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.

Advertisements

News round-up: Turner returns to F1 fold; F1 adjusts OTT pricing; Barrat joins Formula E’s TV team

As part of a new strand on Motorsport Broadcasting, we will begin to round-up the stories behind the camera that may not have featured in one of the main articles on this site.

The regular round-up will include snippets from across the landscape, every two to four weeks. In the first round-up, a familiar name returns to the F1 fold, plus a whole lot more…

Formula 1

  • After leaving his role as Sky’s Head of Formula 1 in 2017, Martin Turner is back in the F1 fold. Turner is supporting F1 with their new digital programming, including the Weekend Debrief, which Ted Kravitz presents. Both Turner and Sky’s current Head of F1 Scott Young are involved in the production of the show, in a collaboration between F1 and Sky.
  • Formula 1 continues to tweak the format of the post-session ‘interview pen’ for broadcasters. During the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, each ‘group’ could ask each driver one question post-qualifying, with up to three minutes allocated post-race, although I understand that the situation is fluid depending on the race in question.
  • Alex Jacques and Davide Valsecchi’s voices will be on show in the upcoming F1 2019 video game. As in real life, the two lend their dulcet tones to the Formula Two action, which makes its debut in the gaming series.
  • The Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw Max Chilton partner Jolyon Palmer in the BBC 5 Live booth for practice and qualifying. Two weeks later for Barcelona, Tom Gaymor was alongside Palmer on Friday, with Marc Priestley joining him on Saturday.
    • An unusual set of teams, 5 Live’s coverage for both races was based back in the UK, with only Jennie Gow on site. With Jack Nicholls on Formula E duty, 5 Live’s commentary often this year is coming off-tube from the UK.
  • Formula 1 has adjusted the pricing for their over-the-top platform. The premium tier, F1 TV Pro, has had its price reduced from $99.99 to $79.99, or roughly equivalent depending on territory. Formula 1 has yet to give an official reason as to why, although the service experienced problems during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend. Speaking to journalists in Spain, Chase Carey said that it may take ‘another year’ to iron the bugs out of F1 TV.
  • In a change for 2019, selected journalists and outlets can now film content from inside the F1 paddock. The likes of Motorsport Network and Peter Windsor are already taking advantage of the change. However, there are restrictions in place, so that journalists are not treading on the toes of television broadcasters.
  • Sky Sports have launched a YouTube channel for their Formula 1 coverage. As a general rule, anything filmed outside of the race track has unrestricted worldwide access, such as this piece with Sebastian Vettel and Martin Brundle (currently at 97,000 views), however anything filmed inside the circuit, such as this Behind the Scenes feature with McLaren (currently at 10,000 views) is geo-blocked to UK only.
  • Both Porsche Supercup and Formula Three launched their 2019 campaigns in Barcelona, with updated graphics sets. With large fields, the graphics did not offer as much capability as the Formula 1 and Two sets. Nevertheless, Formula Three’s coverage saw the addition of team radio for the first time at that level.

Formula E

  • The Gadget Show’s Georgie Barrat will be part of Formula E’s television team for the remainder of the season, substituting for Nicki Shields who is on maternity. Barrat made her debut with the team in Monaco, although she has been inside the Formula E paddock before, filming a special edition of The Gadget Show during the 2017 Hong Kong E-Prix.
  • As with Formula 1, TMC directed the Monaco E-Prix last weekend, with Aurora Media Worldwide having a smaller on-site presence than usual.
  • Fans of Formula E can now race against their favourite drivers in real-time, as Virtually Live Ghost Racing is now available to download for free on iOS and Android.
    • The game re-creates every Formula E circuit, also doubling up as a second-screen experience, allowing fans to also ride on-board with their favourite drivers. Ben Constanduros and Chris McCarthy share the commentary duties throughout the season.

W Series

  • The news that W Series may become part of the F1 support bill next year in some capacity raises the question of which UK broadcaster would air the series if that scenario came to fruition.
    • Sky airs F1 exclusively live (for every race bar Britain), and may have some say as to whether Channel 4 can show W Series live, if it is part of the F1 under-card.
    • Porsche Supercup’s contract with Formula 1 expires at the end of 2019, which may open an opportunity for W Series.
  • Whisper Films, who produces the World Feed, noted in the run-up to the first round in Hockenheim that half of their “production crew for the 4 May will be female.”
    • Insiders pointed out to this site that many people working on the production were freelance and male, and are unlikely included in Whisper’s headcount.
    • picture of the on-site Channel 4 crew from F1’s Australian Grand Prix (also a Whisper production) highlights the gender imbalance. This is an industry problem as opposed to a Whisper-only problem, but writing statistics that are factually inaccurate will not make the problem disappear.
  • UK viewers will have access to live coverage of qualifying from Zolder onwards. Coverage from Hockenheim was geo-blocked for UK fans, but series organisers have confirmed that fans will be able to watch qualifying across Facebook and Twitter moving forward.
  • More than a week after the first event has concluded, and W Series have yet to upload highlights of the race to YouTube.
  • Prior to the inaugural race, organisers announced that Pitch International will “sell rights to broadcast W Series around the world” outside of the UK. As of writing, series organisers have yet to announce further rights details post-Hockenheim.

Elsewhere

  • Motorsport Network’s over-the-top platform has grabbed live coverage of the Japanese Super GT series. The championship, which features the likes of Jenson Button, initially opted not to pursue an English language live stream for 2019. Super GT in recent years has gained a cult following through NISMO TV’s YouTube stream, a deal which ended following the 2018 season. Instead, the series will air worldwide on Motorsport Network’s portfolio of outlets.
  • A bout of prolonged sickness has left BT Sport’s MotoGP presenter Suzi Perry on the side-lines in recent races. The existing BT team have helped cover the gap, whilst three-time British Superbike champion Niall Mackenzie joined the crew last time out.
  • The UK arm of the TCR Series will not air live in 2019. Instead, highlights of the series will air across the Fast Zone programme on Sky Sports, as well as Motorsport.tv, Front Runner and YouTube.

Spotted anything worth reporting? Drop a line in the comments section below.

Scheduling: The 2019 Chinese Grand Prix / Rome E-Prix

Formula 1 heads to China for not only round three of the 2019 season, but also for the 1,000 F1 race in history (at least, according to the official statistics).

The race airs across Sky’s F1 channel, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One, with highlights following on Channel 4 later in the day. The expectation is that this is the last race for the moment that Sky are simulcasting on Sky One.

As in Bahrain two weeks ago, Nico Rosberg will be with Sky’s F1 team for the Shanghai race weekend. Joining Rosberg, and the rest of the Sky Sports F1 team for the first time in 2019 is Ted Kravitz.

As exclusively revealed by this site prior to the start of the season, Kravitz fell out of favour within the Sky ranks during the latter half of 2018, but a decision to axe him from their F1 coverage was overturned. China will be the first of 13 rounds, not 14 as previously reported, for Kravitz with Sky this year alongside his F1 TV commitments.

Sky’s programming slate is like Australia and Bahrain, with no sign of Ted’s Notebook as expected. One late addition to the schedule is Race to the Equator, which follows United Autosports’ quest to win the Asian Le Mans Series.

Elsewhere, a congested sporting schedule on both the BBC and BT Sport has left the Rome E-Prix with the short straw. Gymnastics and Final Score, crossing both BBC One and the Red Button, means that the electric series will air live on Connected TV and online, with delayed coverage following on the Red Button.

BT’s schedule of football, MotoGP, rugby, and the Indian Premier League cricket series also means that both the Formula E and Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy races air behind BT’s Red Button.

The congested schedule may explain why Formula E’s deal with Quest had the provision for live action from the outset, as that is where the race, as well as Paris in two weeks’ time, turns up on.

The clash between Formula E and Formula 1 means that Jack Nicholls is not commentating on the BBC F1’s coverage of practice or qualifying, with Alex Jacques substituting in his absence.

Inside the motor sport arena, MotoGP, IndyCar, and World Superbikes are amongst the other championships competing for attention across the weekend.

Channel 4 F1
13/04 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Qualifying Highlights
14/04 – 15:00 to 17:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
12/04 – 02:45 to 04:45 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
12/04 – 06:45 to 08:45 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
13/04 – 03:45 to 05:30
=> 03:45 – Practice 3
=> 05:10 – Paddock Walkabout
13/04 – 06:00 to 08:30 – Qualifying (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 06:00 – Pre-Show
=> 06:55 – Qualifying
14/04 – 05:30 to 10:30 – Race
=> 05:30 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 06:30 – On the Grid (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 07:05 – Race (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 09:00 – Paddock Live (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 10:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
09/04 – 19:30 to 20:00 – The Championship Begins
09/04 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Race to the Equator
11/04 – 07:00 to 07:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference (also Sky Sports Main Event)
11/04 – 10:00 to 10:30 – Welcome to the Weekend (also Sky Sports Main Event)
12/04 – 09:00 to 09:30 – The Story so Far (also Sky Sports Main Event)
13/04 – 08:30 to 09:00 – The F1 Show (also Sky Sports Main Event)
17/04 – 18:00 to 18:30 – F1 Weekend Debrief

BBC Radio F1
11/04 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
12/04 – 02:55 to 04:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12/04 – 06:55 to 08:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/04 – 03:55 to 05:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/04 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/04 – 07:00 to 09:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Austin (BT Sport 2)
12/04 – 14:45 to 22:15 – Practice 1 and 2
13/04 – 15:00 to 22:15
=> 15:00 – Practice 3
=> 18:00 – Qualifying
14/04 – 14:30 to 22:00
=> 14:30 – Warm Ups
=> 16:15 – Moto3
=> 18:00 – Moto2
=> 19:30 – MotoGP
=> 21:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Austin (Quest)
15/04 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Formula E – Rome
Shakedown, Practice and Qualifying also air live on YouTube…
12/04 – 14:45 to 15:30 – Shakedown (BT Sport/ESPN)
13/04 – 06:15 to 07:30 – Practice 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
13/04 – 08:45 to 09:45 – Practice 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)
13/04 – 10:30 to 12:00 – Qualifying (BT Sport Extra 2 and Eurosport 2)
13/04 – 14:30 to 16:30 – Race: World Feed
=> live on BBC’s website and Connected TV
=> live on Quest
=> live on BT Sport Extra 2
=> live on Eurosport 2
13/04 – 14:30 to 16:10 – Race: Voltage (YouTube)
13/04 – 17:30 to 19:30 – Race: World Feed Delayed (BBC Red Button)

IndyCar Series – Long Beach (Sky Sports F1)
13/04 – 19:45 to 21:30 – Qualifying
14/04 – 21:00 to 00:00 – Race

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Series – Rome
13/04 – 07:30 to 08:15 – Qualifying (BT Sport/ESPN)
13/04 – 12:45 to 13:45 – Race (BT Sport Extra 2)

Virgin Australia Supercars – Phillip Island (BT Sport 2)
13/04 – 06:15 to 08:00 – Race 1
14/04 – 04:30 to 06:30 – Race 2

World Superbikes – Assen
12/04 – 09:25 onwards (Eurosport 2)
=> 09:25 to 10:25 – SBK: Practice 1
=> 13:55 to 14:55 – SBK: Practice 2
=> 14:55 to 15:55 – SSP: Practice 2
13/04 – 09:30 to 14:15 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
14/04 – 09:30 to 15:15 – Support and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
18/04 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

The schedule will be updated if listings change.

Update on April 7th – Sky’s EPG has updated to cover the Chinese Grand Prix, and with it contains a 30-minute post-race show following Paddock Live called ‘Notebook’. Sounds familiar. I do not know if Kravitz is presenting the new Notebook, but will work to confirm.

Elsewhere, Race to the Equator will now premiere on Tuesday 9th April, not yesterday as mentioned previously.

Update on April 8th – It is indeed Kravitz presenting the new Notebook. Article online here.

Update on April 9th – A third update, the inclusion of ‘The Championship Begins’, an edit of the 1950 British Grand Prix airing tonight at 19:30 on Sky Sports F1.

Scheduling: The 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix / Argentine MotoGP

From Australia, Formula 1 heads onto Bahrain, for the second round of the 2019 season.

2016 Drivers’ Champion Nico Rosberg and Anthony Davidson join Sky Sports F1 for the first time this year. As announced during Melbourne, Ted Kravitz returns to their weekend coverage in China. Sky are again airing the race across both their F1 channel and their general entertainment outlet Sky One.

The Grand Prix faces tough competition, as qualifying on Saturday starts at the same time as the 15:00 football matches, whilst the race goes head-to-head with Liverpool versus Tottenham, a match that could prove pivotal in the Premier League title race.

Channel 4’s highlights air later in the evening, the race programme starting at 21:00, with Billy Monger providing analysis alongside David Coulthard and Steve Jones.

Excluding adverts, the length of the highlights show is not too dissimilar to the BBC highlights show for Bahrain. From 2012 to 2014, the BBC’s three race day shows lasted 80, 95 and 90 minutes respectively, although the amount of action in Channel 4’s show this Sunday will be shorter than BBC’s previous efforts.

Elsewhere, in the Sky Sports F1 schedule, Natalie Pinkham’s pre-season interview with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo gets a 30-minute run-out at various points in the build-up to Bahrain, whilst the Formula Two series returns for a new season.

Further west, Argentina plays host to round two of the MotoGP season, and the World Rally Championship heads to France for the Tour de Corse.

NOTE: Clocks go forward one hour on Sunday 31st March, with the change from Greenwich Mean Time to British Summer Time. The times listed are for GMT on Saturday and before; BST for Sunday and afterwards…

Channel 4 F1
30/03 – 19:00 to 20:30 – Qualifying Highlights
31/03 – 21:00 to 23:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
29/03 – 10:45 to 12:45 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
29/03 – 14:45 to 16:45 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
30/03 – 11:45 to 13:30
=> 11:45 – Practice 3
=> 13:10 – Paddock Walkabout
30/03 – 14:00 to 16:30 – Qualifying (also Sky One)
=> 14:00 – Pre-Show
=> 14:55 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
31/03 – 14:30 to 19:00 – Race (also Sky One)
=> 14:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 15:30 – On the Grid
=> 16:05 – Race
=> 18:00 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
28/03 – 15:00 to 15:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
28/03 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
30/03 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The F1 Show (also Sky Sports Main Event)
03/04 – 18:30 to 19:00 – F1 Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
28/03 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
29/03 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/03 – 15:00 to 16:30 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
31/03 – 16:00 to 18:10 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

MotoGP – Argentina (BT Sport 2)
29/03 – 11:45 to 19:00 – Practice 1 and 2
30/03 – 12:00 to 19:00
=> 12:00 – Practice 3
=> 15:00 – Qualifying
31/03 – 13:30 to 21:00
=> 13:30 – Warm Ups
=> 15:15 – Moto3
=> 17:00 – Moto2
=> 18:30 – MotoGP
=> 20:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Argentina (Quest)
01/04 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Formula Two – Bahrain (Sky Sports F1)
29/03 – 08:25 to 09:20 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
29/03 – 13:45 to 14:20 – Qualifying
30/03 – 10:00 to 11:20 – Race 1
31/03 – 12:05 to 13:10 – Race 2

World Rally Championship – Tour de Corse (All Live – BT Sport Extra 1)
Every stage also live via WRCPlus.com
29/03 – 07:00 to 18:45 – Stages 1 to 6
30/03 – 06:00 to 17:30 – Stages 7 to 12
31/03 – 08:00 to 12:45 – Stages 13 and 14

World Rally Championship – Tour de Corse
29/03 – 21:45 to 22:15 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
30/03 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Stage 11 (BT Sport/ESPN)
31/03 – 22:30 to 23:00 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
31/03 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Stage 14 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 2)
31/03 – 19:00 to 19:30 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
01/04 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (5Spike)

This post will be amended if anything changes.

Hong Kong E-Prix peaks with 355,000 viewers on BBC Two

A packed weekend of motor sport to kick start the traditional season saw Formula E lead the way on its BBC Two debut, overnight viewing figures show.

Formula E makes BBC Two debut
As part of their commitment to air one race on linear television, BBC aired the Hong Kong E-Prix live on BBC Two this past weekend. The race brought in a solid audience, according to audience numbers supplied by Overnights.tv.

An average of 229k (4.6%) tuned into the broadcast from 07:30 to 09:30. Sunday’s audience is an improvement on the last two seasons for Hong Kong, when the race aired on tape-delay on Channel 5.

In a positive sign, the BBC’s race coverage saw consistent growth throughout the broadcast, increasing its audience in most of the five-minute segments between 07:35 and 09:05. The race peaked with 355k (6.5%) at 09:00 as the race concluded.

It is Formula E’s highest UK audience for an Asian-based race since their first ever E-Prix in 2014. Back then, live coverage of the Beijing E-Prix on ITV4 averaged 266k (4.7%) and peaked with 477k (6.8%).

BT Sport and Eurosport make negligible difference to the overall picture, averaging 5k (0.10%) and 8k (0.16%) respectively, if anything showing the importance of free-to-air for Formula E.

For me, Formula E’s audience is solid, whether it is enough to convince the BBC to move the series off the Red Button for the latter half of the season, I do not know. If the peak was nearer to 500,000 viewers, I think the decision may be easier, that is if there is even a discussion here.

Last weekend’s race was Formula E’s first on a mainstream television channel since June last year, so expectations from a viewing figures perspective are lower as a result. With a bit of promotion, a European race could peak at around 800,000 viewers on BBC One, potentially. Time will tell if the BBC genuinely considers that a viable option this season.

MotoGP’s return peaks with 249,000 viewers on BT
A new season of MotoGP kicked off on BT Sport 2 with the Qatar GP. The leading bike series was unaffected by tough football opposition on Sky.

The race brought in an audience similar to previous years. The 90-minute MotoGP slot averaged 190k (1.3%) from 16:30 to 18:00, a slight decrease on last year’s figure of 211k (1.5%), but an increase on the 2014 and 2017 averages.

A peak of 249k (1.6%) watched as Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso went wheel-to-wheel over the finish line for the second year running. The peak audience is in-line with the past two years, which peaked with 247k (1.3%) and 255k (1.9%) respectively.

Free-to-air highlights of the championship moved from Channel 5 to Quest, with the audience dropping significantly year-on-year. Quest aired two highlights shows at 18:00 and 23:00 respectively. Their premiere airing averaged 140k (0.9%), with the repeat bringing in 50k (0.8%).

The combined Quest audience of 190k is down 58 percent on Channel 5’s highlights audience for Qatar last season of 456k (2.5%). It is lower than all bar three MotoGP races on either ITV4 or Channel 5 since the highlights arrangement started in 2014.

Cumulatively, the drop for the highlights airing meant that MotoGP peaked with 513,000 viewers in the UK over the weekend, when accounting for BT’s live airing and Quest’s two repeats, a disappointing number for the championship.

As with all the figures in this piece, on demand platforms such as BT Sport’s online services and MotoGP’s VideoPass over-the-top offering are not included, which may make a small difference to the total MotoGP numbers.

IndyCar struggles on Sky return as St Pete opener plagued by technical issues
It was not a good Sunday for IndyCar, on all fronts. The series returned for a new season in St Petersburg, and with it came a change of channel for UK viewers, as the championship moved from BT Sport to Sky Sports F1.

Viewing figures struggled, with the race averaging 19k (0.11%) from 16:30 to 20:30, a decrease on last year’s BT audience of 25k (0.16%) over a shorter 200-minute time slot. Sky’s coverage peaked with 56k (0.32%) at 18:40 on Sunday, compared with 56k (0.38%) one year ago on BT.

The season opener faced MotoGP on BT and Premier League football on Sky, which may have impacted figures. Last month, F1 testing brought in a higher audience than IndyCar managed, although testing aired across the F1 channel and Main Event.

Considering the buzz when the IndyCar deal was first announced, Sky’s audience is disappointing. IndyCar, from a UK perspective, failed to move the needle outside of the Twitter bubble. However, IndyCar could benefit from cross-promotion during Sky’s main F1 coverage this year, so the picture could change as the season progresses.

The problems with Sky’s IndyCar broadcast may not have helped audience figures, although I doubt it caused a significant dent given the low base to start with.

IndyCar produces two feeds: a domestic feed for NBC, and an international feed. The feeds contain different graphics set, whilst the former is also not a continuous feed of the racing action. For St Pete, Sky aired the domestic feed ‘as-is’, breaking away to their own commercials when NBC in America went to adverts or went ‘side-by-side’.

What this meant was a downgrade on coverage offered by BT Sport in previous years. It was expected that Sky would take some commercials (@IndyCarUK understands four ad-breaks), but also utilise the feed to stay on the action for most of the race outside of yellow flag periods.

Whether Sky were unaware that the domestic feed was going to break away from the action or not is unclear. Either way, the communication between Sky Sports, NBC Sports and IndyCar needs to be clearer ready for Austin in two weeks’ time.

In a separate issue, IndyCar’s broadcast lost pictures completely for around 15 minutes on Sunday, affecting both the domestic NBC feed and the international feed. IndyStar Sports writer Jim Ayello reports that there was “a power supply failure to one of IMS Productions’ up-links due to two amplifiers overheating,” which caused the feed to go down.

overnights.tv-bannersF1