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Official: MotoGP to BT Sport in new UK TV deal
9 May 2013
Live UK coverage of the MotoGP World Championship will switch to BT Sport from the start of next season.
An exclusive five-year deal for BT's soon-to-launch sports channels was confirmed during a presentation in London on Thursday morning.
"We're proud that MotoGP will be part of such a huge and exciting project as BT Sport," said Manel Arroyo, managing director of MotoGP's commercial rights holder Dorna Sports.
"I'm sure that BT Sport will provide the in-depth coverage that MotoGP deserves and in turn MotoGP will provide the sporting drama and excitement to help launch BT Sport as a major player in the TV market."
While the exclusive nature of the deal spells the end of the BBC (free to air) and British Eurosport (subscription) live coverage, it was soothed by the surprise news that all three BT Sport channels - BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN - will be available free of charge to BT Broadband customers.
"UK Sports fans have had a rough deal for too long," said BT chief executive Ian Livingston. "Many have been priced out of the market but we will change this by giving away BT Sport for free with our broadband. Sports fans are the winners today."
BT Sport will be available via BT's own TV service, on Sky's digital satellite platform and online, including through a mobile App.
The cheapest Broadband deal currently advertised by BT is £10 per month, rising to £16 for unlimited data usage. Non-BT Broadband customers will need to pay £15 a month for the BT Sport channels, which compares with £85 for a season of live video coverage on the official MotoGP website.
'MotoGP fans won't miss a minute of the action as race weekends will be covered in full starting from the free practices on the Friday and including full coverage of Moto2 and Moto3 as well as the elite category MotoGP,' read a BT Sport statement.
'Coverage will be hosted on-site with additional studio coverage from BT Sport's state of the art facilities at the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London.
'BT Sport will create an exciting second screen experience, giving fans the ability to see races from the riders' perspective and with more interactive features showing off the most technologically advanced bikes.
'This will give the UK audience a whole new MotoGP viewing experience, immersing them in every aspect of the Championship.
'The MotoGP line up will be further enhanced by additional motorcycle-related programming in between Grand Prix weekends.'
Simon Green, Head of BT Sport, said: "MotoGP is a thrilling sport with a massive and committed fan base in the UK and Ireland. We believe existing fans will be thrilled with our comprehensive coverage and how we intend to develop the MotoGP brand and think we can also help the sport win many new fans."
The BBC took over the UK's free-to-air MotoGP coverage from Channel 5 in 2003, running alongside British Eurosport's extensive satellite coverage.
The BBC was then awarded sole rights to live MotoGP from 2009 onwards, with Eurosport initially told its services were no longer required due to 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".
An agreement was later reached, which continues until the end of 2013, whereby both the BBC and British Eurosport can show live practice and qualifying for all classes, plus the Moto3 and Moto2 races. However only the BBC can broadcast the MotoGP race live.
No news has yet been given regarding BT Sport's MotoGP presenting line-up.
Matt Roberts currently anchors the BBC's MotoGP coverage alongside commentators Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish, with Azi Farni in pit lane. Eurosport's coverage is headlined by Toby Moody and Julian Ryder. It would be a shock if at least some of those names were not part of the new BT Sport team.
Britain currently has three riders in the premier MotoGP class - Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith and Michael Laverty - while Scott Redding is a leading contender for the Moto2 crown.
MotoGP joins the likes of Premier League Football and Premiership Rugby Union on the new BT Sport roster. Ex-BBC F1 frontman Jake Humphrey is to anchor BT Sport's Football coverage and was present at the MotoGP announcement, alongside Crutchlow and Redding.