Speed / Fox Sports 1 To Broadcast MotoGP Live In 2013

Good news for US motorcycle racing fans at last. After it was announced that the US TV channel Speed was to be subsumed into the Fox Sports 1 network, and Fox decided to drop Formula One, there were fears that MotoGP would not be screened on US TV. Those fears were further fanned when it appeared that World Superbikes would not be on US TV, an issue that was only resolved in a last-minute deal between Dorna and beIN Sports TV.

MotoGP fans need not worry, however. Today, Fox announced that they have signed a multi-year contract with Dorna to broadcast MotoGP on Speed, and then Fox Sports 1, when the new sports channel is launched on 17th August, the day before the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit. All MotoGP races are to be broadcast live on the network, with the rounds outside the US using the international commentary feed of Nick Harris and Gavin Emmett1, while the three US rounds will see a US-based team provide coverage, with veteran racing broadcaster Bob Varsha hosting, and Ralph Sheheen, Jonathan Green, Scott Russel and Greg White supplying commentary both from the booth and from pit lane.

Below is the press release from Dorna announcing the deal, and a second press release from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with more details on the agreement:

MotoGP™ signs a multiyear contract deal with FOX SPORTS

FOX Sports has signed a multiyear deal with Dorna Sports for broadcast rights to the world’s most prestigious motorcycle racing series, the MotoGP™ World Championship, with races to air on SPEED and the newly announced, multisport FOX Sports 1 in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

MotoGP, with three events in the U.S. in 2013, is highlighted during the high-profile FOX Sports 1 August launch weekend, with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix scheduled for August 18 as one of the first live events on the new network.

“With an international event lineup that includes three U.S. stops, MotoGP brings an immediate world class motor sports presence to the FOX Sports 1 lineup,” said Bill Wanger, EVP Programming & Research for FOX Sports. “Having the race from iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway fall on our FS1 launch weekend is a bonus, and one of which we plan to take full advantage.”

“We're very proud of this new agreement with Fox Sports and we are looking forward to being part of this huge project that is Fox Sports 1. Through this agreement, MotoGP will continue to be watched by our extensive American fan base, via the Speed channel until August and from then on, via the new Fox Sports 1 channel. Our 15 year partnership is arriving now to a very exciting MotoGP season with 3 GP’s on U.S. soil and the promise of some thrilling action on track. We will deliver the very highest standard of TV coverage of the Championship, using the latest production technologies, which is what our fans in the U.S. and around the world and also our Global media partners like the Fox Sports Group, deserve” declared Manel Arroyo, Managing Director of the Media Area at Dorna.

The season opens April 7 on SPEED with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar. Other U.S. highlights include the second event of the season, the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas inaugural series event at newly built Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on April 21 and a return to Laguna Seca for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on July 21. Coverage from Austin includes qualifying on April 20 at 9 p.m. ET; race coverage, including pre-race activities begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on April 21. On-board camera access is available on SPEED.com for all U.S. rounds, with qualifying practice sessions on SPEED2.

The new deal, continuing a successful relationship that began on SPEED in 1997, when the series was known as the FIM World GP 500, also includes coverage of Moto2™ and Moto3™, as well as expanded digital rights.


New multisport network to feature Red Bull Indianapolis GP during launch

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, March 25, 2013 - FOX Sports has signed a multiyear deal with Dorna Sports for broadcast rights to the world's most prestigious motorcycle racing series, the MotoGP World Championship, with races to air on SPEED and the newly announced, multisport FOX Sports 1 in 2013.

The Red Bull Indianapolis GP, Aug. 16-18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be one of the first live events on the new FOX Sports 1 network.

"With an international event lineup that includes three U.S. stops, MotoGP brings an immediate, world-class motorsports presence to the FOX Sports 1 lineup," said Bill Wanger, EVP programming & research for FOX Sports. "Having the race from iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway fall on our FS1 launch weekend is a bonus, and one of which we plan to take full advantage."

Every MotoGP race will be broadcast live on SPEED until August, when coverage will move to the new FOX Sports 1 starting with the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. Moto2 and Moto 3 races also will be televised on a delayed basis. Qualifying will be available on SPEED2, the authenticated broadband network.

Expanded digital rights also will bring on-board camera to SPEED.com for all U.S. rounds, with qualifying practice sessions on SPEED2.

Two experienced broadcast teams will cover the action.

For the three U.S. rounds, including the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, Bob Varsha hosts; Ralph Sheheen and Jonathan Green split play-by-play duties; Scott Russell provides analysis; and Greg White reports from the pits.

The team of Gavin Emmett and Nick Harris call international races, with Varsha, Sheheen, Greg Creamer and Dave Despain sharing the role of studio host.

American riders have won more premier-class MotoGP World Championships since 1978 than competitors from any other nation.

Three Americans will compete in MotoGP this season: 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, with the Ducati Team; Ben Spies, with the Ignite Pramac Racing Team; and Colin Edwards, with NGM Mobile Forward Racing. Only Spain and Italy boast more riders on the MotoGP grid this season than the United States.


2013 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2013 Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP event. Visit www.ims.com/tickets, call (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 or visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.

Information on camping at IMS during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP is available at www.ims.com/tickets. Hotel package information can be found at visitindy.com/redbullhotels.

1 And to answer a question I get asked a lot, no, I am not related to Gavin, despite having the same last name.

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this is epic news! The Speed coverage was just laughable (though I'm not sure this will be much better) but at least I'll get to catch the races, well when I don't watch them online.
My only gripe is I wish it was Nick and Gavin for the US rounds, love those guys

plus I found out that you two aren't related, and that has been plaguing me for some time now

While I am happy MGP/Dorna/Fox have come to terms, a few thoughts to ensure a good new-viewer experience:
1. Who is going to show Ralph the correct way to sit on a motorcycle before the race? Does he even know how to wear a helmet? Is he the guy America wants anywhere near our sport when we are searching for cross-over fans? he is hardly credible techincally and the way he butchers European names is like nails on a chalkboard. Why not get Schwantz to call The race? Once Blake is on track he can't help him anyway.

2. I hope promoters do their job and pack the stands and that Speed/Fox do a decent job marketing this from their end. That the Indy race coincides with Fox Sports 1 re-launch is a little worrying for a few reasons and please note, I am not complaining, but worrying that a broader fan base is not going to see MotoGP's best foot forwards. What worries me is:
A. anemic racing due to poor track surface
B. single race line with limited passing and narrow infield course mean no Laguna or Catalunya like races for new viewers
C. enormous venue is difficult to make look packed - it holds 400,000 people so even 100,000 turnout looks 75% empty. Viewers may say, shit, no one is there, why should I watch?

3. PLEASE DO NOT PRODUCE A 30 LAP SPRINT RACE LIKE A 6 HOUR NASCAR EVENT. THIS MEANS NO PIT LANE INTERVIEWS AND EXTENDED GARAGE SHOTS WHILE THE RACE IS ON. Please, try to limit commercials and, pretty, pretty, please, don't put anyone in the Flame Retardant suits with the NASCAR earphones and 3 foot antenna. It looks ridiculous.

Too bad Laguna (or dare I say COTA) isn't the venue for the sport to be re-introduced to a broader audience.

... for speaking the truth about Ralph Sheheen. The guy talks like he's the narrator of a personal hygiene film for first graders. He is genuinely the worst announcer I've ever heard. I give him credit for not having a lisp ( which is, frankly, rampant and annoying in TV presenters these days), but aside from that... he's such a total EMBARRASSMENT. Like, SERIOUSLY.

"Fox Sports 1" doesn't sound very motor-related. I hope they stay centered around motorsports, albeit with less than the customary 8 hours a day of NASCAR reruns. I SO TOTALLY want America to finally "get it" when it comes to motorsports.

Here's hoping...

Except for Sheheen. Dump that guy, like YESTERDAY.

p.s. Am I the only person who cringes when Jonathan Green screams and yells? At least he has Steve Martin to balance him out and correct his more ridiculous remarks...

Laguna doesn't offer drastically better racing than Indy and doesn't have Moto2 or Moto3. Drastically limits the amount of coverage they can have for the event. Besides, if you want non-fans to get interested in the sport you need to see some guys get thrown over the handlebars. I'm not sure if I'm being sarcastic about that or not.

Epic news? I have to disagree there. Based on the wording in the announcement I get the distinct feeling that what we'll actually get is the same garbage we got from speed. Or worse.

Sheheen? Really? Is he the best this country has to offer in motorcycle commentary? And Russell doing the "analysis"? Look, I was a huge Scott Russell fan when he was a rider. As an announcer he's not brilliant. Greg White? Why is he just doing pit lane? I'm no fan, but he's the most credible announcer on the list.

As for Schwantz doing the announcing......I heard him do the call for CBS at Laguna one year. Lets just say, he was a great rider, and I was a huge fan.....but best leave the announcing to those with the talent to announce.

The online subscription to MotoGP dot com looks more and more like the way to go. I hate to pay out that kind of money but honestly, not having to listen to the US announcing team is worth the price of admission. Also, not having the channel cut away to some insignificant NASCAR event before the last lap is even run is another plus. No commercials. Full practice and qualifying. Live Moto2 and Moto3 along with MotoGP....geez...what am I waiting for already.

Epic? I think not. I think it'll be more of the same ol' same ol' rather than any improvement on what speed brought to the table. Just being on another channel besides speed is an improvement though not nearly improvement enough.

I meant EPIC in the sense the the US will actually have TV coverage. Epic in the sense there is actually a US network willing to show the races. Sorry if my excitement is misguided...

So Speed will cover all of the MotoGP rounds until Fox Sports 1 launches. Does anyone know if that means those of us who currently get Speed will automatically get FS1?

I believe we will all get it as part of the package and will show up automatically. Kind of like how th old Versus is ow NBC's dedicated sports channel.

is to hear Toby and Julian doing the races. Oh well, Racing For Me downloads will have to do. Unfortunately it means I cant read Davids excellent recaps of race until a day or so after.

Putting your email address on a relatively popular website is a really, really good way to receive a lot of spam... Automated programs go looking for email addresses on websites and send spam to them. Ask me how I know....

Anybody watch the WSBK race from PI? TOTAL coverage, with pit shots, bikes leaving for the grid, etc. Are we going to get that with this coverage? I doubt it. I don't get why they cover the sport in the manner they do. I'm glad a contract is finally signed, but.....

Some people would complain about the weight if you gave them a bag of gold.

Isn't delivering the gold I promise not to complain.
On a serious note, given I had first comment, I was not complaining only expressing what I see to be valid concerns about Fox Sports coordinating their launch around a venue the fast majority of MGP fans think shouldn't be on the calendar. The things I listed are real obstacles to a new fan falling in love with the sport.

I bought the video pass last year '12 (and again this year--'13) I dvr'd the MotoGP broadcasts from Speed and ended up deleting them and watching the races on my computer (No-Spoiler=Yay!) as the quality of the HD was better and not hacked to pieces by Speed. I'll pay the $130 for the pass from now on and get 10 times the coverage--- that said, ahem, I'm glad they are broadcasting it. I just won't be watching it-- ok maybe just the US races to criticize the US commentators. ;-)

I dont mind Russel's input during the Race,But he has limited knowledge of MotoGP racing(Hes a superbike Guy) Wayne Rainey would be my personal pick,Well spoken and still somewhat involved in MotoGP....And arguably America's Greatest GP champion,Laguna is in his back yard!!!

When was the last time anyone of us saw a commercial for a motorcycle race? Taken to the extreme... Imagine if Speed/Dorna put just one itsy bitsy 30 second commercial during the Superbowl. That investment (which I know isn't cheap) would eeeasily bring in thousands of fans.

Or, once a week, put a commercial on Comedy Central during primetime... get the younger kids (16-25yo's) attention, wow them with some super slides and wheelies. Kids love that stuff, who wouldn't, and bring them over. But the kids don't even know it's there!!

Instead they hide away one of the most exciting visual sports in the world? Not very smart business.

PS. my vote for main commentator duo is Jason Pridmore and Greg White. Jason is just great, and obviously super knowledgeable, and Greg White is the less of all other evils that is Speed moto announcing.