With World Superbike's US TV package changing homes for the 2013 season, the very real prospect that the DMG series won't have any TV after Daytona and MotoGP's live status on Speed still officially unknown, it's interesting to read opinions from fans wondering why a big television network doesn't scoop up these two-wheeled properties and "do motorcycle racing right" on TV. These heart-in-the-right-place fans seem to believe that just about any motorcycle roadrace on TV would pull in "a million" viewers.
It's an interesting question: why isn't a huge network beating down the door of DMG, WSBK or even MotoGP? One possible roadblock might be motorcycle roadracing's seemingly abysmal TV ratings.
In 2012, World Superbike races on Speed averaged 90,000 viewers, MotoGP averaged 68,000 viewers per race and DMG/AMA averaged 87,000 viewers per race. AMA/DMG ratings have been "flat" for the last two years while MotoGP ratings on Speed dropped thirty percent in the last year.
So where are the million viewers that some fans feel are just the low hanging fruit on the motorsports TV tree? At the moment they don't seem to exist for motorcycle roadracing.
One might suggest that Speed is a smaller network and won't ever draw Superbowl 2012 numbers (108 million viewers) but this is not the Speedvision of 1998 when TV maverick Roger Werner and friends were hoping to one day get the network into five million homes. Speed is in over eighty million homes now and is more mainstream than ever.
For comparative numbers of niche sports, Major League Soccer averages 311,000 viewers.