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.

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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.

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.