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MotoGP is in Trouble

Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Simran Kanthi

Credit: Adrian Dennis

MotoGP's 2022 season opener in Qatar had 500,000 fewer viewers than in 2021.

With the MotoGP legend and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi retiring from the sport at the end of 2021, one might assume the void he left, has yet to be filled. And one would be correct when you consider that MotoGP has had a significant drop in the number of viewers in every race.

Rossi sparked a passion for MotoGP in a mainstream way - he has said this himself. But since leaving the sport, MotoGP appears to be going through some sort of identity crisis. Some might argue that MotoGP is just going through a rough period, which in the past has affected even the most mainstream racing series, Formula 1.

Personally, I see a different issue - and it's something we've touched on before at Divebomb:

The Paywall.

Credit: Lars Baron

BT Sport currently owns the rights to MotoGP and has done so since 2014. But now more than ever, it seems like this is actually to the detriment of MotoGP. To be able to watch MotoGP races, one must pay up to £25 for one month of coverage. MotoGP used to be free-to-air.

F1 has a similar deal with Sky Sports - also priced at an extortionate amount.


Sky Sports F1 channel features many more races - Formula 1 classic races, live races, IndyCar Series, GB3 Championship, F3, F2, and other programmes featuring stories from different races on the F1 calendar.

However, BT Sport only has MotoGP and some Rally and Rallycross races, when it comes to Motorsport. Therefore, there is less incentive to buy the BT Sport package over Sky Sports.

So, why is MotoGP in trouble? Well, as we've seen previously, once a sport loses an icon or legend, general mainstream audiences jump off the ship and maybe pick up the sport again when another star rises. That is somewhat how the general audience works, as they go out and seek other sports to get attached to.

Credit: Jose Jordan

Therefore, MotoGP - being behind a paywall and losing its main star in 2021, is in trouble of losing viewers from the general audience and finding itself in a difficult situation.

Another factor to consider is that MotoGP is currently without another flagship rider - Marc Marquez, who underwent his fourth arm surgery.

Credit: @denkmit on Twitter

According to The Race MotoGP reporter Simon Patterson - MotoGP's British Grand Prix was viewed less (combined with BT Sport and ITV free-to-air figures) than the previous round of the British Superbike Championship.

When a national championship has more viewers than an international one, it calls for trouble for the sport. For those who perhaps need a comparison, this would essentially be like if the British Touring Car Championship had more viewers than a Formula 1 race.

But what do you think? Is MotoGP really in trouble? Or is this just a rough period for MotoGP? Let us know in the comments below!

1 comment

1 Comment

Aug 23, 2022

Paywall spot on, lack of big name rider crossing over into mainstream visibility also and I think a sport not as well explained at the time in commentary as F1. For the English speaking audiences Brundle is a godsend for F1, articulate and aware (as he says in interviews often) that the commentary needs to be for diehard fans and casual Sunday lunchtime viewers too. Moto GP is far more niche in terms of audience, reflecting perhaps societies interest in cars versus bikes generally. Free to air would help definetely as would a good dose of Rainey, Schwantz, Mamola, Gardner type of personalities. I believe they do exist within the current field, but somehow they are not breaking through, possibl…

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