New beginnings, and the end of an era in at least one respect, 2017 had both. #AlonsoRunsIndy caused a major traffic spike for The F1 Broadcasting Blog in April and May, with record numbers reading about the Indianapolis 500. Elsewhere, it was also the end for two legendary MotoGP commentators. Here is what you read most out of the content published during 2017.
10. BT Sport likely to retain UK TV rights for MotoGP – August 29th
One of the key broadcasting stories that is likely to conclude early in 2018 is the destination of MotoGP’s live television coverage from 2019 onwards. This writer spoke to Dorna during the 2017 British MotoGP weekend, and with it found out that BT Sport are likely to retain MotoGP beyond 2018.
9. UK – Alonso’s Indy 500 exploit peaks with 203,000 viewers – May 29th
Fernando Alonso’s participation in the Indianapolis 500 was a huge driver for a large portion of readers visiting this site during May. His stint in the famous race provided BT Sport with a major boost, increasing their Indianapolis 500 audience year-on-year by 975 percent!
8. Channel 5 to continue World Rally Championship coverage in 2017 – January 12th
Remaining on four-wheels of a different kind, it emerged straight after the Winter break that the World Rally Championship will remain on Channel 5. MotoGP would soon join the series on Channel 5…
7. ITV and MotoGP part company ahead of 2017 season – February 16th
…after they parted company with ITV, who had been covering highlights since 2014. The move came as a surprise given that MotoGP was an easy schedule filler for ITV4 and was rating reasonably well for the broadcaster in that slot.
6. Liberty Media helps bring F1 social media strategy on-track – August 20th
Amazingly, the only Formula 1 article to make the top ten. Relatively speaking, there have been no major news for UK fans from Liberty Media. The piece that did make the top ten surrounded Formula 1’s social media strategy, with an increased following because of the additional resources poured into the platforms.
5. Channel 5 secures MotoGP highlights package – March 15th
The parting of ways between ITV Sport and MotoGP prompted some chatter around whether Channel 4, Channel 5, or even the BBC would swoop in for the MotoGP highlights package. In the end, it was Channel 5 that secured the deal, announced shortly before the season opener in Qatar.
4. Scheduling: The 2017 Indianapolis 500 – May 17th
I posted the finalised Indianapolis 500 schedule on this site half way through May. Disappointingly though, no free-to-air broadcasters aired the event, which had significantly more attention than usual this year due to Alonso’s appearance. And, this is not Indy’s last appearance in the top ten either…
3. Discovery threatens to pull channels, including Eurosport, from Sky platform – January 25th
A spat between Discovery and Sky started off 2017, and escalated rapidly with Discovery threatening to remove their channels from Sky’s platform. The movement gained traction on social media, but in the end the two sides agreed a deal, ensuring Eurosport remained on Sky.
2. Julian Ryder to bow out of MotoGP commentary role following 2017 season – November 9th
One of the lessons of covering this site is to expect the unexpected. That was the case in November when news emerged that Julian Ryder was to hang up his MotoGP commentary gig, following Nick Harris into pastures new. Whoever is alongside Keith Huewen in the BT Sport commentary box in Qatar will have big shoes to fill.
1. The 2017 Indianapolis 500: how, and where you can see it in the UK – April 12th
There was immediate interest in the Indianapolis 500 as soon as news came out around #AlonsoRunsIndy. Reacting straight away, the number one post of 2017 outlined how viewers in the UK could watch the 101st running of the famous event, which formed part of the 2017 IndyCar series season.
Alongside the top ten posts, there are a few other posts from across the year that I want to highlight. In September, I was lucky enough to go behind the scenes look inside the British Superbikes outside broadcast (OB) truck (here and here). If you are at all interested in how motor sport television broadcasts are produced, I strongly encourage you to have a read of both of those pieces.
Elsewhere, I have also interviewed numerous motor sport personalities this year, ranging from former ITV F1 pit lane reporter Louise Goodman (here and here) to Sky’s Formula 1 presenter Simon Lazenby, and onto Motorcycle News (MCN) writer Simon Patterson, amongst others throughout the racing year.
The 2017 top ten only featured one Formula 1 post, however I suspect that there will be a lot more on the broadcasting side to discuss in 2018 where F1 is concerned…