Thursday, February 26, 2009

MotoGP stays on British Eurosport

There has been a huge amount of wailing and moaning in the UK about the TV coverage of MotoGP. Generally, the casual fans, and those without satellite telly, watch MotoGP on the BBC (free to everyone, great picture quality, no adverts). And generally, hardcore fans with satellite telly watch MotoGP on the British Eurosport channel (crap picture quality, loads of bloody adverts, though the channel has recently switched to 16:9 widescreen). It was announced that Eurosport had lost the rights to MotoGP and they would be shown exclusively on the Beeb (Well, MotoGP on a BBC channel and 125/250cc on the fiddly "red button" service available to anyone with some form of digital telly). However, it has now been announced that Eurosport will show the 125cc and 250cc races live, and MotoGP races will be shown delayed, later that day.

The trouble with the whole thing is that the BBC MotoGP coverage is very popular with casual fans, getting more than a million viewers per race and extremely high approval ratings amongst those who watch it. This means that the Beeb has to aim its coverage at the casual fan. The main thing about this strategy is that one of the commentators is Australian ex-car racer Charlie Cox (great bloke, shame about the constant car racing references). He gets right up the hooters of many hardcore motorbike racing fans. The rest of the BBC team is generally regarded fairly well by hardcore fans (presenter Suzi Perry, pitlane reporter Matt Roberts, and "colour commentator" Steve Parrish, an ex-bike racer and close friend of the late, great Barry Sheene).

The British Eurosport commentary team for 2009 hasn't been confirmed, but it'll probably be the same guys who have been doing it for years and have amassed legions of fans. Enormous, hairy legend Julian Ryder, small, bald Alan Partridge impressionist Toby Moody, with legendary Californian multiple 500GP runner up Randy Mamola (who endearingly speaks English like it's his 27th language, as parodied on a certain scurrilous website) reporting from the pitlane.

This news has exploded across the internet, to the delight of hardcore fans who want their British Eurosport fix, which, unlike the Beeb,  includes coverage of practise and warm-up sessions. The compromise seems pretty fair. The BBC get exclusive live MotoGP, which is broadcast with very high picture quality and no bloody advertisement breaks. Eurosport broadcast the 125 and 250cc races live, which they're very, very good at, and tape-delayed MotoGP.

This should shut up a lot of the whingeing. We'll see. Hopefully this means that Jules Ryder will still be doing his unmissable "Ryder Notes" column every race weekend's Friday, Saturday and Sunday over on


Anonymous said...


Dean in Red Wing.

Jimmy said...

That's my kind of percentage. :-)