Next year's Isle of Man TT could be the first to be watched live around the globe as a new broadcast deal looks set to revolutionise the way fans interact with the 112 year-old event.
Two Hollywood-based companies have formed a new Isle of Man company – Global Motorsports Ventures – to develop content for TV, film, online streaming and gaming platforms.
Pilgrim Media and Digital Circus have partnered in the new company to produce a comprehensive coverage package of the TT, including the groundbreaking live broadcast of the 2019 event.
Pilgrim is run by Craig Piligian responsible for hit series including American Chopper and Fast N’ Loud and the CEO of Digital Media Circus is former Discovery Channel President Clark Bunting whose many credits include The Cold Blue and Yellowstone Live.
No confirmation of the channels or media for the live or highlights packages in 2019 have been confirmed at this stage. A new contract to distribute TT TV coverage was signed with NorthOne Television in July this year after a tender process that commenced in May 2018.
NorthOne sold exclusive UK TV rights to ITV4 from 2009 to 2018.
Isle of Man Government Department of Enterprise Minister Laurence Skelly said: “The Department will continue with all the existing rights contracts in place – such as those to produce the highlights programmes and distribute these globally.”
Mr Skelly also confirmed that Global would not be receiving any financial aid from the Isle of Man Government. In an interview with Manx Radio, Mr Skelly described the deal as giving the company a year to bring their plans to fruition.
The feasibility of broadcasting the TT races live has always been severely limited by the nature of the 37-mile TT circuit. The challenge of transmitting live images from multiple remote locations and a helicopter has so far been seen as the main commercial, as well as technical, hurdle.
But a comprehensive and successful test of transmitting live pictures from the most challenging TT locations and the helicam during TT2018 has illustrated that live coverage can be viable. The 2018 tests using the latest broadcasting technology, were conducted by the consortium responsible for TT TV production, at no cost to the IOM Government, during each day’s racing and witnessed with some amazement by guests in the VIP hospitality unit.