Eurosport deal bad news for BSB?

Roger Willis gives us the latest on BSB's new partnership

Posted: 10 March 2008
by Roger Willis

Ad industry insiders are taking a rather cynical view of the new British Superbikes TV deal with Eurosport following the series being ditched by ITV1, on the basis it will result in a much smaller target audience for sponsors and advertisers.

Indeed, assertions by Jonathan Palmer, chief executive of BSB commercial rights holder MotorSport Vision, that Eurosport ‘is recognised as the logical and natural home for bike racing’ and that ‘we are in a new era in which the digital channels will be the home of virtually all sport’ don’t stand up to serious scrutiny.

During the 2006 season - the most recent for which audited viewing figures are available - ITV1’s BSB coverage attracted an average UK adult audience of 962,000 per round with a peak audience of more than 1.5 million for the cliff-hanger final leg at Brands Hatch - impressive when compared with the British Touring Cars average of 863,000.

Similar cross-over terrestrial/digital coverage of MotoGP by the BBC also attracts UK audiences easily above the million mark - as it also achieved when it was broadcasting recorded BSB highlights in the past. The BBC’s best MotoGP audience in 2007 was for the US Laguna Seca round with 1.7 million. The British round at Donington Park pulled 1.4 million viewers. By contrast, British Eurosport MotoGP coverage gets only a fraction of the BBC’s UK audience volume - typically fewer than 250,000 with a 2007 peak at Donington of 355,000 - and its BSB audience delivery is unlikely to be a lot better.

This is attributable to the stronger branding and far higher production values of the mainstream channels. In MotoGP, for instance, the BBC adds its own live on-location grid/pitlane cameras and presentation to the Dorna TV race feed, apart from its commentary team - as ITV1 did with BSB. Eurosport, on the other hand, relies purely on sound-only commentary teams for its MotoGP and World Superbikes offerings, backed up by a fat bloke on a sofa in a studio somewhere in the Home Counties.

On a commercial level, this is unlikely to pull sponsorship, course signage and other involvement such as hospitality from high-street brands outside of the bike business ghetto - the sort of big money that the budget-starved BSB series promoters and leading BSB teams are looking for - because the key UK or European audience volume won’t be there.

Media buyers aren’t impressed with Palmer’s boast that ‘Eurosport's global coverage will play a major role’ either, pointing out that big brands want quality of viewer not just the quantity typically found in developing countries in Asia and the Far East. They see the socio- demographic profile of the audience as a major issue - in other words, consumers with credible cash to spend.

Big-league brands and their ad agencies are not run by fools. And to put it crudely, almost nobody’s interested in ragged-trousered coolies watching satellite bike racing feeds somewhere in a swamp in the Mekong Delta apart from the tobacco companies - and they are now forbidden fruit, of course.

As Palmer quite rightly says, ‘television coverage is vital to the future development of BSB’, but you have to suspect that he’s actually putting a brave face on the only deal he could get.


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Discuss this story

whats the crux of it?

will it be live on eurosport or not?


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 08:49

As MSV have the rights to the championship, it is in their best interests to look after the long term for BSB.  I am sure that MSV have signed a deal that they think is in the best long term interests of the sport, whilst balancing revenues. 

This report just says that it should be on terrestrial rather than Eurosport, but it is going to be on Channel 4 isn't it? So Roger Willis's argument collapses surely?

In my view none of the ITV or BBC ever do these proper justice, regardless of whether they provide extra on track interviews etc.  Anyway, as this is a british series, surely they can provide on track coverage in addition to the standard TV feed.  TBH no-one wants to see any fat blokes on a sofa in the studio, in preference to on track action and interviews with participants, unless it adds value.


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 09:21

burty wrote (see)

 TBH no-one wants to see any fat blokes on a sofa in the studio, in preference to on track action and interviews with participants, unless it adds value.


yeah i know what you mean...that ginger fella on eurosport is my cue to put the kettle on

as far as i understood it, the BSB coverage is going out live on eurosport and then an hour show on a tues/thurs night on Channel 4

guess we'll just have to wait and see


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 09:50

Be interesting to see how they cope with the BSB and WSBK clashing, also, it PISSES ME OFF that eurosport put adverts IN THE SODDING MIDDLE of races, arsehats

Posted: 11/03/2008 at 10:26

burty wrote (see)

In my view none of the ITV or BBC ever do these proper justice


Eh? ITV provided excellent BSB coverage, and BBC show extra GP stuff on BBCi. What exactly did you not like about their coverage? What more do you think they could of done?

Posted: 11/03/2008 at 10:29

Danny_Two wrote (see)
burty wrote (see)

In my view none of the ITV or BBC ever do these proper justice


Eh? ITV provided excellent BSB coverage, and BBC show extra GP stuff on BBCi. What exactly did you not like about their coverage? What more do you think they could of done?


Did ITV show both BSB races, Supersport, Superstock, 125s, and the R6 cup? If they did then I apologise for not giving them credit.

As for MotoGP do the BBC show all the practice and qualifying sessions for all classes?  I guess it's all in the half hour BBCi program, sorry I wasn't aware of that.


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 11:03

danowat wrote (see)
Be interesting to see how they cope with the BSB and WSBK clashing, also, it PISSES ME OFF that eurosport put adverts IN THE SODDING MIDDLE of races, arsehats


It's probably going to clash with MotoGP at some point too.

 There's always Eurosport 2, but the ticker along the bottom gets on my wick*. If you're watching a recording of that day's race in the evening it usually starts telling you the results along the bottom.  

 * Yes, I know I can change my TV settings so it's off the bottom of the screen, but then it cuts off a bit of the top too. Life's so unfair... 


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 11:05

burty wrote (see)
Danny_Two wrote (see)
burty wrote (see)

In my view none of the ITV or BBC ever do these proper justice


Eh? ITV provided excellent BSB coverage, and BBC show extra GP stuff on BBCi. What exactly did you not like about their coverage? What more do you think they could of done?


Did ITV show both BSB races, Supersport, Superstock, 125s, and the R6 cup? If they did then I apologise for not giving them credit.

As for MotoGP do the BBC show all the practice and qualifying sessions for all classes?  I guess it's all in the half hour BBCi program, sorry I wasn't aware of that.


Yes both races, 1st race usually highlights, 2nd live, R6 cup not every round but did show it, some superstock, again only at selected rounds.

BBCi shows 125/250, but agian not every GP is covered.


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 11:31

Danny_Two wrote (see)


Yes both races, 1st race usually highlights, 2nd live, R6 cup not every round but did show it, some superstock, again only at selected rounds.

BBCi shows 125/250, but agian not every GP is covered.



OK, next time on the friday before the race I shall tune into BBCi to watch the 125 qualifying sessions live then.

Posted: 11/03/2008 at 12:07

Eurosport coverage of any sport is fairly crap. If you remove the adverts, the whats coming on later bits, an hours viewing only usually last 25 mins max. It's very disappointing

Posted: 11/03/2008 at 12:11

If motoGP clashes with WSB then I chose WSB every time

Posted: 11/03/2008 at 12:30

If bike racing is ever going to be viewed as a 'success' in terms of television viewing figures then it's going to have to have a majority TV audience of non-enthusiasts, ie casual viewers who dip in and watch a GP, BSB or WSB race because it makes exciting viewing. Maybe they'll know one or two of the riders, maybe they'll pick up on exciting championship battles through the season, but they probably won't be hardcore enthusiasts, and they won't be interested in all the support classes, qualifying etc. It's these viewers the championship promoters actually crave, because, as the Roger Willis piece explains, it's these viewers who raise the  alue of the racing as a marketable quantitiy to advertisers.

 F1 has a huge global audience (which bike racing will never come close to getting). If the BBC were to package its MotoGP programme with 125 and 150 racing, plus all the qualifying, the casual mass-market viewer wouldn't be interested. It would be like showing all the GP2 and Porsceh Supercup or F3 racing and qualifying along with an F1 race. The casual viewer doesn't give a shit. 

 The real enthusiasts are usuallly better served by the satellite channels, although fair play to the BBBC for showing the GP qualifying on BBCi. 

 That's what I think, anyway.


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 12:54


MAC
venus wrote (see)
Eurosport coverage of any sport is fairly crap. If you remove the adverts, the whats coming on later bits, an hours viewing only usually last 25 mins max. It's very disappointing


Have to say that I find the bike coverage excellent, the commentators are way better than those they had on ITV or BBC.

What we really need is Eurosport on freeview and then the audience level would increase. 


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 13:53

zz-rrrr wrote (see)

If bike racing is ever going to be viewed as a 'success' in terms of television viewing figures then it's going to have to have a majority TV audience of non-enthusiasts, ie casual viewers who dip in and watch a GP, BSB or WSB race because it makes exciting viewing. Maybe they'll know one or two of the riders, maybe they'll pick up on exciting championship battles through the season, but they probably won't be hardcore enthusiasts, and they won't be interested in all the support classes, qualifying etc. It's these viewers the championship promoters actually crave, because, as the Roger Willis piece explains, it's these viewers who raise the alue of the racing as a marketable quantitiy to advertisers.

F1 has a huge global audience (which bike racing will never come close to getting). If the BBC were to package its MotoGP programme with 125 and 150 racing, plus all the qualifying, the casual mass-market viewer wouldn't be interested. It would be like showing all the GP2 and Porsceh Supercup or F3 racing and qualifying along with an F1 race. The casual viewer doesn't give a shit.

The real enthusiasts are usuallly better served by the satellite channels, although fair play to the BBBC for showing the GP qualifying on BBCi.

That's what I think, anyway.


What you say makes sense. Essentially you suggest that the advertisers want the casual viewer who watch the main event only, the enthusiasts want the more detailed coverage offered by the Satellite channels. If the TV coverage was to offer both then that would be the solution. Say full coverage on a satellite channel such as Eurosport, and a condensed highlights TV program on one of the 4 Terrestrial channels, like say channel 4. Oh, oddly enough that's what we are going to get.

So what's Geoff Willis' point again?  Is this bad for BSB?


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 14:34

The Spin Doctor wrote (see)
<< Eurosport, on the other hand, relies purely on sound-only commentary teams for its MotoGP and World Superbikes offerings, backed up by a fat bloke on a sofa in a studio somewhere in the Home Counties.>>

So having Suzy Perry or one of her clones wandering thru the grid exchanging inanities with the riders is a key part of the coverage is it?

I'd go for Randy Mamola on the end of the mic everytime.


Watching Suzi wandering though the grid is the second highlight of the meeting after qualifying.

As soon as she's off and the Australian dimwit comes on, I'm off to Eurosport and Toby and Uncle Julian

And Randy


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 14:57

Is there a formal statement from ITV giving the reason why they have dropped their coverage?

 Whilst I don't consider this to be a blow to me personally (although my brother-in-law will feel the kick to the teeth), I'm anxious to find out whether recent cost cutting exercises (ref: phone in shows) have resulted in a lacking programming schedule.


Posted: 11/03/2008 at 18:54

Its a terrible shame i love bsb and thought that itv signed a 2 year deal ,I was really looking forward to it ,such an exciting close series.

Posted: 11/03/2008 at 23:01


Aki
I don't understand why eurosport doesn't bid for a channel on freeview. I know you can get it already on that joke set up "top Up TV" but who's gonna pay £7 mth get the only channel worth having? Channel 4 were quick to realise the extra revenue from advertising on a free channel far out ways revenue from subscription and so dumped top up tv and moved e4 and film 4 to freeview. I don't think sponsors of a domestic race series like BSB are going to be interested in subscription based satelite coverage worldwide or not! Lets take the series sponsor Bennetts, what interest is it to them if the rest of the world is watching, when they sell insurance in the UK?

Posted: 12/03/2008 at 09:27

Top-up TV doesn't offer live Eurosport, only half-hour highlights of selected sports, which don't include motorcycling.

Roger's comments are awfully partial, but I suspect that's the point of his column - to stimulate debate rather than articulate an honestly held view.

Obviously the biggest single factor in who gets what is cash  - and it's not a simple case of promoter sells rights to broadcaster.

Often it's the other way around; promoter pays for his sport to be aired and my suspicion is that ITV wanted too much cash and Eurosport were prepared to air it for next to nowt.

Blame ITV greed if you must, MSV aren't trying to shaft BSB - in doing so they'd only be screwing themselves.

I think Roger's already aware of this, I'd be surprised if he isn't, so it's probably worth taking his opining with a large pinch of salt.

Unless he'd rather see it of air altogether? Roger, Roger?


Posted: 12/03/2008 at 10:34

I am almost certain I have read somewhere that BSB paid for the TV coverage. You can thank Dorna for doing nothing since they bought the series.

 In any event, the quality of the coverage will be better and broader, and Palmer won't let them mess it up, he needs decent coverage to get people through the gates at future events.


Posted: 12/03/2008 at 14:34

I remember back in 1984, that the only GP's you got to see on telly were the British and Dutch rounds.

 Today, well thank god for satellite channels like Eurosport, who've realised they can't afford F1 and decided to throw their weight behind the bikes instead.

We've never had it so good, for the hardcore fans, does it matter where it is shown, as long as you can see it, that is more important for me than what channel it is on.

I bought a satellite system specifically for getting Eurosport, i suggest if you are serious about watching bikes on the telly, you would be going out of your way to get sorted and stop whinning like a smacked child.

 Eurosport commentary with Ryder, Moody and Mamola is the best on telly, i don't want to see some token tart pretending she knows all about GP's (bar suzi Perry) i want to see racing, interviews with racers etc, the link up with studio guest with Tony Carter on the WSB coverage is spot on to.

Ok Eurosport advertising breaks are a pain in the arse, but the depth and quality of the coverage is second to none.


Posted: 12/03/2008 at 14:56

I too only have satellite sport channels for bike racing - last year's Sky coverage of BSB was excellent with virtually the entire day shown, with Keith Heuwen and Niall Mac providing knowledgeable commentary.

Eurosport pisses me off when they go to commercial break in the middle of a race just to tell you that some poxy overpaid nancyboy tennis players are coming on in two weeks time to bat a ball back to each other (OK, each to their own), but these can wait until after the race - or alternatively pause the feed and restart after the break.

BBC and ITV to my view always consider bike racing as way down the list of important sports (just look at the coverage they give to snooker - bloody thing is on for days!) and with all those soaps to pay for.....................

I am just happy to watch as much as I can when I can, and with motorsTV filling in Enduro racing, motocross, trials, AND with AMA as well - I don't really give a toss which channel has it as long as one does!!!


Posted: 12/03/2008 at 15:26

Marko wrote (see)

I remember back in 1984, that the only GP's you got to see on telly were the British and Dutch rounds.

 Today, well thank god for satellite channels like Eurosport, who've realised they can't afford F1 and decided to throw their weight behind the bikes instead.

We've never had it so good, for the hardcore fans, does it matter where it is shown, as long as you can see it, that is more important for me than what channel it is on.

I bought a satellite system specifically for getting Eurosport, i suggest if you are serious about watching bikes on the telly, you would be going out of your way to get sorted and stop whinning like a smacked child.

 Eurosport commentary with Ryder, Moody and Mamola is the best on telly, i don't want to see some token tart pretending she knows all about GP's (bar suzi Perry) i want to see racing, interviews with racers etc, the link up with studio guest with Tony Carter on the WSB coverage is spot on to.

Ok Eurosport advertising breaks are a pain in the arse, but the depth and quality of the coverage is second to none.


That Sir is spot on.  You're right we've never had it so good, gone are the days when the only source of information on the week ends racing was MCN.

Posted: 12/03/2008 at 15:32

venus wrote (see)
Eurosport coverage of any sport is fairly crap. If you remove the adverts, the whats coming on later bits, an hours viewing only usually last 25 mins max. It's very disappointing

Yes, I find full coverage of free practice, qualifying, warm up and all races from the start of the day to the end disapointing too

Posted: 12/03/2008 at 22:21


Marko wrote (see)

Eurosport commentary with Ryder, Moody and Mamola is the best on telly, i don't want to see some token tart pretending she knows all about GP's (bar suzi Perry) i want to see racing, interviews with racers etc, the link up with studio guest with Tony Carter on the WSB coverage is spot on to.

Ok Eurosport advertising breaks are a pain in the arse, but the depth and quality of the coverage is second to none.


Their commentary is good if you're into bikes and understand what's going on, but it borders on the incomprehensible to the casual viewer who isn't into bikes. Moody, Ryder etc will make obscure, knowing references to stuff that happened in previous races - or even seasons - which mean nothing to non-enthusiast viewers, which will turn them off competely. And Mamola may be an 'authority' but he's useless as a broadcaster. He gets tongue-tied and confused trying to get his points, questions or answers across, and he can't pronounce Bridgestone or Motegi properly. That's why mainstream coverage on the BBC is so important to Dorna - they bend over backwards to accomodate them at GPs. The BBC's coverage targets the common man/viewer, and that's what makes up the numbers in viewing figure terms. It's the mass market of non-enthusiast casual viewers who will ultimately make MotoGP a television 'success', not the hard core fans who will find a way to watch it no matter what. We're in a minority.


Posted: 13/03/2008 at 11:25

Roger Willis Wrote

Big-league brands and their ad agencies are not run by fools. And to put it crudely, almost nobody's interested in ragged-trousered coolies watching satellite bike racing feeds somewhere in a swamp in the Mekong Delta apart from the tobacco companies - and they are now forbidden fruit, of course.


How to lower the tone of an article will an abhorrent racist comment. Using words like "coolies" should have stayed with the colonies and dies with slavery. You must get upset at seeing people like Lewis Hamilton in F1 being what you would probably call a "n****r". Get some understanding of the world.

 Just to show how poor your article is, the Mekong Delta is in Vietnam (just next to the modern bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh city - 6 million+ population) where there are more Yamahas and Hondas than the UK by a massive magnitude. There are a higher concentration of motorbike dealers than most places in the world and with massive state of the art showrooms and facilities.

I'm pretty sure that Honda and Yamaha do a far higher quantity of advertising there than in the UK.

Add to that the massive boom in Mobile phones where there are also far more (bigger and better) showrooms than the UK (maybe even more subscribers) and other consumer goods and it goes to show how small minded you really are Mr Willis.


Posted: 16/03/2008 at 12:52

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