News round-up: F1 to remain on ESPN in US; Eurosport UK to air British Speedway

In the latest Motorsport Broadcasting round-up, ESPN extends their relationship with F1 stateside, whilst British Speedway finds itself with a new home in the UK…

The round-up gives a bite sized view of the latest news making the waves, as well as interesting snippets that I have picked up along the way.

ICYMI: Round-Up #6 (October 15th): New Brabham film released; MotoGP moves towards HDR resolution

ICYMI: Round-Up #5 (September 12th): Bratches set to exit F1 role; Eurosport executive joins Formula E

ICYMI: Round-Up #4 (July 23rd): New Formula Two documentary coming soon; Facebook touts MotoGP success

ICYMI: Round-Up #3 (July 1st): Sky F1 to air special Williams documentary; Formula E wins award for TV product

Site update
Some of you may remember the site update I posted at the end of September, with details on a major change for me (not for the site). The good news: I moved into my own house in the middle of October! So far, I am pleased to say that everything has gone according to plan, with no hitches.

Of course, that does mean I have spent less time on the site front in recent weeks, a situation I expect to continue until the festive period before the usual New Year cycle kicks in.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the guest articles from Jack Ainslie and Nigel Chiu focusing on IndyCar and World RX respectively, giving a different perspective on motor sport broadcasting. A huge thanks to both Jack and Nigel for their contributions in recent weeks.

If anyone else is interesting in writing a guest article over the next few months, please drop me a line, all ideas are welcome.

Formula 1

  • ESPN have retained the rights to broadcast F1 in the US through to the end of 2022 in a new three-year deal. The broadcaster will again simulcast Sky Sports’ UK offering commercial free, covering every F1 session as well as F2, F3 and the Porsche Supercup.
    • Despite earlier suggestions that NBC were interested in reclaiming the rights they lost back in 2017, I understand that NBC and F1 were some distance apart from both a financial and forward-thinking perspective.
    • F1’s US audience figures have increased significantly since ESPN came on-board, increasing by 24 percent since NBC’s final season in 2017.
  • Netflix’s Drive to Survive, which returns for season two in early-2020 has undoubtedly helped the surge in interest stateside.
    • The increased interest also applies to Mexico where circuit organisers say has caused an increase in the number of women attending the Mexico race.
    • Speaking to RaceFans, Mexico’s race promoter Alejandro Soberon said “We noticed that we have like a 30 percent increase in interest [from] women. We have tested and it’s related directly related to the Netflix series. And they answer and they comment and at least in Mexico, it was wildly successful.”
  • By far the biggest story in terms of column inches surrounded a new graphic which debuted at the Japanese Grand Prix showing the condition of each tyre. The graphic depicted the condition in intervals of ten, in percentage form from 100% (full grip) to 0% (no grip).
    • However, the graphic came under heavy criticism, with Pirelli’s Mario Isola calling the graphic “misleading“, and that they are not supplying F1 with the data.
    • It did not take F1 to respond, issuing a press release just an hour before the Mexican Grand Prix, with a full explainer of what the ‘improved’ graphic contained.
      • In their explainer, F1 noted that the graphic, powered by AWS, uses several public sources, such as live timing data, live telemetry data, tyre compound and stint length to build the overall picture.
    • RaceFans have a detailed article on F1’s thinking on the graphics front, featuring comment from Dean Locke, who is F1’s Director of Broadcasting and Media.
  • Leeds Crown Court have jailed a man for 18 months after he threatened to shoot BBC F1 commentator Jack Nicholls and journalist Clive Myrie.
    • Ian Hargreaves, 66, sent threatening messages about both Nicholls and Myrie through the BBC’s online complaints form.
    • Writing on Twitter, Nicholls said “Some people really don’t like my commentary. A huge thanks to the BBC who have been amazing throughout.”
  • Good news for fans of the official F1 season reviews: Duke Video have confirmed that the 2019 season review is reverting to the 2017 format after heavy criticism of the 2018 review.
    • As in 2017 and before, additional content will supplement the feature-length four-hour review.
  • The F1 team performed what was a herculean effort to get operations back up and running following Typhoon Hagibis ready for race day at the Japanese Grand Prix.
    • Motorsport.com interviewed Andrew James, who works as F1 centre’s technical director to get the inside story.
  • F1 came away as winners from the Broadcast Tech Awards, winning ‘Best 360 / VR Production’ award.

Formula E

  • As first revealed by e-racing365, Bob Varsha will not be part of the Formula E commentary booth for the upcoming season, which begins on Friday 22nd November in Saudi Arabia. Jack Nicholls and Dario Franchitti remain with the team on commentary.
  • I am expecting Formula E to announce this week the destination of several television deals for season six, including their UK free-to-air partner.
    • Last season, the championship aired across the BBC, Quest, Eurosport and BT Sport. The Eurosport arrangement is a two-year agreement that started last season, but the status of the other three are unknown as of writing.

Meanwhile on two-wheels…

  • A new MotoGP television graphic debuted during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend. First focusing on Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales, the graphic shows the heart rate of a rider during the heat of the action.
    • In the example Vinales tweeted, his heart rate is at a rather calm 112 beats per minute.
  • Eurosport in the UK have secured the rights to British Speedway until the end of the 2024 season.
    • British Speedway for many years aired live on Sky Sports, gaining a passionate following, but since 2017 has aired to a smaller audience on BT Sport.
    • The move to Eurosport, along with free-to-air highlights on Quest and DMAX, will help revitalise speedway in the UK, which has been on the decline in recent times.

See anything else worth mentioning on the news front? Drop a line in the comments section below.


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Site announcement: a new home (literally…)

Hi all,

Firstly, before getting on to the main body, I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone for continuing to read Motorsport Broadcasting over the Summer months. It has been a busy Summer, with exclusive content around the W Series, MotoGP and most recently attending the Black Book Motorsport Forum.

If there is one thing I have learnt more so in recent months, it is that there are people reading this site in many paddocks across the world: two wheels or four, large or small, more so than I previously thought outside of the Twittersphere, which is awesome to see.

Of course, the trips over the Summer months do not come cheap. The pieces I write are distinctive, which you cannot find in either the internet or print media space.

However, the expense of travelling to events far outweighs the donations received, plus advertising – a statement which I suspect applies to many independent motor racing sites out there.

Without wanting to lumber the point, if you have enjoyed the content I write, a small donation will go long way and would be very much appreciated. I should say, I love writing what I write, and the moment I do not love it is the moment I will stop.

It is important for me to ensure that Motorsport Broadcasting can fund itself, when taking into account additional expenses (such as attending industry events).

This is more important moving forward because, as of tomorrow and on a personal note, I will be a home owner for the first time. Which is both amazing and scary in equal measure!

The main point to mention is that there may be some disruption in terms of content during the house move, let me call it a period of adjustment as I settle in to new surroundings.

I do not know how long the adjustment will take, so bear with me if the content is a bit thin in the months ahead until things settle down. In the long-term, having my own home may well present some opportunities (someone did joke to me about YouTube, or at least I hope they were joking!).

There are some pieces already lined up over the next few weeks, including two guest articles, as well as the usual scheduling posts and audience data, so there may not be an immediate change. And, if you fancy writing a guest article, head over here

As always, thanks for continuing to support this site, I really do appreciate it. Onwards and upwards!

Thanks,
Dave
Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

Happy 7th Birthday!

Today, this site turns seven, something I never imagined when I first started blogging in 2012.

Until February, the site was known as The F1 Broadcasting Blog, reflecting the content in its earlier days. Now covering a variety of motor sports, Motorsport Broadcasting felt like a more appropriate name. My only regret, as with anything in life, was that I did not start writing even earlier!

I am thrilled with how the site has progressed since its inception. Motorsport Broadcasting has received nearly three million hits since 2012, with visitors from over 200 countries, and interactions from many inside and outside of the industry.

During the past twelve months, I have revealed many stories, including the inside line on Channel 4’s F1 2019 deal; the change of BBC 5 Live’s F1 production contract, and the full story behind the Ted Kravitz / Sky Sports saga, amongst other smaller snippets.

When I started the site, the main purpose was for me to write my thoughts on paper, I did not expect seven years later to be breaking industry stories, showing how much the site has grown and matured in that period.

For me, it is not just about being first with the news. It is also about bringing you, the reader, behind the lens into what makes the broadcasting side of the sport tick week in, week out. Motorsport Broadcasting aims to be distinctive in its voice, with each story unique.

On the human side, I have met many people inside and outside the industry through running this site, some of whom I now call friends, you know who you are.

Normally when I write one of these pieces I write about the ‘top ten’ articles from a hits perspective. Instead, I want to reflect on some of the key milestones for me on a personal level since the site launched:

April 2012 – Site launches, with the blogging equivalent of ‘Hello World!‘ The timing of the launch was no coincidence, I finished my first year of University at the same time meaning that I had many hours to spare!

September 2012 – During the first year of the site, the volume of articles per month was high, I did have a ‘throwing at the wall and seeing what sticks’ mentality (the quality of some of the pieces I produced I will happily admit were abysmal, too). In May 2012, the site’s first full month, I posted 36 articles which is frankly absurd looking back.

Ted Kravitz was the first person from the F1 paddock to start following the site publicly, but it was not until then-BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey shared one of my articles on Twitter did it become apparent that people were reading what I was writing.

Yes, the site had ‘F1’ in the title which may have helped it gain traction, but Humphrey sharing the article was completely unexpected.

October 2014 to June 2015 – Fast-forward and the site began to break some F1 stories, such as Gary Anderson and Georgie Thompson leaving the BBC and Sky’s F1 teams respectively. Away from the site, 2014 into 2015 was a critical time for me: the final year of University, resulting in a first-class honours in BSc Computing.

Since May 2015, I have been working full-time in a data-led role. That brought its own challenges, juggling full-time work with an ever-growing website. But it was a challenge I relished; I absolutely was unwilling to throw away at this point three years of hard work.

Compared to the early days, the site content has changed somewhat: from bite-sized ‘snippet’ stories to in-depth, probing analysis.

March 2016 – By this stage, the site had built up a significant following, and remained F1 orientated, with a bit of other stuff on the side. But March 2016 was the turning point as it was the first I attended in a press capacity: Channel 4’s Formula 1 launch.

I remember that day like it was yesterday, from the early train journey, through to the morning launch, sitting opposite Autosport’s Jonathan Noble at the launch, someone who I respect immensely, and then chatting in-detail to the Channel 4 team.

From a personal and professional perspective, this felt like a perfect day. Everyone has their own personal barriers to overcome, for whatever reason, and I can safely say that on March 8th, 2016, I overcame some of mine.

September 2016 – And six months after the Channel 4 launch, I was heading to a race track in a professional capacity. Silverstone the destination, for the first of three MotoGP visits. The first visit always holds a special place in the heart. It was that weekend that made me admire and appreciate the work that broadcast teams do week in, week out on the road.

Since that first visit, I have stepped into several different paddocks, as well as three visits to the Autosport Show, interviewing journalists, commentators, reporters, producers, and editors to get a better understanding of what it takes to bring this wonderful sport to viewers worldwide.

The first weekend was amazing, to the degree that by the end of it I felt like an emotional wreck. It sounds cliched, but the worries of the days before the 2016 event were eliminated on day one. The paddock just felt like… home.

October 2018 – Another personal obstacle overcome. A little further from home, this time, saying hello to the World Rally Championship!

Deeside is in the middle of nowhere (or at least that is what it felt like), but the five-hour round trip was worthwhile. Without wanting to compare one paddock to another, the rallying production team on that day welcomed me with open arms.

As a result, I was able to talk to a variety of voices that help make All Live the product that it is today. The output was three different analytical pieces (1, 2, 3), going behind the scenes looking at the different elements of the rallying production.

The best thing about each conversation is that every single one is different. Each person has their own unique perspective on the industry that only they can communicate to you, and it has been a pleasure to listen to it all. And best of all, there are far more to come.

February 2019 – From The F1 Broadcasting Blog to Motorsport Broadcasting, I unveiled the next iteration of what is to come moving forward. I am still doing the full-time day job alongside writing content for this site, but I thoroughly enjoy both. If anything, writing content on here has helped me during my day-job, and vice-versa.

Like anyone though, I have made mistakes, or written articles in haste during the seven-year period. No one is perfect, we live and we learn for the next time a similar situation comes around.

As I have grown figuratively speaking throughout the seven years, this site has grown as well. To those who have given advice along the journey so far: thank you.

Whatever the next twelve months bring, keep it Motorsport Broadcasting.

Thanks,
Dave
Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting

Survey: Your 2019 motor racing viewing habits

Hi all,

Before I begin this post, a huge thank you to everyone who responded positively to the re-branding of the website last month, the reaction was much greater than I anticipated.

I re-branded the site to Motorsport Broadcasting to better reflect the content that I was writing throughout the course of a season.

In the past few years, Motorsport Broadcasting has branched out to cover motor sport beyond Formula 1, such as MotoGP, Formula E, and the World Rally Championship, with more to come moving forward.

As part of the re-brand, and on the eve of the 2019 motor racing season, I have created a survey to gauge what championships you follow the most, and what you would like the site to focus more on moving forward.

Survey: Your 2019 motor racing viewing habits

The survey lists a range of championships, with a value of 1 to 5 required, 1 being ‘I do not plan to follow this championship at all in 2019’, to 5 being ‘I intend to follow this championship during the whole of 2019’.

UK fans have an additional question related to the changes in Formula 1 coverage for this season, whilst there is an opportunity at the end of the survey to give thoughts on things you think I could cover differently on this site.

Part of this is user research to inform the website content over the course of the next year, part of it is to see whether specific championships are as popular as I perceive them to be.

At most, the survey will take ten minutes to complete, and will remain open until the end of March.

Thanks,
Dave
Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting

Site announcement: out with the old, in with the new

Hi all,

As many of you know, I have been running The F1 Broadcasting Blog for nearly seven years. The site has generated attention inside and outside of motor racing paddocks, both domestically and internationally.

In that time, the site has covered major stories in the motor sport media landscape, and has revealed some exclusives too. In the capacity of site editor, I have attended events on two wheels and four wheels, as well as the launch of Channel 4’s F1 coverage and the Autosport Show, amongst other events.

At those events, it has been a pleasure to hear people who I enjoy watching and respect, say how they enjoy reading my thoughts and opinions, and that this site is their place to go for broadcasting news. I run this site myself alongside my day job, there is no large group of people or backing behind the site, and I have been amazed at the growth it has had over the seven years.

I initially named the site The F1 Broadcasting Blog, as Formula 1 was, and still is, the focus. However, in recent years, I have focused increasingly on the broadcasting efforts of other championships, including the likes of Formula E, MotoGP, and the World Rally Championship.

Because of the effort from myself to diversify into different areas, it means that the original name of the site is, perhaps, no longer the most accurate. On the eve of the 2019 season, I have taken the opportunity to rebrand the site to better reflect the content that I write.

Moving forward, the site will be known as Motorsport Broadcasting, located at https://www.motorsportbroadcasting.com/.

The website content will not change, with an emphasis on behind the scenes content, news, scheduling, viewing figures, television rights, social media; spanning across the motor sport spectrum. For the moment, the Facebook and Twitter handles will remain in the same case, but the intention in the medium to longer term is to change these.

It has not been an easy decision to re-brand the site, but I feel that now is as good a time as any, ahead of the new season, rather than performing a re-brand half way through the season. I am hopeful the site will continue to lead the way on reporting the broadcasting stories that matter to fans of this wonderful sport.

Thanks,
Dave
Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting