SBJ/March 25-31, 2013/Media

MotoGP extends agreement with Fox Sports through 2015

MotoGP — the international motorcycle racing circuit — launched on Speed in 1997.

This August, the day after Speed officially morphs into Fox Sports 1, a MotoGP race from Indianapolis will fill up the rebranded channel’s Sunday afternoon schedule.

MotoGP is “fun racing,” Fox Sports executive Bill Wanger says.
Photo: SPEED
That comes after a three-year extension Fox Sports signed with the MotoGP World Championship that extends the deal through 2015. Specific deal terms were not released, but Fox Sports is paying a rights fee for the property, as it has in previous deals.

“We think it’s a great property to have,” said Bill Wanger, Fox Sports’ executive vice president of programming and research. “We want to maintain our leadership position in the motorsports world.”

The new deal rolls out April 7 with the Grand Prix of Qatar, which will be telecast on Speed. Speed and Fox Sports 1 will carry a 19-week schedule that lasts from April to November.

The schedule includes three races in the U.S. — in addition to Indianapolis in August, Austin, Texas, will host a race April 21 and the U.S. Grand Prix will be held in Monterey, Calif., on July 21.

The races are usually televised live on Sunday afternoons in one-hour windows. MotoGP has been a consistent draw over the years for Speed; last year’s season averaged about 70,000 viewers per race. The U.S. races perform better. Last year, the two U.S. races averaged 130,000 viewers, which is comparable to the viewership Speed posted for some of its Formula One races.

“The races fit in well with our schedule, especially since most of the races are on Sundays,” Wanger said. “It’s the best of motorcycle road racing. It’s fun racing.”

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