Scheduling: The 2019 Dutch TT / Austrian Grand Prix

From Catalunya to Assen, MotoGP heads to the Netherlands for the Dutch TT, which plays host to round eight of the season.

Marc Marquez looks to maintain his advantage at the top of the championship following his dominant performance last time out. Marquez extended his lead following a three-bike collision between Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, and Andrea Dovizioso in Catalunya.

As always, the action airs exclusively live on BT Sport, the pay TV channel airing over 22 hours of live coverage from the Netherlands. For those without BT, the action is also available via MotoGP’s Video Pass, with highlights airing on Quest on Monday evening.

Elsewhere, Mercedes look to continue their crushing Formula 1 dominance in Austria. Ted Kravitz is absent from Sky’s line-up for the weekend, with Karun Chandhok back in the fray.

If pay TV is not your thing, Channel 4’s highlights air in their usual Sunday evening slot, with Mark Webber and Billy Monger again joining regulars Steve Jones and David Coulthard.

On the domestic front, Knockhill plays host to the latest round of the British Superbikes championship (airing live on Eurosport), whilst Oulton Park is home to the British Touring Car Championship for the weekend (airing live on ITV4).

MotoGP – Assen (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
28/06 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
29/06 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
30/06 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Assen (Quest)
01/07 – 22:00 to 23:00 – Highlights

Channel 4 F1
29/06 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
30/06 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
28/06 – 09:45 to 11:55 – Practice 1
28/06 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
29/06 – 10:45 to 12:30
=> 10:45 – Practice 3
=> 12:10 – Paddock Walkabout
29/06 – 13:00 to 15:30 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
30/06 – 12:30 to 17:00 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 13:30 – On the Grid
=> 14:05 – Race
=> 16:00 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
27/06 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
27/06 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
28/06 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
29/06 – 16:45 to 17:15 – The F1 Show
03/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
30/06 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

British Superbikes – Knockhill
29/06 – 16:00 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
30/06 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Races (Eurosport 2)
03/07 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Oulton Park (ITV4)
30/06 – 11:30 to 18:00 – Races

Formula Two – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
28/06 – 11:55 to 12:45 – Practice
28/06 – 15:50 to 16:25 – Qualifying
29/06 – 15:35 to 16:45 – Race 1
30/06 – 09:55 to 10:50 – Race 2

Formula Three – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
28/06 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Qualifying Tape-Delay
29/06 – 09:15 to 10:10 – Race 1
30/06 – 08:25 to 09:20 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
30/06 – 11:10 to 12:00 – Race

As always, this article will be updated if listings change.

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Strong social media growth for Formula E as Hamilton continues F1 onslaught

Motorsport Broadcasting has tracked the social media figures for a range of stakeholders over the past five years.

In the latest analytical piece, we look at Formula E’s growth across social media, Lewis Hamilton’s gargantuan reach, and how Twitter is fast becoming an archaic platform.

As always, this site uses publicly available data to piece the jigsaw together, such as the number of followers.

Whilst the figures presented do not give a reliable indicator as to the engagement per series, the figures do give an idea as to whether a championship or team is attracting a new audience, which is critical for the growth of the sport moving forward.

Championships
This site tracks the social media fortunes of thirteen different championships at a variety of levels. The list ranges from the likes of Formula 1 and MotoGP on a global level, down to the domestic championships, such as the British Superbikes series and the British Touring Car Championship.

As each entity operates at a different level, expecting the same amount of growth from all of them is unrealistic.

The series on the move from a percentage perspective is Formula E, having grown its social media following by 160 percent since the middle of 2018. From 893,000 followers last Summer, the championship now has 2.33 million followers, a staggering growth for the electric series.

However, analysis of the underlying figures raises some suspicions as to whether Formula E’s growth is all natural. Whilst their Twitter reach has stalled, their Facebook following has jumped significantly from 497,000 likes last Summer to 1.60 million likes currently, an unusual rise considering that growth was slow for the first half of 2018.

In comparison, Formula E’s Instagram growth is more natural: 217,000 likes in May 2018 to 361,000 likes in December 2018, and now 544,000 likes, with the percentage increases modest along the way.

The other big mover is Formula Two, whose social media following has increased by 65 percent in the past year. However, the raw volumes are low, as Formula Two’s portfolio of channels increased from 215,000 followers to 355,000 followers in the past year, Instagram contributing most to the gain.

MotoGP and Formula 1 continue to lead the way. Between December 2018 and now, MotoGP’s portfolio has increased by 1.12 million fans, with F1 jumping by 2.36 million fans. F1’s growth has actually slowed compared to last year, a legacy of how F1 playing catch-up on social media after years of neglect from Formula 1’s owners.

Formula 1’s presence on Netflix, with Drive to Survive, should help the figures grow, but to what effect is difficult to say. Although the Netflix documentary launched to a huge buzz within F1 circles during March, the impact it has may serve as an undercurrent to these statistics throughout the remainder of 2019 as non-F1 fans find the series, rather than present a ‘big bang’ effect immediately.

In addition to Netflix, F1 has made significant movements on the social media front in recent years, so any movement will be down to a multitude of reasons for them. The series has experienced a good first half of 2019 on Instagram, with F1’s number of followers increasing by 24.6 percent, from 5.60 million fans to 6.97 million fans.

An extra emphasis on Instagram helped the World Rally Championship in the first half of 2019. Their following on the platform increased from 734,000 fans to 996,000 fans, representing a larger than usual jump at 35.7 percent, and helping the series to a 9.8 percent increase overall across the main social media platforms.

F1’s teams
The same core principles apply when analysing Formula 1’s ten teams: Instagram growing, Twitter slowing and Facebook holding the core of the audience. However, Instagram is making serious inroads on Facebook on this front, and again is the place for stakeholders to direct their resources.

F1 and F1.5 gap is prevalent across social media, although McLaren joins the top three teams, with the remaining six teams forming F1.5. The story remains the same as before, as Red Bull continues to close the gap on Mercedes.

Between July 2018 and now, Red Bull’s following increased by 1.99 million fans, with Mercedes’ increasing by 1.50 million followers. Mercedes’ following continues to reach the edge, with McLaren recording a larger gain.

Red Bull continues to seize the initiative on Facebook. The Milton Keynes based team increased their following by 835,000 likes in the past year, compared with an average increase across the grid of just 135,000 likes. Mercedes have failed to improve their Facebook reach in nearly three years (stagnating at around 11 million followers), with Racing Point further down the grid also struggling.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari remain in close formation on Twitter with Ferrari having the edge, but Instagram is where all teams have seen their reach increase significantly. Since July 2018, McLaren’s audience on the image sharing platform has increased by over one million fans, with the other three big teams following behind.

The Netflix effect appears to have had, at headline level, a positive impact for Renault and Haas. Helped by the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo, Renault’s following has increased from 3.66 million followers last Summer to 4.27 million followers currently, a strong increase considering their growth figures had slowed somewhat up until that point.

Being a newer team means that the full impact of Haas’ increase is not apparent in raw volume, but a percentage jump of 39 percent cannot be overlooked. The increase helped them claw over the one million figure as well, just ahead of the now defunct Manor outfit at the time of their administration.

Outside of Haas and Renault, there are no other unusual increases. There may have been minor bumps due to Netflix, but nothing significant in the grand scheme of things.

F1’s drivers
Standing far above everyone is Lewis Hamilton, with 21.20 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a gulf that increases by the day.

The combined following of the next nine drivers, from Ricciardo on 4.83 million followers down to Carlos Sainz on 1.33 million followers, is 21.48 million. In other words, nine smaller F1 drivers equals one Lewis Hamilton from a social media perspective!

Hamilton’s following on Facebook and Twitter have stalled, however his reach on Instagram has almost doubled since last Summer, moving from 6.89 million followers to 11.50 million followers, cementing his place at the top of the Grand Prix tree.

Behind Hamilton, Verstappen and Ricciardo made respectable increases, but further down the pecking order there are three success stories.

Despite being in only his second season, Charles Leclerc is already the sixth popular F1 driver on social media, and rising, with an increase of over a million followers in the past year, helped by his move to Ferrari and an ever-increasing Instagram presence.

The aura around Kimi Raikkonen has resulted in him becoming the fourth most popular driver on Instagram, despite having zero presence elsewhere on social media. Elsewhere, Lando Norris’ following is increasing rapidly across all social media platforms, as Norris’ following cross cuts both F1 and eSports.

As new drivers enter the sport, it is interesting to note how the skew for each driver moves increasingly towards Instagram and away from Facebook and Twitter. For example, 50.8 percent of Nico Hulkenberg’s following comes from Twitter, compared with 13.8 percent for Charles Leclerc. In contrast, 37.0 percent for Hulkenberg is Instagram related, versus 78.9 percent for Leclerc.

The younger drivers are far more likely to build a platform on Instagram in 2019, whereas the 2009 to 2014 generation of drivers focused far more on Twitter at that time, hence the wildly different skews.

If you manage any championship on social media, Instagram is the place to divert your resources. Facebook is still growing from a motor sport perspective, and remains by far the biggest social media platform, but has now fallen Instagram in terms of growth.

Facebook is better for long form content with Instagram primarily intended for short-form videos. Twitter is great for your existing audience, but not great if you want to hook new fans in, as the figures throughout this article demonstrate.

What content across social media has made your eye-brows raise recently? Have your say in the comments below.

Scheduling: The 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans

The third of motor racing’s triple crown events takes place this upcoming weekend, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans!

As usual for UK fans, the race airs live on Eurosport for its entirety. Whilst the linear television channel will take commercials, the full race will air uninterrupted via Eurosport Player, with fans able to access up to three on-board angles.

Nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen will feature throughout Eurosport’s coverage, providing analysis during the race from their augmented reality (AR) studio alongside Neil Cole.

Although the broadcaster has not officially confirmed the other personalities involved in their line-up, Motorsport Broadcasting understands that Terry Rymer, Mark Cole, and Carlton Kirby will lead the commentary team.

Thirteen hours of Eurosport’s offering will also air on Quest, the free-to-air broadcaster covering the start and finish, as well as proceedings throughout the night.

For those of you wanting a different flavour to Le Mans, organisers of the World Endurance Championship are providing their own service via the WEC app.  Martin Haven and Allan McNish lead the in-house team for Le Mans.

Elsewhere, MotoGP heads to Spain, while Italy plays host to round eight of the World Rally Championship.

World Endurance Championship – 24 Hours of Le Mans
Also airs live on WEC’s App (£)
12/06 – 15:45 to 19:20 – Practice (Eurosport 2)
12/06 – 20:50 to 23:15 – Qualifying 1 (Eurosport 2)
13/06 – 17:50 to 23:10 – Qualifying 2 and 3 (Eurosport)
=> 17:50 – Qualifying 2
=> 20:50 – Qualifying 3
15/06 – 07:55 to 09:00 – Warm-Up (Eurosport)
15/06 – 13:00 to 13:45 – On the Grid with Tom Kristensen (Eurosport)
15/06 – 13:45 – Race (Eurosport)
=> live coverage continues until 14:45 on 16/06
15/06 – Race (Quest)
=> 13:45 to 16:00 – Start
=> 00:00 to 06:00 – Through the Night
=> 10:00 to 14:45 – Finish

MotoGP – Catalunya (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)

14/06 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
15/06 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
16/06 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Catalunya (Quest)
17/06 – 22:00 to 23:00 – Highlights

British Superbikes – Brands Hatch
15/06 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
16/06 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Races (Eurosport 2)
19/06 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Croft (ITV4)
16/06 – 11:15 to 18:15 – Races

Speedway Grand Prix – Czech Republic (BT Sport 2)
15/06 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

Virgin Australia Supercars – Darwin (BT Sport 1)
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
15/06 – 07:15 to 09:15 – Race 1
16/06 – 04:30 to 07:00 – Race 2

World Rally Championship – Italy (All Live)
Also airs live on WRCPlus.com (£)
13/06 – 17:00 to 19:00 – Day 1 (BT Sport Extra 2)
14/06 – 07:00 to 18:00 – Day 2 (BT Sport Extra 2)
15/06 – 07:00 to 19:30 – Day 3 (BT Sport Extra 2)
16/06 – 06:45 to 12:45 – Day 4 (BT Sport Extra 1)

World Rally Championship – Italy
13/06 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 3)
14/06 – 22:30 to 23:00 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
15/06 – 07:00 to 08:00 – Stage 10 (BT Sport 3)
15/06 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Stage 13 (BT Sport 1)
16/06 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Stage 17 (BT Sport 1)
16/06 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Stage 19 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 1)
17/06 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (5Spike)

As always, the schedule will be updated if details change.

News round-up: F1’s US audience figures increase; Formula E hits the big screen

In the latest Motorsport Broadcasting round-up, it is good news for Formula 1 in the US, whilst Formula E hits the big screen at the Cannes Film Festival.

ICYMI: Round-Up #1 (May 13th): Turner returns to F1 fold; F1 adjusts OTT pricing; Barrat joins Formula E’s TV team

Formula 1

  • Good news for F1 on the US audience front, with ESPN reporting double-digit growth year-on-year. The first five races (excluding Monaco) have averaged 564,000 viewers on ESPN compared with 442,000 viewers last year. ESPN also tout the strong growth in the coveted Adult 18-34 demographic, increasing 107 percent year-on-year.

Formula E

  • A new feature-length documentary covering the 2017-18 season premiered at Cannes Film Festival last week. Fisher Stevens, Malcolm Venville and Leonardo di Caprio produced ‘And We Go Green‘, which goes behind the scenes during Jean-Eric Vergne’s championship winning season. LBI Entertainment are handing distribution rights for the documentary.
  • With Dario Franchitti over at Indianapolis, Tom Blomqvist and Nick Heidfeld joined Jack Nicholls and Bob Varsha on commentary duty during the Berlin E-Prix weekend. Blomqvist was alongside Nicholls for practice and qualifying, with Heidfeld joining Nicholls for the race.

MotoGP

  • Quest have changed the time slot of their MotoGP highlights programming. The first three races aired in an 18:00 and 23:00 time slot on Monday evenings, effectively splitting the audience.
    • Viewing figures have not been good. Their 18:00 showing for Austin made BARB’s consolidated top 15 with 196,000 viewers, all other airings have failed to make Quest’s top 15, averaging around 150,000 viewers or below.
    • From Jerez onwards, Quest reduced the two airings to one, airing at 22:00 only on Monday evenings. Current schedules for Mugello suggest that the one airing strategy will continue moving forward.
  • Suzi Perry is back in the BT Sport hotseat for Mugello, after a recent bout of illness.

W Series

  • Speaking to this site following Zolder, Whisper Films stated that their production team during the Hockenheim and Zolder weekends consisted of 34 people. The split was exactly 50/50, with 17 women and 17 men. The production house says that this covers both permanent staff and freelancers.
    • The figures cover the live World Feed production, as well as highlights
    • The figures also include those working on a documentary that Whisper are producing covering W Series’ inaugural season
  • Speaking to RaceFans, series organisers noted that over 400,000 viewers watched the first race in the UK on Channel 4 from Hockenheim. CEO Catherine Bond-Muir told the site “Even [on] Channel 4 we absolutely knocked out of the park the internal audience estimates.”
  • NBC in America has picked up highlights of the series. The broadcaster will air a one-hour highlights show of each race on their NBCSN channel (including commercials).

IndyCar Series

  • The first Indianapolis 500 to air on NBC drew the 500’s highest audience since 2016. According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, the race drew 5.4 million viewers across TV and digital. The race recorded a 86 overnight rating (excluding digital), also the highest since 2016.
  • Ahead of his Indianapolis 500 commentary debut, NBC lead commentator Leigh Diffey spoke to Phillip Bupp at Awful Announcing about his journey to date (link).

Elsewhere…

  • Eurosport have picked up the rights to MotoAmerica highlights in the UK. The one-hour highlights programme began airing last Saturday.
  • Motorsport Network have announced that their new feature length film Heroes will premiere in the run-up to the British Grand Prix. The trailer, which features swathes of archive F1 footage, was unveiled last week. Manish Pandey, one of the men behind the Senna movie, is director and writer for Heroes.
  • It is worth mentioning changes within the Sky Sports hierarchy in the UK. Sky have promoted Barney Francis into the role of Chief Executive of Future Sport, with Rob Webster succeeding Francis as Managing Director of Sky Sports UK.
  • Down under in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald report that Foxtel, which is owned by News Corporation and Telstra, is struggling against the rise of streaming platforms. The paper reports that “non marquee” sport, including motor racing, are under threat.
  • ESPN in the US featured Billy Monger’s remarkable story in their weekly E:60 magazine programme. The show featured his story last Sunday (ESPN’s Vimeo account have uploaded a preview clip).
  • The BBC have written a fantastic piece looking at Katherine Legge’s battles in motor sport, which is worth a read.

Spot any stories making the rounds worth mentioning? Drop a line in the comments section.

Scheduling: The 2019 French MotoGP / Indianapolis 500 qualifying

The month of May ramps up for the IndyCar field as crunch time approaches. Following last Saturday’s dramatic IndyCar Grand Prix, the drivers prepare for the famous Indianapolis 500 with qualifying.

The great news for UK fans is that Sky Sports F1 will air qualifying live across Saturday and Sunday. This includes the portion of qualifying that is airing on the NBC Sports Gold app for US viewers. Given the length of the broadcast, expect ad-breaks in some form.

How does Indianapolis 500 qualifying work?
– Saturday: Top 9 go through to Sunday; Positions 10 to 30 set. One run each.
– Sunday: Position 31 to 33 set (‘Last Row Shootout’). Positions 1 to 9 set (‘Fast Nine Shootout’). One run each.

Closer to home, the W Series heads to Zolder for round two. The race itself airs live on Channel 4, whilst live coverage of qualifying will be available for UK fans via Facebook and Twitter. Lee McKenzie again presents, with Ted Kravitz, Claire Cottingham and David Coulthard completing the line-up.

Le Mans plays host to MotoGP, however BT Sport’s presenter Suzi Perry is again ruled out on medical grounds.

MotoGP – France (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
17/05 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
18/05 – 07:55 to 15:15
=> 07:55 – Practice 3
=> 10:55 – Qualifying
19/05 – 07:30 to 14:30
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – France (Quest)
20/05 – 22:00 to 23:00 – Highlights

W Series – Zolder (Channel 4)
Qualifying airs live across Facebook and Twitter
18/05 – 14:45 to 16:00 – Race

British Touring Car Championship – Thruxton (ITV4)
19/05 – 11:15 to 18:00 – Races

Euroformula – Pau (BT Sport Extra 2)
Also airs live on YouTube
18/05 – 15:00 to 15:45 – Race 1
19/05 – 14:00 to 15:15 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500 Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
18/05 – 16:00 to 23:00 – Day 1
19/05 – 17:00 to 20:00 – Day 2

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport/ESPN)
18/05 – 17:30 to 21:00 – Races

World Touring Car Cup – Netherlands (Eurosport 2)
18/05 – 13:15 to 14:30 – Race 1
19/05 – 07:00 to 08:15 – Qualifying
19/05 – 13:10 to 14:00 – Race 2
19/05 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Race 3

As always, the schedule will be updated if timings change.