Fuck the Beebs bike coverage

I was going to post this complaint in the other Beeb sport pit thread, but my rant got carried away, and needed a thread of its own instead of hijacking that other one.

Thing that annoys me about the BBC sports coverage is that this weekend there’s also Moto GP bike racing on, and you’d think that they would at least show us the standings after qualifying.

We have four Britons on the grid, plus a few such as Colin Edwards, and Loris Capirossi who have very wide support in the UK, yup Edwards is a Yank but we Brits think he’s great.

This means there is a lot of interest in the tightest bike GP season for many years, maybe as little as 5 points overall will decide it, this is a bit of a golden season for Moto GP.

Worse is the Beebs treatment of British Superbikes, the Beeb bought up the rights and now only show maybe 20 minutes of the two races held each race day, and then its only shown very late at night.

I think that government types have a huge downer on tv bike racing, yet this actually makes track days more popular and keeps racing off the roads, I can’t help but think that the home office leans on the Beeb very heavily to ensure that it does not promote bike racing.

No TV business would spend £millions on buying exposure rights to a sport and then not try to develop, promote and broadcast it, yet good old auntie Beeb does exactly that with the British Superbike series, just like it did with Moto GP.

Yes, that’s right, the Beeb also paid £millions for the terrestrial broadcast rights for Moto GP and the race day shows usually amount to around 40 minutes, of which perhaps 20 minutes are actaully spent watching the race, which gernrally actually runs for around 45 minutes, or a bit more if there is a red flag restart.

The only reason that this trick of trying to spoil Moto GP doesn’t work is that cable and satellite also have rights to show the racing and have extensive coverage, which attracts good viewing figures, figures you might imagine the Beeb would be only too happy to have for themselves.

Fuck the wankers at the Home Office, fuck the so-called independance of the BBC, and fuck all the arseholes in suits who always know what’s best and safe for the public, you are a load of patronising twats.

Hmmmmm…Olympics, Moto GP…sure, they deserve equal attention :dubious: …

As for rankings, I presume you have, errrrm, access to the Internet?

Have you any evidence that ‘government types’ have a particular problem with bike racing? Or are you just being paranoid? There’s a lot of sport going on in August…hell, I even clean forgot about the Hungarian Grand Prix until the Sunday evening news :smack:

I wish I had. Even the commentator said it was boring!!

It’s a source of continuing mystery to me that they persist in racing there. It’s a truly awful track.

As for the OP, I have to say I find the idea that the Home Office would intervene in the BBC’s scheduling to suppress Moto GP coverage to be truly bizarre. Can you explain why they’d even want to? Surely if they were going to suppress something, they’d want to start with Anne Robinson…

Is it one of the tracks where Bernie Ecclestone owns all the TV rights? That’s certainly how Interlagos didn’t get dropped about 10 years ago. Plus there’s the slight nostalgia for when the Hungarian race was an adventurous foray through the Iron Curtain.

The Hungarian F1 GP was everything that makes you want to give up on that sport.

Nothing happened, but it happened at speed, noone was overtaken, not in the pits even, in fact it wasn’t so much that overtaking there is difficult, as much as the fact that there was hardly even any kind of fight for position, noone could get close enough to challenge anyone else.

My view on F1 is that although aerodynamics helps cars go faster, its a very double edged benefit, as it means that cars cannot get close enough to one another to challenge as the following car gets caught up in the bad airflow from the leading car, if aerodynamics were nothing like as crucial, then perhaps the dirty airflow would not matter as much to the following car, however I don’t imagine this will ever be changed to any serious extent, even though they are going to tinker with this issue next year.

As for the UK government being anti bike, well theres a whole list of stuff that I can go through, from distortions to statistics, to the difficulty of getting a bike licence, to the differant ways that car drivers and bikers are treated by the police and perhaps most revealing, comments made by Home Office Ministers about bikers, to whit,

“There is no point in having increased training for motorcycle riders as they only kill themselves in ever more interesting ways”

I’ll have to hunt around to find the name of the minister who said that, but it certainly made all the motorcyling periodicals.

It’s a mistake they made many years ago, when it became clear that speeds had to be reduced for safety’s sake. They concentrated on things like tyres and engines, reducing the power of the car - so all the research money went into aerodynamics, creating the problem you identify. But it’s not something that can be undone overnight.

As for the UK governm

Ummmmmmm…but that’s about bikes on roads - you were claiming the government is actively suppressing track racing?

Sky have the live rights to British Superbikes don’t they?

I am currently watching the GP live on the BBC, can’t see what the problem is?

Sure the Beeb have the rights to BSB, and they paid handsomely for those rights, but unlike any other commercial organisation, they don’t seem to make any effort to exploit those rights, nor develop them, nor promote them.

They have the rights, to the exclusion of everyone else, its as if they were acting as spoilers.

As for MotoGP, they do show the premier class, but it is somewhat perfunctory, this week I can understand it, being as its Olympics time, but considering that they have terrestrial broadcast rights, you might think they would normally promote and develop the audience viewing figures, hardly, usually they put MotoGP on late at night, like around midnight, and only show maybe 20 minutes.

I’ve seen MotoGP live coverage halted completely when golf has overrun into a playoff, yet when a bike race has a restart and exceeds the available slot, it is cut off and we don’t get to see the finish! I recall on one such occasion the following show was a repeat, but still the Beeb cut the bikes out.

Compare to cable and Sky, which show every race, the 125’s the 250’s the premier and also all the qualifying and usually the raceday pre-event practice.

I understand that these are focusing on a particular audience but they do it because it makes economic sense, they get more subcribers and better advertising revenues, yet good old Beeb can fritter away the money that viewers must pay in the form of the tv licence (which is nothing more nor less than a compulsory tax).

This is the thing, the Beeb does not have to worry about viewing figures, and it does not need to concern itself about developing the rights for which they have paid, commercial tv channels would never countenance this kind of behaviour, their shareholders would want explanations.

As for the government trying to squeeze biking in the UK, well, look at some of the stuff they come out with, they say biking is becoming more dangerous, since more bikers are being killed, they somehow fail to also add that actually the number of fatalities per 100k miles has fallen, as there are far more miles and more bike riders out there. In fact taking this more realistic figures, fatalities have fallen by nearly a third in the last couple of years.

Why is it that we get police checks, or roadblocks, exclusively for bikes(only) to check for ‘safety’, when all the police actually do is take down names and addresses, and measure the size of number plates and look for the EU approved marks on mufflers - real safety inspection that eh ?

You don’t see this happen with cars, and yet they also can have overly loud exhausts fitted, and dodgy number plates, cars are generally only checked over if the driver has either committed some offence, or been in an accident, bikers get stopped whilst riding within the law.

Car drivers only have to pass one test, and then they can drive anything they like as long as they can afford the insurance, bike riders may have to pass up to three tests to do the same, and although the bike rider can go for the full power licence in one go, provided they are old enough, the unrestricted licence test is notoriously difficult.

We have bus lanes to try encourage the population to use public transport and ease traffic congestion, the government aknowledges that bikes and scooters could be a way to help, but will they let two wheelers use bus lanes, not a chance, you have to push like mad and campaign for years to get loacl authorities to allow this, you’d think that the government would issue some kind of recommendation as guidance to those authorities.

When they introduced congestion charging in London, it was predicted that scooter and bike usage would increase, and car use would reduce, did they increase the number of available parking bays, nope, despite there being an increase in available parking due to the reduction in cars.

Somehow, I get the impression that despite the statements made by politicians, roads and transport policy is largely unaffected by whatever shade of representation happens to be in power at the time, thus railways have been run down over decades, in favour of road transport, that bikes were supposed to be an integral part of transport policy to ease congestion, and yet we have pretty much the opposite when it comes to bikers rights.

There has been a consultation document published just recently, apparently with the support of the two main biker campaign groups BMF and MAG. That report suggests that bikers should have even more training, that tests to obtain a bike licence should reflect this, that bikers should be driven away from sports bikes to more ‘realistic’ motorcycles.

So what they are saying is, the test will be more difficult, you will need to shell out even more cash for the necessary training, that they wish to restrict the bikers choice of motorcycle despite this being a massive stereotyping of a whole group of people, and there is no corresponding action to train drivers of other vehicles to conduct themselves more safely.

note that 70% of all bike accidents with another vehicle are the fault of the driver of the vehicle - 'I didn’t see you ’ being the classic line - only because you didn’t fucking look you fraggle headed gimp!

Is there a drive to ensure that diesel spills are reduced or eliminated? not on any large scale that’s for sure and yet the police have the power to persue this.

THAT’S what I was asking about. Not about their attitude to road bikes. Have you any evidence the govt has a problem with bike racing?

Casdave - surely it’s just about the ratings? Lets be honest - more people watch golf/the olympics than they do bike racing. There just isn’t the audience to justify giving it a decent time slot. It might be important to you, but I’m afraid most people don’t want to watch bike racing and the coverage reflects that.

Yes, they could do more to promote it, but they’ve got other priorities at the moment. Look at all the sport happening this year! In a quieter year there would’ve been more bike racing. As it is, it takes a back seat. Annoying for those who like bikes, but hardly evidence of government interference.

If it was about the ratings then why does the Beeb buy up the exclusive terrestrial rights and then make such a poor showing of the sport ?

When BSB was on the ITV network we got much better coverage, when MotoGP was on the ITV network, we got much better coverage, and its not as if the ITV networks thought they had a bad deal, they actually increased their bid when the franchise came up for renewal, and the Beeb outbid them with your money.

When the Beeb took over MotoGP we were promised much better coverage than the ITV networks could due to greater resources such as logistics etc, the coverage is much much worse.

If the Beeb is not interested in bike racing, why does it buy up the rights ? If the ratings are so poor then why does it continue to renew for those rights ?

ITV has set itself a realistic value on bike racing which is reflected in their bid price, and since this is a purely business decision, why does the Beeb spend so much more money to provide far worse coverage. Remeber you have paid for this, so either the Beeb should get out of bike racing because they cannot attract the viewers, ( spending yours and my money on something that will justify the expense), and hopefully leave it to those who do want to develop and show bike racing.

MotoGP was largely developed in this country as a tv audience grabber by the ITV networks, but instead of buiding upon that, the Beeb has basically buried it.

Right now is a golden opportunity to promote bike racing, F1 fans are tired of watching the same old parade of the usual suspects circulating around a track where the main question is who will break down first, Juan Pablo Montoya or Tekuma Sato.

MotoGP as a race is everything that F1 is not, there is risk, on the absolute edge of control, there is lots of overtaking, even the most gifted of the current generation of riders, Valentino Rossi, does not get it all his own way in the manner that Ferrarri and Schuey does.
The outcome of every MotoGP race is uncertain, any one of half a dozen riders are eminently capable of winning, and all of them are contenders to stack it too.

If you know anyone who is interested in bike racing, just ask them about the Beebs dismal performance in this regard.

BTW, you might be surprised at the crowd bike racing draws, we regularly get over 60k attending World Superbike events in the UK and this years British MotoGP round got nearly 70k.

I’d agree that the Olympics is a far bigger draw than bike racing, which is a series of races across six months of the year, every year and hence not as special as the four yearly run for the olympics, and yet, Sky and cable still manage to show bike racing and the Olympics, and the golf and many other weird and wonderful sports.

It seems odd to me that they can extend live golf, yet cannot extend live bike racing, instead it is cut to show repeats, now where is the urgency in showing repeats I ask you?

Its all too easily forgotten, just what a great history of bike racing we have in this country, with the greatest of the greatest world champions in Phil Read, Mike Hailwood,Barry Sheene, Carl Fogarty, Jon Surtees, Steve Webster and last but definately not least, the absolutely remarkable current all time great Dougie Lampkin.

Because they can. Because having those rights means not having to compete for viewing figures. Because it means they can say “Look at all the sports we cover!”. Because it means that when they do show biking, they have a guaranteed audience. I bet you tune in, don’t you?

By buying the rights, the BBC can effectively control the popularity of the sport. That’s what they’re paying for. If they choose not to do so, I sincerely doubt it has anything to do with the Home Office. Compared to golf, which attracts over a million viewers, sixty K makes a pretty poor showing. From the list of “famous” bikers you gave, I recognised one name - Barry Sheene. I’m not anti-biking. In fact, I’d say I represent the vast majority of the population when I say that it simply doesn’t register on my radar. It may well be terribly exciting from your point of view, but I’d rather watch cricket. The BBC recognise this and don’t give it a prominent timeslot.

The reason sky managed to show bike racing as well as all the other sports? It has a dedicated sports channel! The BBC has a vast broadcasting remit and it’s got to fit priority sports in. Personally, I’d like more trampolning on telly. I like watching trampolining. But it’s not going to happen. And blaming it on a government conspiracy is just silly.

Bingo! hand that girl a coconut.

Who funds the Beeb ?

Who sets the licence tax ?

To whom does the Beeb go cap in hand if it wants more money ?

When you look at what happend over the WMD and the Dr Kelly affair and what smells rather fishily like something is rotten deep in a ministry somewhere, and you look at the heads that rolled, its pretty clear that the Beeb only has the amount of independance from government that it is allowed to have.

Currently government policy toward bikers in general is very negative, their research findings on accidents, causes and rates are poor maths at best, and gross distortions at worst.

As for viewing figures, well the point missed here is that 60k attended the bike races mentioned, they of course had no interest in watching those event live, since they were there, it would be like watching the FA cup final in the stands on your portable tv.

For every biker there, there will be another ten who cannot attend.

Now as for how tv can help develop and promote bike racing.

Historically for the last 20 or so years, we Brits have been far more interested in Wolrd Superbikes rather than MotoGP(the latter is a effectively prototype racing unlike Superbike which is a production class race)

What changed was that Sky had too much airtime to fill and not enough sport to fill it, so we got swanp racing, we got WWF and all sorts of stuff, much of whihc has waned after the initial enthusiasm.
One sport the put on was the MotoGP, the premier class of bike racing, and they showed all the qualifying and all the differant categories of MotoGP race, (there are three classes)
Turned out that some folk were subscribing specifically to watch MotoGP, and as word went around it became more popular, so Sky promoted it.

Eventually ITV networks began to see a realistic audience out there for terrestrial tv, so they put out a coule of MotoGP event to see what happened, and the British round got good figures.

ITV coverage was patchy, what they showed was good, but they didn’t cover every single rave, just the top class, and some meeting got no coverage dependant upon other sporting events.

Having put in a fairly small effort ITV got a much better response than expected, at the same time, in the real world, bike ownership took off, there is no direct relationship here, merely that as bike ownership went up, so did viewing figures for bike racing - it would be too much of a stretch to say that tv racing promoted bike ownership.
When the MotoGP frights came up for renewal, the Beeb was looking rather desparate, having just lost crickets tests, and some other important events, so the Beeb waded in with a bid that outstripped ITV which was more concerned with making a correct business decision.

Whne the Beeb took over bike racing, the team responsible for the output transferred over from ITV to the Beeb, lock stock and barrel.

Now there were great things promised, coverage would be so much better, and suddenly sponsors turned up to fund Brits who were trying to get a ride in MotGP on the basis of the expected coverage, which basically didn’t happen.

So why would the Beeb buy into a sport that is growing in popularity and then bury it ?

Because they can, isn’t the way I want to see the Beeb spend my licence fee, I want them to spend in a way that is more logical, and prudent.

We get so many repeats on the Beeb, stuff does seem noticeably dumbed down and the Beeb keeps saying just how careful it is with viewers money, I don’t think so.

As for Beeb independance, why are they spending a vast fortune on digital tv and extra channels ?

The audience is not there because folk willnot throw awya their current tvs just to purches another with a few more channels of repeats.

The rewards for the government on digital take up are immense, as the transmission bandwidth would be available for sale, estimates for the sale of this bandwidth run into several £billions, but that can only ha-ppen once they can get folk away from the old tv systems and onto digital, and this is why the Beeb is pushing digital so hard, despite the deletarious effects it has on program content.

Beeb independance for government ? Don’t make me laugh.