Published on 15 May 2012 by Toni M.
Dorna and Sky Italia have signed a new deal that will see MotoGP broadcasted exclusively by Sky in 2014, giving Mediaset the finger after 10 years of broadcasting and making MotoGP the fifth most watched sport in Italy, while broadcasting not only all three races but also all the three classes free practice and qualifying sessions, and all for free.
Apparently only eight out of the eighteen races on the calendar will be televised free-to-air by Sky, while the others will be pay for view in one of their multiple and costly sports packages, but if Sky is expecting to see a rush of those 4 to 5 million odd viewers that currently watch MotoGP on Mediaset to become new subscribers they can forget, because it isn’t going to happen, at least judging from the very strong reactions from Italians on various blogs and websites that we’ve checked out following the press release.
Sky Italy at the present has between 5 to 5.5 million subscribers, and with the current economic climate in the country, with a growing recession, rising unemployment, spending cuts, massive tax hikes not only from the state but also from the regions and provinces that is causing a rise in social unrest and suicides, no one wants to pull out extra cash just to watch MotoGP, especially not to watch processional races where the outcome is more or less decided after a couple of laps and not even to watch Valentino Rossi, especially a lagging one. To think that Carmelo Ezpeleta not so long ago had stated that he prefered that MotoGP be broadcasted free-to-air to give the championship a larger viewing audience, but that evidently was before the global economic crisis.
What will be MotoGPs loss will be World Superbikes gain, as Mediaset has turned around and just signed a three-year contract (2013-2015) acquiring the broadcasting rights to the popular and highly battled championship, that will with no doubt see a large increase in viewing audiences. WSBK is currently being aired by the smaller LA7 (owned by Telecom Italy) and they currently average between 1.1 to 1.5 million viewers per race weekend, but this is also due to the fact that their digital terrestial TV signal doesn’t reach every home in the country, while Berlusconi’s TV channels reaches everyone.