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MotoGP to change TV tactics?
2 May 2013
Reports that BT Vision may take over the UK TV rights for MotoGP illustrates just how much the broadcasting landscape has changed in recent years.
In 2008, Dorna shocked British viewers by announcing that digital channel Eurosport was to lose its long-held MotoGP TV deal, with the BBC being granted exclusive rights.
"The decision is part of Dorna's new strategy of working with national network broadcasters around Europe, always focusing first and foremost on free-to-air coverage to bring MotoGP to wider audiences,” said the 2008 Dorna/Eurosport statement.
An agreement was later reached, which continues in 2013, whereby both the BBC and British Eurosport can show most of the live grand prix weekend coverage. However UK footage of the main MotoGP race can only be seen live on the BBC.
But with BT Vision requiring a subscription for sporting events Dorna's free-to-air strategy of 2008 could be long gone.
Should the BT deal materilise, it seems unlikely that another subscription service (Eurosport) would also be allowed to broadcast live MotoGP in the UK. Meanwhile the best the BBC could probably hope for is an F1-type situation, where the BBC show around half of the races live and the rest as highlights.
The BBC took over the UK's free-to-air MotoGP coverage from Channel 5 in 2003. Former BBC F1 commentator Jake Humphrey has moved to BT Vision to headline its Premier League football coverage, due to launch in August.