorsport Tonight’, it will be presented by Abi Griffiths, and will première tonight at 20:00, filling the gaps when MotoGP Tonight is not airing. Tonight’s episode will feature John Watson and Guy Smith talking about the Blancpain GT Series amongst other segments. Whilst that is all great, at time of writing, we’re about two hours before the first broadcast.
Can anyone explain to me why this hasn’t been promoted? If it wasn’t for a tweet by Ben Constanduros this afternoon, I wouldn’t have known about it! It seems to be a common problem, and it sadly is not isolated to BT Sport: broadcasters debut new programmes and fail to promote them. Just yesterday I mentioned the IndyCar Series on ESPN (under the BT Sport banner), which falls under this category. Why air live and/or original programming if you’re not going to bother giving it promotion? I don’t know why it hasn’t been promoted, and to be honest I don’t understand the logic behind it whatsoever. It doesn’t matter how cheap it may be to show, the fact is you are showing it, therefore you should promote it. Otherwise, why bother? It frustrates me.
Whilst I praised Formula One Management (FOM) last week for the improvements to the official F1 App, one area that another series appears to have got the upper hand on is concerning the quality of the on-board footage. Several tweeters pointed out that the British Touring Car Championship on-board cameras from this past Sunday are now in high definition. I haven’t yet had time to watch the races yet from Sunday, but I approve in any improvements in broadcast quality, so this is definitely a good thing. As always with anything in broadcasting, there are people behind these improvements, so credit here goes to Videosys Broadcast for the design and Cloudbass Graphics for implementing it.
Lastly, this week’s TV Sports Markets magazine contains some quotes from Formula E’s CEO Alejandro Agag. The piece notes that the deal with ITV4, announced last month, is only for the first season, and that ITV Sport paid very little money to screen it. Agag says “We have other interested parties on the pay side, but we wanted it to be free to air. So we want to give priority to that but then be able to re-evaluate it.” The fact that ITV did not pay much money for it doesn’t surprise me. At the moment, the series has no value and is unproven. Only after the first season will we see how much value it is to ITV, although I don’t think we will see any races on ITV’s main channel, the last time any motor sport was aired live on ITV1, as it was back then, was Formula 1 in 2008. If Formula E does move to pay, it will sink, in my view irrespective of whether it is one, two or five years from now, unless it turns into a massive hit. Any pay TV deal needs a terrestrial counter part. We shall see what happens, but that is a long, long way into the future.