Fox Sports announced that it has signed a "three-year extension" with Dorna Sports for U.S. media rights to the MotoGP World Championship, with races to air on SPEED/Fox Sports 1 in '13, according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Specific terms of the deal, which runs through '15, "were not released." Fox Sports is "paying a rights fee for the property, as it has in previous deals." The schedule includes three races in the U.S. The events are "usually televised live on Sunday afternoons in one-hour windows" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/25 issue). The season will open April 7 on the SPEED channel with the Grand Prix of Qatar live at 3pm ET. For U.S. rounds, "Bob Varsha hosts; Ralph Sheheen and Jonathan Green split play-by-play duties; Scott Russell provides analysis and Greg White reports from the pits." The team of Gavin Emmett and Nick Harris call int'l races, with Varsha, Sheheen, Greg Creamer and Dave Despain "sharing the role of studio host" (FOX).
German free-to-air channel RTL "recorded satisfying ratings for its broadcast of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix on Sunday," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. A total of 5.44 million viewers tuned in to watch the race from the Sepang Int'l Circuit, which started at 9am German time. The number translated into a strong market share of 44.8%. In the target demographic 14-49, the victory of Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel received a 40.9% share. In addition, German pay-TV channel Sky attracted 370,000 viewers to its broadcast of Sunday's race. In the target demographic, Sky's broadcast recorded a 4% share (DWDL, 3/25).
F1 IN ENGLAND: In London, John Plunkett reported "BBC1's highlights of the Malaysian Grand Prix had 4 million viewers, a 27.2% share," between 2:30pm-4:30pm. Sky's live coverage -- it now has all the live rights, with the BBC showing around half of the races live -- "had 773,000 viewers (11.6%) from 6:30am with a five-minute peak of 1.35 million" (GUARDIAN, 3/25).
F1 IN FRANCE: Pay-TV channel Canal+'s broadcast of the race between 8:55am and 10:45am local time pulled in 776,000 subscribers and a 36% market share (TELE, 3/25
F1 IN SPAIN: Free-to-air channel Antena 3's broadcast of the Grand Prix was watched by 2.559 million viewers and a 41.3% market share (VERTELE, 3/25).
WINTER SPORTS: DWDL's Krei also reported German public broadcaster ARD "has received only average ratings for its winter sports broadcast." A total of 1.31 million viewers tuned in to watch ski flying on Sunday morning. The number translated into a 9.7% market share. The Speed Skating World Championships attracted only 1.5 million viewers in the afternoon, which equaled a 9% share (DWDL, 3/25). ISPORTCONNECT's Jay Stuart reported "sports programming pulled 10 of the top 25 audiences" on Dutch TV on Sunday, with speed skating, cycling, basketball and volleyball all drawing decent numbers on public channel Ned 1. The top event was the Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Sochi, Russia, airing at 2:15pm. The men's 500m race did best with 1.34 million viewers and a share of 45% -- 10th biggest audience of any program (ISPORTCONNECT, 3/25).