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.