Four MotoGP Rounds To Be Broadcast By CBS And NBC This Summer

One of the biggest tasks which Dorna has set itself is the conquest of the American TV market. So far, that ambition has only met with limited, though still growing, success. Part of its problems has been that TV coverage of the races has been left to Speed TV, which is only available through cable or satellite providers, and usually involves an extra subscription charge.

In Europe, Dorna is already engaged in a process to switch from satellite broadcasters towards national broadcasters, or at least, to free-to-air terrestrial stations, as witnessed by the recent news that Dorna will not be renewing the broadcast contract with Eurosport in 2009. Dorna would like to pursue a similar policy in the US, but first, the popularity of the sport needs to grow.

To help do just this, Dorna today announced that the major US networks CBS and NBC will be broadcasting a total of 4 MotoGP rounds this year, up from 2007. In addition to the US rounds at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis, the German GP at the Sachsenring and the Czech Grand Prix at Brno will also receive coverage on the networks. CBS will be showing Laguna Seca live on July 20th at 5-6pm ET, along with hour-long same-day delayed broadcasts of the Sachsenring race on July 13th (1-2pm) and Brno on August 17th (2-3pm). NBC will broadcasting the Indy GP live on September 14th at 3-4pm ET.

The hope is that airing the series on network television will allow casual viewers to catch the series, and be captivated by the excitement of MotoGP. For their sake, and for ours, let us hope that the races don't turn into the kind of runaway wins we have seen for the last 3 races.

 

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I am happy to see that four races will be carried by the major networks again. However, while Schwantz did a good job as the color commentator, they need to have someone w/ m.c. experience doing the play-by-play of the race action. The Nascar comment made last year during the race comparing the two genres was a reach. Also, the commercial breaks seemed to be way longer than those on Speed TV. I know that they want to educate the casual viewer & try to attract more people, but they (the networks) need to strike a balance amongst the casual, 1st time viewers versus the educated motorcycle race fans. A suggestion would be to have a 1/2 hour or even a full hour intro on the history of Moto GP that talks about the great lineage of American riders who have achieved success at the highest level of motorcycle roadracing along with the great European riders & the fact that the G.O.A.T. , Valention Rossi, is currently racing. They could even talk about the AMA series as well & how, if people like what they see, to come & watch an AMA roadrace live here in the US. It is all about growing the fan base here in the U.S. of our great sport that we all want to see. If the D.M.G. wasn't so in love with itself & hellbent on being a dictatorship set upon changing the rules of American Motorcycle Roadracing rather than adopting a formula that actually works like WSBK, (did ya see the great racing from San Misano this weekend) these broadcasts are a great opportunity to see motorcycle roadracing in the U.S. have unprecedented growth.

I do believe it's nice to see MotoGP get some mainstream airtime, but I subscribe and can't watch with commercials now.  It completely ruins the experience.  Even with the slightly pixelated resolution, the event is just so much better with knowledgeable commenters and no break in the action.  Subscription is a must for the true fanatic.

 I agree that the US coverage of MotoGP has been terrible and has only hurt the series' chances of attracting a broader audience here. I can't help wondering if Dorna's mysterious decision to relieve MotoGP of Toby Moody and Julian Ryder isn't a blessing in disguise for the US market. Currently we watch the official Dorna English feed with Nick Harris in a highly edited 40 minutes plus commercials. We get hours and hours of boring F1 coverage (even Friday practice!) and even more NASCAR, which is Speed TV's bread and butter. But MotoGP is given little chance to flourish due to the limited coverage and the nature of the presentation: it is clearly intended for fans who already know what's going on in the series, who the riders are, etc. 

 

US television, whether it is SpeedTV or a major network, has a great opportunity to snatch up Toby and Julian and custom build a broadcast of MotoGP for American audiences. It might be a bit tiresome for the esteem broadcasters to help new viewers understand MotoGP, but if they could tailor their presentation a largely uneducated audience, while at the same time offering seasoned fans some of their outstanding expert commentary, MotoGP could grow considerably in one of the largest motorcycle markets in the world. 

They need to broadcast a segment in similar fashion to the movie "Faster"

Something that can introduce them to the characters of the Moto GP grid.

If they can broadcat the summer games with the greatest of ease with athletes that aren't introduced until their event then it's definately possible to introduce this to new fans.

But that said, I'm of the opinion that we will end up with same old same old--Ralph Sheheen and Fast Freddie as usual. Both lend very little to the viewing experience for different reasons. Leigh Diffey is far superior to Sheheen and way more knowledgeable about motorcycle racing. Fast Freddie is predicably dull--great rider/racer--not make one a good color man. I forget who is was that deputized for FFS at Miller (I think) one day of the AMA races, but he showed a lot of potential.

I do hope MotoGP in particular and motorcycle racing in general become more mainstream in the US, but it will never reach the level of appreciation it has attained in Europe. Folks here are too convinced that NAPCAR IS Motorsports.