GoPro has recently brought some real innovation to coverage of sporting events like the Tour de France. Now, through novel camera placement and the influence of the biggest name in the sport, there is reason to believe the same will come to MotoGP.
Last year, GoPro signed a deal with Tour de France organizers and added a dynamic new perspective to what was traditionally a pretty stodgy spectator sport. The formula sounds familiar to those of us coming from a motorsports background, with cameras on bikes and riders for on-board footage. When the field is usually 180 riders strong and spread out over miles, this becomes a tricky and expensive proposition, though. Adding relatively inexpensive, easy-to-position personal cameras transformed the broadcast. No longer was footage limited to a handful of motorcycle-mounted camera operators, and spectators got to see what the riders see, bunched up and racing just inches apart, as you can see in this video.
What does this have to do with motorcycles? Well, this past weekend at the German Grand Prix, GoPro signed Valentino Rossi as their most recent sponsored professional athlete. Hopefully, this will expand MotoGP coverage for years to come and add a dynamic new perspective to connect with new fans.
Sure, the on-bike camera angles and footage will be up to the same high level we’ve come to expect from GoPro productions, but it’s the possibility of new behind-the-scenes access that stirs up excitement. Grand Prix racing already has the huge benefit of close racing and great broadcasting, but access to the pits and paddock areas is extremely limited on TV, the MotoGP VideoPass, and in person.
I’m hoping this deal means that hardcore fans can enjoy increased footage of what goes on between the sessions on track. There is the possibility of having an in-depth technical analysis by strapping a camera to some of the team mechanics. The on-track footage can improve as well; since the cameras are less expensive, they can be placed in more precarious (read: exciting) locations. Say, recessed in the curbing where riders’ knees go down?
GoPro's influence and the quality of its productions could also attract new sets of eyes. New angles provide more excitement, and that excitement hooks someone who otherwise might not even watch racing. And who knows, new viewers for motorcycle racing may even result in more new riders on the road. Now that’s something we should all be excited about.
Rossi with a chest-mounted Hero4 for a race weekend? Can’t wait.