BT Sport will present their MotoGP coverage from the UK when the championship returns to action in Jerez, Spain on Sunday 19th July, multiple sources have confirmed to Motorsport Broadcasting.
The broadcaster has implemented a decentralised remote production model during the COVID-19 pandemic, with special MotoGP programming looking at their best races airing live, on and off-air personnel dotted around Europe.
Having perfected that model, I understand that BT intend to continue using it, at least for the immediate future.
Readers who have watched BT Sport’s Premier League coverage so far will know that programming has aired live from their Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park base in London (see video below), instead of on-site at the relevant grounds as was the situation previously.
Financial implications are one reason behind BT Sport’s decision. Many broadcasters are looking to cut costs, as advertising revenue slumps.
Although both BT and Sky in the UK are pay TV broadcasters, BT is still a relatively immature player in the market, meaning that they are likely to be a bigger risk moving forward.
In addition, Motorsport Broadcasting understands that MotoGP’s main broadcasters, such as Canal+, Sky Italia and Servus will be joining Dorna out in Spain.
Plans circulated to all stakeholders by Dorna in a 30-page document earlier this month, a copy of which this site has seen, shows that MotoGP will continue to allow television crews to carry out key activities.
The championship is allowing broadcasters to interview riders on the grid, as well as in parc ferme after the race, and in pit lane, all at a social distance.
From a presentation perspective, MotoGP will continue to have its podium in the usual locations, but the podium itself will be wider in length to accommodate social distancing, with no dignitaries on hand to present the trophies.
No access for written media
In contrast to the above, Motorsport Broadcasting can reveal that MotoGP has prohibited written media from accessing the circuit.
Although the plans circulated by Dorna are at a championship-level, it does allow us to compare and contrast the FIM’s approach with their four-wheel counterpart, the FIA from a broadcasting perspective.
Dorna says that they will allow around 40 people from media organisations on-site for each round, with an additional 250 people from their own organisation, the latter number covering everyone involved with the Dorna production (including the logistical side of the event).
However, Dorna have opted to exclude all written journalists from attending the event, with only a small number of television broadcasters allowed access.
The document circulated says that “no other media will be permitted on-site (no journalists, no radio reporters, no websites).”
As thus, Dorna is developing systems to allow media to interview personalities remotely from home during the race weekend, including one-on-one interview slots and press conferences.
This contrasts with F1’s approach to the new season: F1 are allowing a small number of journalists covering a wide audience to attend their races.
I understand that attempts to get Dorna to move on this subject have failed, with written media unlikely to return to the MotoGP paddock until at least the Austrian Grand Prix on the weekend of Friday 14th August to Sunday 16th August.