World Superbikes will be easier to watch for fans around the world this year. The World Superbike series has announced that it is to make an online video pass available to fans this season, making it possible to watch WSBK races live on the WorldSBK.com website, or rewatch them at leisure. The update comes as part of revamping of the series website, bringing it closer inline to the MotoGP.com website, now that the series is firmly in Dorna's hands.
The influence of Dorna is clear in the WorldSBK.com redesign. The layout has been adapted to echo the structure of the MotoGP.com website, and the video player is now identical to the one used on the MotoGP.com website. Using a single player, and Dorna's existing video infrastructue is what has made it possible for the World Superbike series to offer the online video streaming of races and archive of past videos. Though the announcement on the WorldSBK.com website is light on details, it promises live coverage of every weekend, including streaming of races, interviews with riders and 'exclusive video content'. It will likely feature a similar service to that of MotoGP.com video subscribers, which includes an extremely comprehensive archive.
Two questions remain unanswered: what will the video pass cost, and where will it be available? The answer to the first question is completely unknown at the moment, though WorldSBK.com will have to make an announcement fairly shortly. It seems unlikely that it will be set at the same level as the MotoGP.com video pass (€99.95 for the standard pass), given that the level of interest in WSBK is not the same as MotoGP. However, Dorna's past record on streaming video suggests that it will not be cheap.
Availability is also uncertain. The WorldSBK.com website only mentions that the service will not be available in all countries. Previously, World Superbikes representatives have explained that online streaming video was made complicated due to existing contracts with TV broadcasters, many of whom have also secured the rights to stream the video live on their websites. With Dorna's streaming infrastructure in place, streaming video is being handled differently as contracts come up for renewal. Such existing contracts mean that streaming video is unlikely to be available inside Europe, as Eurosport has its own online streaming package showing World Superbikes via the Eurosport Player. However, enquiries by the estimable Asphalt & Rubber website indicate that the pass will be available for fans in the US and Canada. More details will surely be announced soon, via the World Superbikes website.
US World Superbike fans will also be able to watch the series on TV. At least, they will if they have access to the oddly-capitalized beIN SPORTS channel in their cable package. Just as it did last year, the channel will be showing every World Superbike race live, both on TV and via their beIN SPORTS PLAY mobile app. Whether the races will be streamed on the beIN SPORTS website is as yet unclear.