Alanf’s blog…
Scattered thoughts

Friday, April 15, 2005

Livin\’ in the wrong country…

Author: site admin
Category: Motorcycles

“Man came by to hook up my cable TV
We settled in for the night my baby and me
We switched ’round and ’round ’til half-past dawn
There was fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on”
— Bruce Springsteen, 57 Channels

Despite my working in the TV industry, I’m not really a big fan of television. Other than spending many Sundays and Tuesdays watching motorcycle racing on SpeedTV I rarely turn on the old boob tube, preferring instead to play on the computer, read or even play in the garage. But because of my addiction to MotoGP, AMA, World Superbike and other forms of motorcycle racing, I’ll never throw the damned thing out.

Its a Nascar Nation

While I’m glad that SpeedTV still covers the major motorcycle series, I’m definitely sick of all their NASCAR programming. I don’t have anything against NASCAR, car racing is car racing whether its lawnmowers, American sedans or Formula 1 its just that I’m not into cars. Perhaps you’ve heard the motto “Four wheels bad, two wheels good”. If SpeedTV covered Formula 1 all the time I’d be sick of that too. I’d complain more but I know that the number of viewers which tune into NASCAR mechanics reality TV or whatever is on Thursday nights is ten times the number that will tune into a motorcycle roadrace. There are times I get upset, like last weekend when the MotoGP color commentary guys announced the winner of the yet-to-be-televised 250GP race. There are times I’m frustrated by their schedule, waiting two weeks to show the 125GP races. But ultimately, I’m grateful for the motorcycle racing that is available on TV and try to quietly enjoy it while I can.

Dorna, the commercial rights holder for the MotoGP series sent out an interesting press release after last weekend’s MotoGP race at Jerez, Spain which has caused me to be a little less quiet this week. What their press release included were some statistics on viewership of Eurosport’s coverage of the race…The full press release is available on the Team KR website but the Cliff Notes version is just this: Motorcycle racing is real damned popular in Europe, just as popular as NASCAR is in this country. The average percentage of TVs in Spain and Italy tuned to the *4 hour* live broadcast of the GP races at Jerez, was around 33%. That means that one third of the TVs were tuned to Italy’s Italia1 and Spain’s TV-E during the race. During the “the incident” where Rossi and Gibernau clashed in the last corner between 40% and 45% of viewers were watching in both countries. That’s nearly half the TV viewing population. Amazing! Now that indicates an interest in my kind of reality TV!

Now I’m wishing I could get some sort of pirate broadcast of Eurosport and watch motorcycle racing the way the Europeans do. In the meantime, I’ll be tuning into SpeedTV this Sunday to watch the two hour, tape delayed MotoGP and 250GP races. Then I’ll spend the following two weeks trying to learn Spanish or Italian until I can finally catch the 125 race…

[image from the SpeedTV web site.]