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.

Thanks,
Dave
Owner and Editor of Motorsport Broadcasting

Fancy contributing to Motorsport Broadcasting? Head over here for further details…


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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.

Cheers,
Dave
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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Merry Christmas from Motorsport Broadcasting

The 2010’s have come and gone, dominated largely by the same two men in Marc Marquez and Lewis Hamilton. Despite the predictable outcome of both championships this year, 2019 has seen some awesome moments in the motor racing world that will live long in the memory.

In my own surroundings, 2019 started and ended on two wildly different notes. Moving into my first home in October was scary, but two and a half months on, I can safely say I made an excellent decision.

Inevitably, activity on the site has decreased as a result, but hopefully you have noticed an increase in content in recent weeks. As I have said before, I prefer to write fewer, high quality articles rather than producing frequent, lower quality content just to boost the numbers. The former is far more enjoyable in my view.

Out at industry events this year, I have met more awesome people during the Autosport Show, Black Book Motorsport Forum and Whisper events, as well as attending both the MotoGP and World Endurance Championship rounds at Silverstone, all helping me to write original, distinctive content for this site. To everyone who has complimented me: thank you, it means a lot.

It would be amiss of me not to send a special thanks to Andrew, Daniel Finley, Jack Ainslie and Nigel Chiu for writing four excellent guest articles, bringing their own viewpoint to the site throughout 2019.

The aim remains the same: to bring motor sport fans a different perspective on the sport that we all love, and I hope that this site is playing a small part in delivering that ambition. Thank you to everyone who has read the site again this year, as Motorsport Broadcasting heads into year eight.

To all reading this article, I hope you all have a relaxing Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Cheers,
Dave
Owner of Motorsport Broadcasting


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The magic 2019 numbers

2019 has been another busy year for Motorsport Broadcasting, the first year under the new branding, with fans from nearly 200 countries accessing the site this year.

But why have visitors headed to the site this year? We dive into the stats to see if we can identify any trends…

As Motorsport Broadcasting has grown since its inception, the demographics and location of those visiting the site has changed slightly too.

Top 10 Countries – Percentage of all hits
01 – 71.3 percent (2018: 76.4) – United Kingdom
02 – 7.0 percent (2018: 6.0) – United States
03 – 2.5 percent (2018: 2.0) – Australia
04 – 2.0 percent (2018: 2.1) – Ireland
05 – 1.7 percent (2018: 1.5) – Canada
06 – 1.5 percent (2018: 1.1) – Netherlands
07 – 1.1 percent (2018: 1.3) – Germany
08 – 1.1 percent (2018: 0.8) – Spain
09 – 0.9 percent (2018: 0.9) – France
10 – 0.8 percent (2018: 0.7) – Italy

An interesting top ten, with some noticeable shifts. From a proportion perspective, the UK has dropped to its lowest level. For me, that is a good thing as it means the site is reaching a wider base abroad. In contrast, 7 percent of readers now come from the USA, the largest ever amount, with Australia also returning to their 2016 high.

The US increase is two-fold in my view: Netflix’s Drive to Survive helping to increase interest stateside, as well as the fact that ESPN take Sky Sports F1’s full-length coverage, meaning that the Sky F1 analysis that I publish is not just relevant to UK readers anymore, but also increasingly to readers overseas.

Outside of the top 10 sit Portugal, South Africa, and Finland, all clustered around 0.5 percent. South Africa is on the rise, having accounted for just 0.09 percent of the readership in 2013 and 0.33 percent in 2016. Hello to everyone from South Africa reading this piece!

Top 5 Referring Websites
01 – 66.8 percent (2018: 77.9) – Search engines
02 – 22.6 percent (2018: 15.3) – Twitter
03 – 3.5 percent (2018: 1.5) – Facebook
04 – 1.3 percent (2018: 2.1) – Reddit
05 – 1.2 percent (2018: n/a) – Autosport Forums

A few things here which buck the trend. Twitter rises to its highest referral rate ever, Facebook climbs back to equal its 2016 high, but Reddit falls for the third year running to its lowest level since 2013. The reason this is odd is because the Formula 1 sub-reddit has grown massively since 2016, so you would expect the number of referrals to at least be stable, if not increase further.

Irritatingly, WordPress does not break down the referrers by article, so it is impossible to say what made the most noise on Twitter (although the top 10 articles of the year post, coming up next week, gives a big clue…).

Top 10 Search Queries
01 – motorsport broadcasting
02 – where is martin brundle
03 – martin brundle missing
04 – motorsport broadcasting blog
05 – martin brundle
06 – f1 broadcasting
07 – channel 4 f1 coverage 2019
08 – where is martin brundle this week
09 – f1 broadcasting blog
10 – why is martin brundle not at f1 today

He is at home. Probably.

Many people consider Martin Brundle an integral part of Sky’s Formula 1 offering, and the top 10 search queries to this site during 2019 make that abundantly clear once again. The first non-F1 related entry comes in fourteenth position with ‘wrc 2019 tv coverage uk’, as fans wondered which UK station the World Rally Championship would end up this season.

2019 was another intriguing year on the broadcasting front, and 2020 promises more of the same.

Statistics compiled and correct as of December 15th, 2019.


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