The 2014 MotoGP season has finished, with Marc Marquez dominating the majority of the year. The Valencia Grand Prix programme has just concluded, which brings to an end BT Sport’s first year of covering MotoGP. So, how have they fared? This season marked a drop in viewing figures, thanks to a lack of free-to-air television coverage as a result of Dorna’s new deal with BT Sport, later followed by a deal with ITV4 for highlights coverage.
From their team announcement in February, through to Melanie Sykes’s departure in May and onto their fantastic coverage at Silverstone, it has been a roller-coaster ride for BT.
The comments section is open for you to have your thoughts: what did BT Sport do well in 2014, and what could they have done better? Should they appoint a permanent presenter for their MotoGP coverage in 2015? If so, who should that be? What should the channel do differently for 2015 where MotoGP is concerned?
As always at this time of year, the best thoughts will be put into a new blog post in a few weeks time.
13 thoughts on “BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage: Your 2014 Verdict”
Very comprehensive coverage – however, I was quite underwhelmed with the overall BT production. Their side of things (i.e. the studio) just felt botched on to the world feed, whereas the BBC production was much more slick. There also seemed to be a lack of interview features and VT’s throughout – not even an end of season montage?
It just felt like they were running to a very tight budget. But when you consider how much BT plough into football rights (e.g. £897 million for the Champions League alone for the next three years!) – I guess the MotoGP coverage had to take the hit.
But, aside from those things – practice/qualifying/race coverage was comprehensive and that’s all that really matters isn’t it?
I would agree with Daniel. The “live” parts of the weekend at the circuits were done very well and I enjoyed watching the coverage of all sessions. However the studio side has sometimes let things down. I have found it frustrating not hearing full interviews from riders that had clearly been filmed and we have seen parts of and then the commentators would mention parts of the interviews that we hadn’t seen.
I think overall the coverage has been getting better as the weeks have gone on and I am looking forward to seeing what next season will bring now bt are finding their rhythm.
I would like to see more features and vts but im sure in time that will come.
To be honest, I can’t find a fault with the coverage of motogp, I’ve especially thought that the laps that Neil Hodgson does on each track are really insightful.
keep it up guys, great stuff.
They had an ok first year, the coverage of the races were great, but apart from that it was rather bad. BBC set the standard, ans BT didn’t better it. Clipboards replaced iPads and Presentation went from Pit Lane to a Studio in London. Their intro, outro, and commercial break idents we effectively identical. BT need to improve for next year. Also, the biasedness has to go. Keith and Julian almost always looked at the Brits. Mel Sykes couldn’t tell a Honda from an FTR Kawasaki. They need to get a more consistent Presenting Line Up, and not play around with the commentators all the time in Practise as well. Apart from that it was rather decent year.
Compared to BBC’s coverage of MotoGP I’m sure we can all agree what BT have done is a HUGE improvement!
But again the studio part baffles me, to the point where I think it would be better just being presented by Gavin and Neil trackside! And how many presenters have we seen this year? Sykes, Chris Hollins, Abi Griffits, Iwan Thomas, etc. They need a consistent presenter who is preferably knowledgeable of MotoGP!
Also Hewan and Ryder in the com box are not really my cup of tea, and they often make mistakes… I mean how many times has Keith referred to Stephan Bradl as Helmut Bradl? I often think I could do a better job sat thousands of miles away on my sofa!
Also it’s a shame they don’t show WUP on a Sunday morning! And the program could be longer to accommodate more interviews and analysis!
But apart from that I have no real complaints! Definitely a step up from BBC’s coverage… I just hope they continue to improve over the next few seasons and they don’t prioritize football and rugby!
For me, BT Sport was no better than British Eurosport who did a fantastic job, in fact, as far as I’m concerned, they were worse. Poor commentators with verbal diarrhea, a good commentator should paint a picture of what’s happening, mot OH look at that, look at what? Pit walks were amateurish, lack of repeats etc etc. If Plusnet, with whom I have my broadband and phone, were not offering it at half the price of BT themselves to Sky customers on a rolling contract, I would not have bothered to subscribe at BT extortionate prices. I hate football which is all BT Sport is really interested in. They have cut viewing by around 80% and I doubt if that will improve, it will probably get less in following years. Most I have spoken to who have had to rely on ITV4 say they won’t bother again, it’s very poor. NO coverage of Moto3/2. They want live coverage.
Finally, the Macau Motorcycle race is also being screened on British Eurosport2 on Saturday as well as BT Sport. Have BT now realised that their intrusion into motorcycle racing has failed and they have to share rights with other providers. British Eurosport is still the home of motorcycle racing and long may it continue.
On a whole, I think BT Sport’s coverage of MotoGP has been average. The appointment of Melanie Sykes as the main presenter was shambolic and she hardly hit the ground running, it was if she landed on her head. She never felt at home at Qatar or in the studio and it was a relief once they parted company.
In terms of presenters for 2015, I feel they should give the permanent gig to Craig Doyle. I would really love to see Matt Roberts get the role like he did with the BBC but I don’t see it happening. In terms of Abi Griffiths, I just don’t like her style. I can’t quite pinpoint why but she doesn’t seem to cut the mustard. She works well as a reporter like she was at Silverstone but I think it would be a more quality product if Craig Doyle presented all live shows.
The use of the studio to present qualifying and race shows is a farcical. After such exciting races, seeing the analysis being done in the studio just takes the shine off the coverage and it’s sometimes as if the race hasn’t even happened. They desperately need to have a permanent on-site presentation team, just like they had at Silverstone where the main presenter, analysts and reporters can rove up and down, mirroring F1 coverage in the UK.
The race commentary is okay, I much preferred Parrish and Cox on the BBC, they had a genuine relationship and complimented one another really well. I’m not saying Huewen and Ryder aren’t good, but I just prefer the old BBC team.
There needs to be at least two permanent analysts on the team to make the whole job seem permanent and committed, right now it doesn’t seem like it is. James Toseland alongside Steve Parrish is the paring that immediately spring to mind.
The main issue that needs to be resolved is the presentation from the studio. Once they rectify that issue and move to a more F1-style coverage, I think they’ll be moving in the right direction.
BT Sports coverage was average at best, considering the good coverage that Eurosport and BBC have done the last few years.
Heuwen and Ryder did their job, but were a bit too supportive of the Brits – sound familiar (North One Production)
The studio side is the elephant in the room. Melanie Sykes was a wrong decision, but their interim presenters did nothing to improve the coverage. It was also sometimes a bit scrappy, cutting to breaks as well as cutting between world feed and studio at random times. I actually really liked the balcony coverage they did at Qatar and hope they do it again next year.
Hodgson and Emmett were pretty good and were the highlights of the coverage, as they were actually at the racetrack and could actually interact with the people in the paddock.
These were just my thoughts, there are definitely a few improvements for BT next year, but not a disastrous start.
I seem to be somewhat out of step with the majority of comments accepting what I consider to be a noticeably inferior package to the previous BBC coverage, which we received free. I objected from the start at being forced to pay BT Sport, but had to bite the bullet to watch the only really competitive motor sport for me. Huewen and Ryder are O.K. as individuals with their respective skills, but the constant desire (mainly from Heuwen) to score points off each other with geeky detail is childish and grates on the nerves. Hodgson is fine and interacts well with the riders.
We desperately need somebody to lead and hold the programme together: the ideal solution would be to bring back Suzi Perry, but that’s not going to happen, even though I get the impression that she certainly enjoyed herself more in the world of MotoGP! As for commentators, it would be a dream to get Steve Parrish and Charlie Cox back with their easygoing, friendly, informative approach and, possibly the greatest talent of all, the sense to realise they’re broadcasting to bikers and there are times when the commentary team need to SHUT UP so we can enjoy the sound of a pair of Hondas or Ducatis or Aprillias eunning in tandem.
Lastly, is it beyond the wit of BT Sport to repeat the middle-of-the-night races the following day? We do have ITV4 on Monday eves and are grateful for that, but it’s a dreadfully crammed hour with none of the paddock/grid chat.
Bring back the BBC!!!! No HD for a sport as spectacular as that , presenters who are appalling and don’t have a clue… Not worth the money I paid and a disgrace for the sport…
Interesting comments, but the fact is that Dorna’s money grabbing deal with BT Sport meant the UK audience for live races dropped by around 65%. They then go and do another money grabbing deal for the British GP to go to a proposed new circuit in 2016, which is now the subject of a public enquiry in March 2015. Their planning and research seems somewhat lacking to me.
Just disgusted in general. For someone that doesn’t like football, paying for btsport just to watch motogp is ridiculous. Will just download the torrents after the race or watch live streams. Never paying for btsport. As for the question, coverage is terrible. Give it back to the BBC or let sky provide us with a dedicated channel like f1, you know… Something worth paying for.
Full marks to BT sport , for there coverage of moto gp , they have moved it up a notch compared to 2014 , keep up the good work , Loving it !!!