In what was one of the less well kept secrets in the motorcycling world, BT Sport today unveiled its presentation and commentary team for its MotoGP coverage of the 2014 season. As had been widely rumored, main commentators will be Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder, reunited after a spell commentating on the World Superbike series back in the 1990s. Former MotoGP.com commentator Gavin Emmett will be the series' MotoGP reporter, and the threesome will be joined by Motorcycle News GP correspondent Matt Birt for the Moto2 and Moto3 sessions.
TV presenter Melanie Sykes will front the coverage, together with former World Superbike champions and MotoGP riders Neil Hodgson and James Toseland. The presentation team will be present at all of the races around the world, with coverage coming from each circuit.
BT Sport will also be hosting an hour-long show each Tuesday evening, called MotoGP Tonight. That show will be presented from BT Sport's London studios, and hosted by Craig Doyle and Iwan Thomas. The show will be a mixture of review, talk show and feature guests from the world of motorcycling. BT Sport's coverage will kick off on 18th March with a special preview show, covering preseason testing and looking ahead to 2014.
The BT Sport coverage is part of Dorna's long-term gamble on pay-per-view channels covering MotoGP. The Spanish rights holders switched away from its previous strategy of pursuing free-to-air coverage as much as possible, in order to broaden the base of the sport. However, the global trend has been for the money involved in broadcast rights from free-to-air channels to drop, as pay-per-view channels have increased their spending on sports. Dorna has also followed this route, with MotoGP moving to pay-per-view channels in Spain, Italy and the UK. They have had little choice, as Movistar, Sky and BT Sport are the only channels capable of matching or increasing the amounts paid for broadcast rights.
Like the Movistar deal in Spain, BT Sports is only available to viewers in the UK who have signed up with BT as a broadband provider, or who have purchased a separate package with Sky. The goal of the sports coverage is to help sell broadband services, and tempt customers away from rival telecoms and TV suppliers. The downside to all of the pay-per-view deals is that audiences tend to drop drastically. It is harder to attract casual viewers when the audience is limited to paying customers. However, given the extremely broad range of sports being offered by BT Sports, the chance to capture casual sports fans - as opposed to casual TV viewers - is still very much present. How successful this will be in the long term remains to be seen.
Editor's note: David Emmett also has a column on the BT Sport MotoGP website. That fact does not influence our editorial independence.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, supporting us on Patreon, by making a donation, or contributing via our GoFundMe page. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.
Wish them all the very best....
But, and it's going to be repeated ad infinitum. Melanie Sykes, she's got a LOT to prove. After all, the reason people are paying BT Sport (myself included) is to get a "purists" viewpoint on the whole Moto GP season. We all want technical viewpoints all the way. Not a "look at these really fast bikes, aren't they great".
As I say, all the very best with it BT. I hope your coverage is better than the "test coverage" they bleated on about, and then had 2 mins hastily wedged in between an hour of solid football. That was fucking poor, by anyones standards (excuse the language, but it annoyed me).
In reply to Wish them all the very best.... by pagik
A good, fresh team
It's good to read that James Toseland is going to do more commentary: I believe that he will have many interesting insights over the season and will soon get up to speed with regards commentary interjections... I don't pay for BT Sport (at the moment) so have no axe to grind...you know?
Does this mean
That Gavin emmet will not be on motogps commentary with nick Harris ,, hope he is and not some new guy
In reply to Does this mean by Rossifumi46
Gav is gone. Announcement on his twitter. Not sure who they'll bring in!
In reply to Gav by johnjaundice
I did not know that! kinda too bad, I feel like I'm the only one who loved the Gavin Emmett/Nick Harris combo, still a downer though.
I can't wait to see who FoxSports One decide to go with or maybe they'll just remove the world wide commentary all together. Which would suck seeing as how I've never liked the American commentators, none of them seem to be up to date on the happenings of the paddock and none of the analysis ever did anything for me. Maybe its cause I'm American that I just think the British commentators are so much better.
"Brilliant overtaking maneuver!"
"Marques very brave on the late braking, indeed"
"Looks like Lorenzo might 'ave a go here at turn 2, can he make it stick?!"
"Looks like he's going to go around the outside?!?! On the penultimate lap!?!"
statements like that just don't seem to carry the same weight in American English hahaha
No Toby Moody...
And what of Neil Spalding?
I've often joked that I wanted those three to commentate everything for me in daily life. I kept hoping we'd get Randy Mamola back every now and then...
In reply to No Toby Moody... by ransom
Ah yes but there is Melanie Sykes, her 'expertise' is proven by the number of pictures of her on the web in her underwear, mainly posing for UK tabloid press (yes I have looked).
Curiously, none of Julian Ryder in his underwear...
In reply to Expertise by swiftnick
I guess that's all the expertise she needs. To provide eye candy for the young males BT are hoping to attract. Even if she is a bit old and crusty these days.
I expect that it'll be pretty unbearable viewing, with her, Hodgson and Toseland waffling on ad nauseum for ages before the racing actually starts and a prolonged, needless post mortem after it's all done. Seeing as she probably won't know too much about the sport and its considerable technical intricacies, apart from maybe the fact that the bikes have two wheels with rubber tyres on them.
A sexist supposition, perhaps, but I can remember British Eurosport's attempts at this very thing for their World Superbike coverage some years ago and it didn't go well.
I can always keep the volume down for that bit, though and Huewen and Ryder should at least provide some entertaining listening during the racing. As long as that clown Gavin Emmet doesn't join in!
In reply to T*ts... by Maximilian
Give them a chance
I remember hearing Toseland commentating on the international feed for WSB while he was injured. He was in for the whole program and was the best I have heard of the racers commentating. Hodgson has plenty of experience already with WSB and BSB for Eurosport - he's alright. I have never seen Melanie Sykes on TV, but I am hoping the amount of programs she has been on bodes well for her talents.
In reply to Expertise by swiftnick
"Curiously, none of Julian
"Curiously, none of Julian Ryder in his underwear..."
I know! Sorry, you're gonna hate this but you conjured the image! Julian Ryder and Nick Frost are the hottest "Bears" in the UK... Sorry, will crawl back under my stone now...
In reply to "Curiously, none of Julian by 1050cc (not verified)
I can only apologise
To all on this site for ever conjuring the image of Julian Ryder's Y fronts.
I am actually like his commentary, and he was a really good host of the stage event at Silverstone MotoGP last year.
Still, I won't be watching BT Sport, like others here; no cable connection (rural), don't want Rupert-Sky or Dickie-the-Beard Virgin because I'm not interested in anything else they offer, and am certainly not paying for BTs empirically shite broadband service for to watch a few motorbike races over the internet.
So my only recourse is to grit my teeth and take the 'rogering' from Dorna for their media player online.
It had better be bloody good!
who'll show up on our US screens?
I hope we don't have to put up with some tosser butting in with 'previews' and 'look what happened while we were wasting your time with commercials instead of what's going on in real time' so we get to see (maybe) 2/3 of the race.
I live in (forlorn) hope that it will be different this season, but I know it won't.
We're told 'be grateful for what you get' but I'm almost, almost, ready to break down and get the MotoGP subscription this season.
In reply to I wonder by barryg
>I'm almost, almost, ready to break down and get the MotoGP subscription this season.
You won't be sorry. All three classes of racing plus a bunch of prerace coverage, plus practice and qualifying.
Live, if you want it. It's almost as if you were there.
Even if you don't watch in real time, it's still worth it IMO. After many years of SpeedTV (now Fox Sports1) I took the plunge a few years ago, and haven't regretted it. You'll ask yourself, "Now why didn't I do this earlier?"
Also, once you get in, MotoGP.com has been offering coverage of the pre-season testing as an incentive for the previous season's subscribers early renewal.
And I swear the bikes look even faster on my computer's display than on SpeedTV. Probably a trick of the eye-brain connection since I don't have Hi-Def on my TV, but another reason to make the switch...
Not allowed a satellite dish, wouldn't want Sky even I was allowed. Cable doesn't come here. BT Broadband is fine when it's working, but when it's not they are the worst, so that's out.
BT want 180 quid a year to watch 18 races and to line John Terrys pocket.
Dorna want 100 Euros to watch on-line.
Who's replacing Emmett at Dorna?
I am excited about BT's coverage
I loved the Eurosport commentary team, but their coverage was always kind of weak. This is going to be awesome.
All good things come to pass....
25 years ago, I used to get a mate to tape Bike GP's for me because I didn't have a satellite dish, looks like I'll have to ask him to record them again for me!
Must go & dig the VHS video recorder out from the loft, I hope he's still got his!
Can anyone tell me why the BT Sport channels on freeview, can't be viewed on freeview, even if you do want to pay-to-view?
I'm so bummed. I really liked
I'm so bummed. I really liked Gavin on Motogp.com. Errrr! He made the whole show a pleasure to watch.
In reply to I'm so bummed. I really liked by mid40s
Same here. I liked the
Same here. I liked the pairing of Gavin and Nick. Damnit!
I don't like the new guys commentating in motogp they seem like they don't know much on the sport past a cpl years back,, damn sucks gavin won't me commentating with nick this year hope they get someone good cause the commentators are a lot on the sport.. I really liked Gavin , damn Dorna damn you
Gary Anderson has been a
Gary Anderson has been a breadth of fresh air on F1 bbc coverage. Really like to see a proper ex-techy from the paddock, maybe retired(though not jb....and he prefers to say too little..) to give us a proper technical insight.
Turns out Mel's 7 yr old is called Valentino. A positive sign?
Just a note. BTSport is also available on Virgin cable and included as part of their XL package.
Why is the TV Schedule page on the BTSport website so damn hard to find and use?
Does this mean that Hodgson has left Eurosport and won't be working there on his MotoGP days off?
bye bye BBC
I especially liked the Steve parish coverage. He is an interesting dude. The others were alright. Charlie and Steve had good chemistry and their old British metaphors and euphemisms were hilarious for most US viewers. (I think Charlie might actually be Australian rather than British)
I enjoyed laughing at Matt Roberts 's little sailor boy outfits and seeing Cal and even Nicky make fun of him/his green pants.
I guess they were somewhat biased about the % of coverage for British riders , but it makes sense and it never bothered me.
Would be great to have an ex-racer comment with Nick on motogp.com. Even as monotone as Ben Spies voice is, it was fascinating having him in the booth with Gavin and Nick when he was out. Maybe they can get him to guest host on the US legs.
In reply to ex racer by mid40s
Agreed on Ben. I am NOT a fan of him as a racer as he snubbed the fans at Laguna often, but his ability to illustrate what is going on inside a racers mind (planning a pass, tire management, riding for a contract) adds a depth to the coverage I really enjoy.
Going to miss Gavin
Being a MotoGP.com subscriber (USA) and having Gavin and Nick as my primary guides to MotoGP for the last nine years, I am very sad to see Gavin go. Good luck to him with the new endeavor. I do wonder how MotoGP.com is positioned for the future now as Nick must be contemplating retirement in the next few years and it would be a shame to lose the depth of insight into the paddock that he and Gavin have amassed over the years. In fact, Gavin has had to correct the excitable Nick Harris several times regarding all the related racers (Espagaro,Vinales) as he bounces between Moto3/2/GP. Oh well, change is inevitable. I just hope we don't look back longingly on Gavin/Nick team like we do the 990cc era, wishing for a return to that show.