Site Announcement: “And you’re back with us, here on Motorsport Broadcasting”

After a three-month break and a few interruptions along the way, Motorsport Broadcasting is back, with a new look.

I honestly want to say thank you to everyone who commented and messaged following my announcement last October.

During the last year, there were times where I felt like there were fewer people reading the site, or enjoying what I wrote, and that the site was becoming a burden to maintain. What you made me realise was that this is simply not the case.

If anything, I needed a break, and I am glad I took said break. I have reflected on events, both inside and outside of Motorsport Broadcasting, trying to focus on the long-term picture, long after this pandemic has disappeared.

There will be a day when motor sport journalists and experts can mingle in the paddock. There will be a day when fans, en masse, can flock to racing circuits across the UK and worldwide to watch their favourite drivers race. There will be a day when we can smell the rubber for ourselves.

And there will be a day when I walk into a circuit representing this brilliant site once again to chat to the wonderful artists that bring this amazing sport to the small screen. I honestly cannot wait until that day comes (although I suspect I will be a little misty eyed when it comes).

It is for those reasons why stopping Motorsport Broadcasting would be an error of judgement on my behalf. As the 7 Habits say, “Begin with the end in mind,” thinking about the long-term goals, not the short-term hurdles.

Some changes

I want Motorsport Broadcasting to be distinctive in nature, of high quality, and a reputable source for motor sport broadcasting content.

Motorsport Broadcasting will focus on exclusive news stories broken before mainstream media outlets, whilst also taking readers behind the scenes to show how the sport reaches fans worldwide.

If you work in motor sport broadcasting and want this site to shine a light on your part of the world, drop me a message. This site is authored by a fan, for the fans.

Underpinning the distinctiveness is an emphasis on analysis, both social media and television, understanding the latest numbers and providing a unique take on the story of the day.

And lastly, Motorsport Broadcasting is interested in hearing what you think of the current landscape, through guest articles. Occasionally, the site may deviate onto other topics, where time allows.

I have, regrettably, decided to stop publishing scheduling articles on a regular basis, for the moment at least. I know many of you rely on them, but ‘list’ content is not only low quality, but also very time consuming to compile.

Instead, I intend to publish schedules for the key events in the motor sport calendar (e.g., F1 and MotoGP season openers, British Grand Prix, Le Mans, and Indianapolis 500), supplementing that with additional information in standalone articles where time allows.

I enjoy giving you, the reader, a unique perspective on this sport. When I do write content, I want my head to be in that space.

There will be fewer articles but of higher quality during 2021. Previously I became irritated if I did not write something by a certain date, but now I have accepted, that it is okay to go a couple of weeks without writing.

2021. Time to get started….

Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting

Site Announcement: “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later”

This has been a difficult piece to publish and it is one I have mulled over for some time… but here goes.

Eight and a half years ago, I penned the first article for what was then The F1 Broadcasting Blog.

An idea in between University lectures at the age of 19 has since turned into three million hits, 15,000 followers on Twitter and 1,428 articles, with interest from many inside and outside of the industry.

The journey over the eight years has been amazing, and I have been fortunate enough to meet some incredibly talented people who bring this sport to life along the way, you know who you are.

Motorsport Broadcasting is not a team, there is no team or big backer sitting behind the content on this site, unlike many other motor racing websites you read.

Aside from a handful of articles, only one person has produced the content you see from initial concept, through transcribing and onto publication: me.

Despite the long period running the site, I have not once given myself a break from writing. Family holidays? Write a note or two whilst wandering. Annual leave from work? Write a post to publish the next day. Christmas break? Same applies.

Why did I do that? Because I enjoyed it, I enjoy stretching myself and writing content on an area I feel passionately about, whilst also retaining the ever-enjoyable day job alongside it.

But, 2020 has presented challenges that no one expected, and in all honesty, motivation recently has dropped and burnout has increased, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know I am not alone in that regard.

There is not a day currently where I do not think, in some way, about this site. Sometimes I feel guilty because I am, as an example, escaping from the outside world on games when I could be writing content for the site.

Regrettably, I feel that an enforced break from Motorsport Broadcasting will do me good, and it is for that reason I am going on a hiatus, effective immediately after this post, from publishing new material on this site until the New Year.

Is Motorsport Broadcasting no more?
Let me make clear that this is a temporary, not permanent, break.

The timing appears odd, I agree. The alternative is I take a break following the conclusion of the F1 season, but before we know it, the Christmas break has come and gone and we are already thinking about pre-season testing.

The only loss over the forthcoming weeks will be the regular scheduling posts, although RaceFans publishes the latest information each F1 race weekend.

My fear is letting Motorsport Broadcasting become the one thing I loathe: a site that churns out mediocre content for the sake of content.

I need to take the opportunity to re-evaluate what content I want to appear on Motorsport Broadcasting, and there is no better opportunity to do that than over the forthcoming months, ready for a soft relaunch in early 2021.

With 23 Formula 1 races provisionally scheduled for 2021, if a scheduling post takes on average two hours to write and publish, I could spend over two full days in a calendar year writing schedules, taking away valuable time from creative content.

I need to remind myself why I love writing the content that I do. And, I need to remind myself that everyone reading this site still likes the content I write.

I know people enjoy the content, but because I never step back to properly recharge, I never realise this as much as I should do (if you are a lurker who works in the industry and are reading this, please reach out over the next few weeks and say hi).

When I set up what is now Motorsport Broadcasting, I did not expect to lead it for eight years without a break, but here we are. This is painful, but necessary, so Motorsport Broadcasting can thrive in the years ahead.

I have so many thoughts and ideas in my drafts to get down on paper, and over the next few weeks and months, I plan to do exactly that. I finally feel like I have the headspace to write freely, instead of trying to meet a pre-defined schedule, which is exciting!

I want to be proactive with my planning, rather than publishing posts as soon as I have written them because I am afraid the gap between my last post and this one is ‘too long’ (whatever that means).

One of the many things I love about Motorsport Broadcasting is getting to know the industry more, chatting to people, going behind the scenes, bringing you closer to the sport you love.

To everyone that has helped make this site over the past eight years and offered me guidance and support along the way: thank you.

But first, I need to do what is best in the short term, and that is to take a break from publishing articles, as well as enjoy the racing we have left in 2020.

Rest assured: this is not a goodbye. It is ‘see you later.’*

Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting

* knowing my luck, a big story will break tomorrow, rendering this post useless…

Happy 8th Birthday!

In a parallel universe, Formula 1 is gearing up for its first European race of the 2020 season, returning to the iconic Zandvoort circuit after a frantic four fly away races, whilst MotoGP also prepares to head back to Europe.

Unfortunately, we live in unusual times, whereby motor sport is on indefinite hold, as COVID-19 takes hold on everything we know normal.

Today marks Motorsport Broadcasting’s eighth birthday, although it does not feel like a joyous occasion currently.

There is ‘glue’ that holds every sporting site together: the knowledge that, as one sporting occasion passes, another is fast approaching. For every review, there is also a preview.

The ‘glue’ that holds those sites, and this site, has all but disappeared in recent weeks, with Esports and archive material dominating the pages. In turn, the number of visitors has also sharply fallen.

And, as much as I enjoy watching the F1 and IndyCar Esports events, writing about it does not enthuse me as much, especially on a regular basis.

For every day that passes, lets hold onto the fact that we are one day closer to the lights going green once again. We do not know when, and we do not know where. But that day will come, for F1, for IndyCar, for MotoGP, or closer to home for BTCC.

On the broadcasting front, the COVID-19 pandemic raises questions at every level, for every rights holder and every sporting federation as to the long-term validity of those contracts, and whether entities may need to renegotiate them, or declare them void.

No one knows the answers, but be sure that Motorsport Broadcasting will report on any changes as and when they occur.

Highlights from the past year
Over the past year since the site turned seven, Motorsport Broadcasting did take the opportunity to sniff around a few paddocks, so in the downtime, here are a few highlights worth revisiting.

  • BlackBook Motorsport Forum – This writer attended the annual event last August, with leading figures from across the industry in attendance.
    • I caught up with F1’s Director of Marketing and Communications Ellie Norman for a chat, as well as getting the low-down from the panel on the challenge that faces motor sport in the over-the-top arena.
  • Preparing for the future – Two championships gave Motorsport Broadcasting an insight into the future.
  • W Series adventures – A few weeks earlier, I headed down to Brands Hatch, to find out how the series had embedded itself into the DTM setup, also taking time to chat to presenter Lee McKenzie on the art of broadcasting.

To everyone reading this: stay safe, both physically and mentally, and hopefully it will not be long before we can talk about motor sport broadcasting at full steam once again.

Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting

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Site announcement: Motorsport Broadcasting and COVID-19

Hi all,

The next few weeks and months are going to be strange, unusual, and challenging for everyone as COVID-19 affects and impacts us all.

With no motor sport to cover, the number of articles published on this site will be significantly lower than usual over the weeks ahead.

As many of you know, Motorsport Broadcasting is a ‘side project’ for me alongside my day job.

Although not front line by any stretch of the imagination, I am a civil servant within the public sector, and suffice to say that the reality of the situation we face collectively hit hard earlier this week.

To everyone who is keeping this country and island ticking over during this difficult hour: thank you.

No one knows what the next few weeks hold in store, including myself, and that is why, right now, Motorsport Broadcasting is not my main priority.

Some days, I might have the enthusiasm to write content for publication later to take my mind off the outside world, other days I might not.

If that disappoints you then I am sorry, but there are more important things ongoing that make the site not a priority for me currently, as well as taking care of my own mental health.

Message for freelancers
What I do want to do though is offer a helping hand to those affected within the motor sport broadcasting community by COVID-19.

If you work in the sector as a freelancer, and fancy writing an article on this site about your experience and career to date, or paddock life, any amusing anecdotes you want to tell, whatever it may be, please drop me an e-mail here.

I am happy to pay a small fee in return. The site by itself makes a loss when you account for advertising, donations and then deduct the travel costs, which is why I cannot promise a lot.

I do, however, want to do my bit to help those in the sector which is why I am putting this out there. If you want to take up my offer, please get in touch.

The next few months will be difficult for us all. But we can get through this, together.

Owner of Motorsport Broadcasting

The top 10 articles of 2019

Each year, it is fascinating to see what has struck a chord with Motorsport Broadcasting readers across the year, and 2019 is no different.

There is a running theme throughout the most read articles that we published this year, with a surprising entry on top, an example of what happens when your PR strategy goes very badly wrong…

10. Doing the sums: the cost of viewing Sky Sports F1 in 2019 – March 3rd
With all but one race of the 2019 Formula One season airing exclusively live on Sky Sports, the annual post looking at how much it will cost fans to watch Sky Sports F1 was high up in the rankings again.

9. New opening themes for Sky’s and Channel 4’s F1 coverage – March 16th
The change for fans heading into 2019 was noticeable from the very first second that both Sky Sports and Channel 4 went on-air with their F1 offering. Out went Just Drive and The Chain, and in came Outlands and Genesis to herald a new era.

8. Fewer races with Sky for Kravitz as coverage undergoes revamp – March 8th
News surrounding Ted Kravitz dominated the agenda heading into Melbourne. After Sky u-turned on a decision to axe him from their coverage (see below), it later emerged that he was returning to Sky in a reduced role. Little did we know at this point, but Kravitz had signed up to cover the W Series in the intervening period.

7. No UK free-to-air coverage for WRC as Channel 5 deal ends – January 28th
Besides what sits in the number one slot, this is the most read non-F1 story of the year, showing that many clamour for rallying action. Unfortunately, news emerged prior to the season opening Monte Carlo rally that the series would be leaving Channel 5. However, in another u-turn, the series ended up staying within the Channel 5 portfolio, but now on sister station 5Spike (soon to merge with Paramount Network on 7th January).

6. F1 avoids television blackout during German Grand Prix – August 1st
The German Grand Prix was by far the most dramatic F1 race of the season, but the drama continued off the track. In the early hours of Saturday morning, a fire destroyed one of F1’s production trucks. A mammoth effort meant that the action went ahead as scheduled, with fans seeing very little impact to the reduced service behind the scenes.

5. Ted’s Notebook to return to Sky’s F1 schedule – April 8th
Where Ted goes, the Notebook follows. After missing Australia and Bahrain, Ted Kravitz returned to Sky’s coverage in China, with his Notebook also returning. The post-race Notebook returned, although the post-qualifying Notebook remains on a leave of absence. Whether it will return in 2020 remains unclear.

4. A new era, and a new F1 theme, as Channel 4 breaks The Chain – March 9th
Synonymous with F1 fans for decades, Motorsport Broadcasting exclusively revealed news of The Chain’s demise in the run-up to Melbourne. A bidding war between Channel 4 and Sky increased the price for the popular theme, leading to neither broadcaster using it in the end.

3. Coulthard to step away from Channel 4’s F1 coverage for three races this season – April 15th
Like Martin Brundle in 2018 with Sky, Channel 4’s David Coulthard opted to part company with the commentary booth for three race weekends in 2019. Allan McNish and Mark Webber stepped in to fill his boots alongside lead commentator Ben Edwards.

2. Ted Kravitz to remain part of Sky’s Formula 1 team – February 25th
Following intense social media speculation, news reached Motorsport Broadcasting that Ted Kravitz was indeed remaining with Sky Sports F1 for the 2019 season. Every story has a few twists and turns, and this was no difference, as this site exclusively revealed key details behind the decision-making process at Sky.

1. Motorsport Network to sell F1 Racing magazine; Autosport magazine heading towards oblivion – October 6th
As the top ten demonstrates, 2019 saw a few u-turns’ in the broadcasting space, perhaps none bigger than what unfolded over at Motorsport Network. Autosport axed. Autosport not axed. Autosport price to rise. Autosport price rise reversed. All within the space of four weeks. Evidently, Motorsport Network never reached out to their user base before this unfolded, otherwise they could have avoided a PR disaster.

Behind the Scenes
Elsewhere on the site, Motorsport Broadcasting delved inside many motor sport paddocks to bring you closer to the fold, including the W Series and World Endurance Championship, interviewing personalities such as Lee McKenzie along the way.

Outside of the paddock, Motorsport Broadcasting was again present at the Autosport Show, as well as attending the BlackBook Motorsport Forum in September and a night celebrating a decade of Whisper. The travel to and from these events does cost money, along with accommodation, so a hit of the donation link below would be greatly appreciated.

Whether you are a fan of the logistical side of the sport, or want to know where the sport is heading in the over-the-top space, I hope you have enjoyed the variety of content on this site across the past twelve months.

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