SPEED to be Replaced by Fox Sports 1; Future of Televised Motorcycle Racing in US in Doubt

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Fox Sports Media Group announced it is relaunching the Speed channel as Fox Sports 1, shifting focus away from motorsports to more mainstream sports.

Speed will officially change to Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 17, becoming a 24-hour sports channel competing against the likes of ESPN, the CBS Sports Network and the NBC Sports Network. The change had been rumored to be coming for some time now, gaining steam in October 2012 when Speed lost the U.S. broadcasting rights to Formula 1 racing. Speed also lost the rights to air World Superbike racing which has since been picked up by beIN Sport.

Fox Sports 1 has already signed up the broadcast rights to a number of sports properties including college basketball, college football, soccer and UFC. A new rights agreement with Major League Baseball takes effect in 2014.

“Our ‘secret,’ admittedly a very poorly kept one, is now revealed,” says Eric Shanks, co-president and chief operating officer of FSMG. “Fans are ready for an alternative to the establishment, and our goal for FS1 is to provide the best in-game experience possible, complemented by informative news, entertaining studio shows and provocative original programming.”

As for racing coverage, the only motorsports property confirmed in the announcement is NASCAR. RoadRacingWorld reports Speed has the rights to MotoGP for the 2013 season which extends past the Aug. 17 changeover date, though that is no guarantee that it will be retained. In recent years, Speed also held the television rights to AMA Supercross and AMA Superbike. It remains to be seen what will happen to the U.S. television rights to these and other motorcycle racing properties.

If Fox Sports 1 does air MotoGP or other motorcycle properties, viewers may get to see races uninterrupted by commercials as FSMG says it will expand use of the new “double box” commercial format. The “double box” format displays divides the screen into two parts with commercials airing in the larger section. The smaller second section meanwhile continues to air footage of the event. Fox experimented with this format during coverage of NASCAR and other sports and seems happy with its results.

[Source: Fox Sports Media Group]

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  • Matt

    First they play all NASCAR, now they drop everything? Speed has been disappointing for years this just tops the cake!

  • John A. Stockman

    Ever since they became the nascar channel, it’s gone in the toilet. Rick Miner said when they were going to add nascar “Don’t worry, we won’t become the nascar channel.” He LIED. They drop all the 2-wheel support shows and added way too much nascar. Some nascar stick-idiot cooking in the pits? C’mon. Yeah that’s what racing fans want, a cooking/BBQ show. Plus all the ridiculous “reality” shows? It’s not reality if they know the cameras are there! Motorcycle racing is so denigrated here in the US, which comes from the general public’s misunderstanding and disdain of motorcycles. Doesn’t seem to be a problem in European or Asian countries, but here, all we get is clone cars going around in a circle, nose-to-tail. Thanks to the MotoGP Pass and beIN Sports WSBK coverage, I can dump Speed altogether after this season’s Supercross and maybe Motocross coverage. The way they interrupted MotoGP and WSBK last year, right in the middle of the races for nascar “news” was a punch in the face for motorcycle racing enthusiasts. Way to disrespect the fans and the rights holders, who allowed you to show the races in the first place. No wonder you lost F1 and WSBK…and where is the AMA racing this year? Daytona is probably all we’ll get. DMG ran it into the ground by wanting it to be “like nascar”, and then Speed nailed the lid on & poured the dirt on top. Since all the USA seems to want is ball sports and nascar, they’ll most likely be successful with Fox Sports 1. I’ll close with a quote from John Surtees: “Children play with balls and sticks, men race and real men race motorcycles.”

  • Glenn

    I remember a time when Speedvision showed good shows like the History of Motorsport, old/older races of all types, fantastic! They had rally car, WSBK, all three classes of the G.P’s,sometimes four. They also showed Aus. Superbike, etc.,etc.! Now, you get 95% crap. Wrecked, Can you beat a Redneck? Oh brother. The time is ripe for a new Channel to come in and clean up. I wouldn’t have thought it possible ten years ago, that anyone could challenge Speed. But now it is time to put it out of it’s misery!

  • weldon mcham

    Iliked the old speed.IF motocycle racing gone so am I!!!

  • Dave

    I can hardly believe what crap I am reading we all want more and are going to end up with nothing Speed/ Fox 1 what ever give your heads a shake this year finally we are getting more supercross live coverage I am thinking great finally a move in the right direction hopefully Moto GP gets more live coverage and now this. Very disappointing to say the least

  • deb

    Hick that I may be, I love Nascar. The more the better and other types of racing. NOT motorcycles Men only race until they have too many broken bones and one too many cycles have landed on top of them or been run over by others. those are called boys.

  • John A. Stockman

    Well, deb, apparently your nascar-addled thought mechanism has clouded your common sense. Never forget: “Children play with sticks and balls, men race and REAL men race motorcycles.” And that’s from a person who has successfully raced both cars and motorcycles. I think he knows a bit more about that scenario that you. Strapped in a car with a full roll cage, multiple-point seat belts and a fire-suppression system is for BOYS…putting your life on the line with only your skills, helmet and leathers to keep you from certain death is for real MEN and WOMEN. Too much nascar obviously strangles the thinking process, as evidenced by your own immature comment.

  • Mike Walsh

    I can’t believe what I am reading. First. NASCAR SUCKS! Over paid babies.I miss the days of sprint car (thursday night thunder)motorcycle flat track racing,F1 racing and now they want do do away with MotoGP racing? Everyone is right that the speed channel boring! Do not take away the only thing I love. Motorcycle racing. I ride and I was a racer. As for anothers comment’s. Nascar-another left turn another left and another left turn. Sure is easy to follow don’t ya think? Try real racing Motorcycles for ever!