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Feb 15, 2019

​MotoAmerica: More About The Series’ New TV And Live Streaming Deals For 2019 (Updated)

Pit lane reporter Hannah Lopa interviewing MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier during the 2018 season. Photo by David Swarts, copyright Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Editorial Note: Race videos will be archived for on-demand viewing whenever subscribers want to view them, according to MotoAmerica Communications Director Paul Carruthers.

This week the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Series issued a number of press release related to its new plans for TV and live streaming coverage in 2019, but there were still some questions left unanswered for fans and competitors alike.

So to fill in the blanks, Roadracing World reached out to MotoAmerica Chief Operating Officer (COO) Chuck Aksland, who together with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Richard Varner, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Terry Karges, and President Wayne Rainey make up the KRAVE Group that owns MotoAmerica.


Roadracing World:
Why isn’t MotoAmerica going to be broadcast on beIN SPORTS anymore?

Chuck Aksland: We were in an option year with beIN SPORTS from 2019 going forward, and we decided to explore other options and decided to go the direction we did.

We’ve been looking at doing our own production over the last two years. The arrangement with beIN SPORTS was a joint venture in the production. By taking the production in-house it gives us a lot more flexibility to get our product out on different outlets, and that’s what you’re seeing here.

We have five classes, and we’re trying to achieve something where all five classes have some visibility. Obviously, when you’re restricted to only one network the way we were with beIN SPORTS we didn’t have that flexibility.

We went from the first year with the CBS Sports program [and production partner Greenlight Television] to the second year with beIN SPORTS, and that was a good move for us. Being alongside World Superbike and MotoGP [on beIN SPORTS] was great, but it was just time for us to take another step to draw more exposure and attention to the sport.

RW: Is taking the production in-house more of a financial investment for MotoAmerica?

CA: Yes.

RW: But it gives you the freedom to do things like the live streaming?

CA: Yes, and the way that we have the rights worked out with the various networks, for instance the live streaming we now have the freedom to offer that on a worldwide basis. So if there’s fans in England or in Spain or wherever they will be able to tune in through that channel.


RW:
So that wasn’t possible with beIN before? To stream it you had to do it through beIN CONNECT, and to use that you had to be a beIN subscriber, correct?

CA: Exactly. Like I said, this has given us the flexibility to be more in control of our own destiny overall. The object is to get as much exposure for MotoAmerica and the teams and the events that we put on, and hopefully, that will draw more interest from sponsors and fans who want to come out and attend.


RW:
MotoAmerica announced the on-air talent for the broadcasts and streaming, but who’s going to be behind the production?

CA: From the logistics side, we’ve taken on board the same person who was working with us last year and the year before. His name is Larry Meyer. The direction, we hired the directors straight from Dorna, so it will be the same direction team.

Because of the multiple programs, we have two different producers in place - one for the Fox [Sports] side and the live aspect [and] streaming and then one for the NBC [Sports] show. All of that is being organized by our technical production guy Larry. Myself, Richard, Terry, and Wayne, we’ve all been pretty involved in who’s going to be a part of it.

The quality of show and program, which I think many people have grown accustomed to, will remain the same if not improve.


RW:
As far as the live streaming goes, we’ve seen some racing organizations’ whose idea of live streaming was to stick a webcam onto a fence and show the bikes going past. What’s MotoAmerica’s live streaming going to be like?

CA: (laughs) No, this is going to be a scripted, full-on production, six to eight hours each day over the weekend. The intent was to get a lot more interviews, to show some of the practices, to do some special features, to talk to people, and get people more engaged with what’s going on. Plus show all the racing in all the classes.


RW:
Who will be calling the races during the streaming broadcasts?

CA: The call for the races will be Greg [White], Jason [Pridmore], and Hannah [Lopa] for the three main classes: Superbike, Supersport, and the Junior Cup. And we’ll work out a mix of probably our trackside announcer and some other guests for the Twins Cup and the Stock 1000.

The idea with Dylan [Gray] is that he’s your host for the day. He’ll fill in the times in between and provide information and be the eyes and ears for the fans at home.


RW:
When will the live streaming coverage start on a typical race weekend?

CA: I think it will basically start about 10:00 a.m. [local time] on Saturday mornings. So nothing on Friday and we’ll start on Saturday. If it works out we’ll start with Superbike practice and roll into the rest of the program until the final checkered flag of the day. Then on Sunday it might start a little earlier or around the same time.


RW:
In a release earlier this week talking about the MotoAmerica coverage on Fox Sports 2, it only mentioned the Superbike class. So does that mean only Superbike races will be broadcast on FS2?

CA: Yeah, right now that’s the plan. We may pull in some highlights, depending on what happens during the weekend. But the idea there again is it’s a 90-minute program. Generally, a Superbike race is about 35 minutes long. So we built in time for interviews and trying to get more of a behind-the-scenes aspect with a preview and some post-race show.

Again, a lot of time when you watch a race, you have a few interviews on the grid or whatever and then it’s Go! And then you don’t really hear what happens. If there’s some drama after [the race] there hasn’t been a chance really to catch an interview with a rider and find out more about the incident. Hopefully, with a little bit longer time span, we can bring some of that into the fold.


RW:
How long are all of these new agreements?

CA: The Fox Sports agreement is for two years, 2019-2020. The NBC Sports agreement is for this year with an option for 2020. The live stream over this platform [ViewLift] is setup for a minimum of two years.


RW:
Do you have anything else that you want to get out there that didn’t make into the press releases?

CA: If you look at the combined [TV] schedules from when we start in April through the last NBC Sports shows there’s going to be MotoAmerica [coverage] available somewhere on network television from April to October, with maybe only one week missed. So from April to October MotoAmerica will be on TV somewhere, plus you have the addition of the live streaming.

Hopefully, we get more fans out of it. Certainly, we have the capabilities now to reach a lot more eyeballs. Hopefully, people find our sport exciting and come out and watch it in person. If not, they can put their feet up and watch it at home.

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