They say that you can’t put a price on love. Obviously ‘they’ have never tried haggling with a bike dealer. Or renewing a MotoGP.com VideoPass.
I signed up a while ago. Due to my living situation and dislike of all things Murdoch, I couldn’t subscribe to the likes of Sky Sports. And the VideoPass seemed like the perfect solution. Not only could I watch the current races with live timing. But I could pick different cameras, and commentary. Or watch races from back to 1992 (although some are just highlight packages, sadly.)
And the mobile app was great – meaning I could keep up with things easily when I wasn’t in front of my computer. It’s also the perfect way to show various people how exciting MotoGP was when I was out and about for work, or with family and friends.
Sadly my subscription has run out and it’s time to renew. At which point I felt a sharp, stabbing pain right in the wallet.
For the 2017 Season, the MotoGP Videopass costs 199.99 Euros. Which goes up and down with the current UK exchange rate, but right now is £173.73.
Let me just say that again. To watch MotoGP on my computer this season, would cost £173.73.
Now you could argue that’s fair. After all, it’s an 18 round series. So that works out at £9.65 per round. And with three classes, that works out at £3.21 per race.
The problem is that you can’t pay per round. So you end up staring at a massive outlay at the start of the season, and comparing it to other entertainment. Or paying 4 monthly payments of £44.29.
- Xbox Live 12 Month Subscription £39.99 (Including 1-2 free games per month)
- Amazon Prime UK 12 Month Subscription £79 (Including 1 day delivery and 15,000 movies/tv episodes)
But that’s not necessarily fair, when MotoGP is a niche sport. How about:
- WWE Network. £9.99 per month.
- Eurosport Player Until 2017: £29.99 (Normally £59.99)
- World Superbikes – 69.90 Euros, or 14.90 Euros per month.
That right. You can watch World Superbikes for 1/3 of the price of MotoGP. Or via Eurosport, watch World Superbikes, British Superbikes, and some other sports you don’t care about for 1/5 of the price.
MotoGP Pricing Out Fans?
Who owns MotoGP? That’s Dorna. And who also owns World Superbikes? That’ll be Dorna again.
The Dorna site points out that the Live TV coverage of Grand Prix is done in-house to supply television partners. So they’re already there. Having watched the MotoGP VideoPass for some time, the only specific requirement has been for the in-house commentary team.
As much as I actually prefer the MotoGP commentators, I still can’t justify spending three times as much for that as I would for World Superbikes.
Having worked, and basically lived, online for around 20 years, there’s a simple cause and effect for piracy. If what you want is available legally for a reasonable price without any hassle, that will cause piracy to drop. For instance, the likes of Spotify have reduced music piracy because most people would rather pay £10 a month or put up with adverts than spend their time torrenting files.
Have an artifically high price? That’s what encourages people to invest their own time finding someone illegally streaming or uploading an event. People will constantly find ways around any technology that attempts to restrict them if the reward is significant enough.
Obviously I don’t know how much revenue Dorna make from the MotoGP Videopass at the moment, or whether they care about growing their online audience. But what I do know is that it was effectively money for almost nothing, and a great way for people to be able to promote a sport which is still a relative niche compared to football, F1 etc.
Sadly it’ll only be a drop in subscribers that might convince them to change their minds. Which means legally waiting for the Channel 5 highlights package on a Monday night. By which time social media, and MotoGP.com’s own emails, will have inevitably told me who won and what happened.
So with a potentially great season ahead, it looks like to me like MotoGP pricing out fans…