With MotoGP moving to BT Sport from 2014, the BBC will be left with half the Formula 1 season and nothing else in terms of live motorsport. Where can it go from here?
I’d love to see the BBC throw its not inconsiderable broadcasting weight behind a British championship.
ITV did that with the BTCC, initially leveraging its F1 coverage to build a bigger audience, before moving it to ITV4 where it continues to be lavished with endless hours of airtime. Indeed ITV are now leveraging the BTCC, scheduling highlights of the new BRDC Formula 4 Championship directly after the live BTCC programme.
The problem is: which British championship? British Formula 3 would have been ideal, but it might be a bit late for that – it’s down to just four rounds this season. British Superbikes would be a similarly good fit, but that’s tied to Eurosport until the end of 2015.
Given that the World Rally Championship can’t work out how to do TV coverage, the British Rally Championship might be too much to ask. British GT doesn’t have a huge profile – but maybe that’s more of an argument for than against it. British Rallycross is probably even more obscure, but the fast-paced action could be an excellent choice.
Regardless, it feels like the sort of thing the BBC should be doing – supporting British motorsport, if not at the grassroots level, then at least a bit closer to it.
But that’s not exactly the way the BBC has tended to go when they’ve lost the rights to other sports. The other option I can see is standalone events.
They already do it in tennis, for example, covering Wimbledon but not all the Grand Slams. It’s not hard to imagine Formula 1 going further down that route, with the BBC perhaps only showing the British Grand Prix.
But there are more interesting directions the BBC could go, should they wish to curate a selection of motorsport events over the course of the year. The Dakar in January, Le Mans and the Isle of Man TT over the summer, the Race of Champions at the end of the season – to name just a few.
Imagine if the BBC gave Le Mans even a fraction of the treatment Glastonbury gets one weekend a year. It could be brilliant.
There must be a bit of budget going spare now, and a nice range of one-offs would surely cost the BBC less than an entire season at the highest level. It sounds good to me, anyway.
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