Australian Racing Group

The 2024 Bathurst 6 Hour race will be aired on SBS (yes, on the main channel) during the Easter long weekend since this event has been run and sold separately by Australian Racing Group & not Motorsport Australia who looks after SpeedSeries. The last two Bathurst 6 Hour editions in 2022-23 was covered by Nine and Stan Sport where there was a bit of free-to-air access with the following week race highlights as well as live qualifying only last year. However, the race itself was only paywalled via Stan Sport before Motorsport Australia took back media rights control off ARG at the end of last season that saw the end of Nine/Stan covering SpeedSeries on what has been an underwhelming paid and free TV experiment, with Seven now back onboard again for all races being live & free throughout the year. It will basically be a full endurance race that runs for a few hours throughout Sunday from 11.30am to 6pm with qualifying on the day beforehand alongside a couple of other production car support categories into play including the Australian Formula Ford open-wheel series. Like SpeedSeries, I’m sure it will be a great event if you want to tune in for motorsport on the TV throughout the Easter weekend.

Speaking of SBS, they are back for another season of the Australian Superbike Championship where Chris Vermeulen will be replacing Kate Peck as the host/reporter while retaining every race highlights of the World Superbike Championship that will air the following weekend after the race (if you wish to watch the live races, it’s on Fox Sports via Foxtel and Kayo Sports) and of course the main Speedweek show too on Sunday afternoons.

Speaking of Bathurst, the Bathurst International may still go ahead later this November to round off the 2024 SpeedSeries season but unfortunately the best of the TCR drivers from around the world won’t be back here including the Sydney Motorsports Park round now being cancelled despite originally planning to do so. It’s a shame but the ongoing shipping delays worldwide has saw the organisers that run the TCR World Tour skip Australia just for this year. There is hope though of having Australia v the best of the World rivalry back again at our own backyard only at Mount Panorama in Bathurst for 2025.

And last but not least, Matt White has a new motorsports media job coming up and he will now be commentating the Supercars races on radio for SEN starting this weekend with the Bathurst 500 season-opening race alongside experienced Supercars driver James Moffatt as the expert/colour commentator. He has been in this business for a long time when he first started his career at Ten back in the early 90s, then moved to Seven between 2004-14, back to Ten for another few years until mid-2020, later appeared on Nine for the first time over the last two years via Stan Sport for SpeedSeries before the competition moved back to Seven & now he’s back behind the mic again this time for radio in Supercars. Don’t forget he’s done a lot of stuff with SEN since he left Ten again like hosting his own daily sports talk show during weekday mornings including rugby league and cricket commentary. So still plenty to offer, especially when he returned to commentary for a short time filling-in for Richard Craill late last year in the Australian Trans-Am Series. We wish him all the best in his new role.

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So there we have it! SpeedSeries including Trans-Am and TCR Australia will return to the Seven Network next season after two years out at Nine through its paid streaming service Stan Sport as well as some free-to-air on 9Gem/9Go & also 9Now. Every round will be live and free on its free streaming platform 7Plus as well as through 2-3 hour TV windows on 7mate. Plus, there should be free to view on-demand replays, the Bathurst 6 Hour Easter race and mid-week to next weekend TV highlights of each round.

Gotta say that the paid and free content split did not work out when SpeedSeries is not on the same level as Supercars, even if Fox/Kayo did share the series with Seven instead of Nine/Stan who did a great job covering SpeedSeries. It’s just that the change of media rights hands back to Motorsport Australia recently from Australian Racing Group makes it complicated when most of their sanctioned competitions are on Seven.

But having everything free-to-air is massive so every Motorsport fan here can check this out whether it’s watching Live or on-demand at anytime, anywhere throughout the year. It also remains to be seen who will be back next year when it comes to the on-air talent where most of them will be staying on except with just 1-2 changes, which I think Mark Beretta will be back for Matt White since he’s always been on Seven with Motorsport as well as reading sports reports for the Sunrise brekky program for a long time.

Other than the Nine and Stan exit, it looks like the S5000s and Touring Car Masters will be following them out the door as they could end up being a regular part of the Supercars schedule. Although the Australian GT World challenge will look to stay on the SpeedSeries categories list after SRO has taken full control recently alongside the Australian GT4 Series.

For now, you can catch these last two-hour replays from the Bathurst International season finale weekend on 9Go tomorrow at noon, as well as midnight Sunday 12.20am that is followed by an hour highlights from the 6 Hours of Bahrain (also a season finale round) in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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I just checked the TV guide today via the Foxtel website, where the free-to-air highlights of the 2022 ARG SpeedSeries season will be on Wednesday, March 23 at 10 am-12 pm on 9Gem.

Speedcafe reported before the season began last month that the ARG SpeedSeries highlights for the remaining six rounds on 9Gem throughout the year would slot during midweek on prime time, as a way to grow the series’ fanbase, as well as increase exposure to competitors, teams and advertisers.

Unfortunately, it’s going to play on a daytime morning which means most people would have to miss out due to work, with no on-demand content to view afterwards on the free 9Now streaming service.

Perhaps, it would be best slotted for 90 minutes between 7.30 to 9 pm on a Tuesday via 9Gem; that way, it would be a perfect time to help motorsport and causal sports fans reflect the high and low moments from the usual race weekend.

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Huge progress from Stan Sport and the Nine Network today with their Motorsports content, not only they added Formula E last week in addition to IndyCar, World Rally Championship & World Endurance Championship but they also just secured the Australian Racing Group’s SpeedSeries competition.

But it won’t be the same though unlike previous TV deals with SBS and Seven Network, when all seven races throughout 2022 will be behind a paywall on Stan Sport. Meanwhile, Nine will air the opening race live at Symmons Plains in Tasmania next weekend alongside one-hour highlights shows a week later after every round.

It’s good news if you’re a Motorsports fan willing to pay $20 a month for all of the auto racing/motoring content Stan can offer that includes a new season of same day Top Gear episodes. However, not only they will have to wait one week to watch the remaining round’s highlights for free but even though some subscribed to Stan Sport, they may have to fork out another $25 a month at Kayo for Formula 1, Supercars & MotoGP.

Then there’s the beauty of competition in a bid to try and boost subscribers when the Formula 1 rights are up for renewal at the end of this year in Australia, Kayo/Foxtel have been reported several times as the winner to extend their contract that goes back to 2015 with Network 10 but it’s still not official just yet.

If Nine/Stan managed to beat Foxtel for the Formula 1 rights, it will work out a similar mix of free and paid content model such as every race live on Stan plus the Australian Grand Prix and a few selected races simulcasted on Nine.

For now, Motorsport is back on Nine since the World Rally Championship was previously there during the Australian Round a few years ago.

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