Why is Someone Starting a Sim Racing TV Channel?

wtfI’m fully aware that a portion of the greater sim racing community can be a tad delusional at times, but I think this example right here isn’t going to be topped anytime soon by virtually anyone with a functioning brain. Earlier today, I received an anonymous message from someone using a temporary email address notifying me of the upcoming Sim Racing TV station, a legitimate television channel you’ll be able to check out in the near future as part of the basic Freesat package so long as you’re paired up with Sky UK as your telecommunications provider.

Totally disregarding the fact that SPEED Channel – a 24 hour motorsports network focused on real life auto racing – was taken off the air due to slumping ratings and restructured as the all-encompassing Fox Sports, someone within our community believed that an entire station centering around virtual race cars aimed at a drastically smaller audience than those who loved Speed Channel in its prime – would somehow be successful in any way, shape, or form. At the moment, they are focused on selling advertisement space.

Good luck.

unnamedThis is by far the stupidest fucking thing anyone has ever done in our community; an incomprehensibly bad idea that will go down as little more than the result of too many Red Bulls consumed in too short of a time span. I understand that occasionally, we run into sim racers with more money than brains, but there is no logical reason as to why Sim Racing TV would even have a partial chance of success. And rather than continue to throw out insults at the creators in a late-night tirade, I’ll instead explain why there were at least four reasons this idea should have never left the drawing board.

ttvYouTube exists. I have no desire to wait until a very specific time in the evening to watch an EmptyBox commentary, or a review from Shaun Cole of The SimPit, and have their work split up with intrusive commercials. YouTube lets me catch an iRacing event a few friends are racing in as it’s happening, or, even better, I can dig through the archives to view the entire broadcast at my own leisure.

Traditional television doesn’t let you do that. And if a league is streaming their race in high definition via YouTube, yet the commentators suck or the racing itself isn’t very competitive, I can turn it off and find another sim racing-related video that does entertain me. That won’t happen on a dedicated TV station. You’re forced to sit through it until the next program comes on, and given how long some of the GT endurance races can be, you’re looking at basically the entire day consumed by one virtual race.

fvNot all sim racing-related content is created equal. Let’s be real here – a whole bunch of leagues broadcast their online races, but not all of them do a stand-up job of it, to the point where I feel like chilling on the sofa and taking in an online event as a spectator. In fact, most live events range from barely acceptable to downright horrible, as commentators fight with poor audio quality or suspension of disbelief issues, such as deciding whether to pretend obvious server issues are “rain delays” in an effort to save face for their developer of choice.

Finding unique quality content to fill an entire 24-hour cycle will be next to impossible for Sim Racing TV, especially considering a lot of guys within the community – myself included – produce content in their spare time and don’t adhere to a set production schedule compared to something like Mythbusters or The Simpsons. From a logistics standpoint, this is going to be a pain in the ass for SRTV overlords, and given sim racing doesn’t have a huge following, you’re looking at trying to woo a fraction of a fraction of auto racing fans.

Jun 27, 2015; Fontana, CA, USA; General view of spectators in attendance as IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud (22) and Helio Castroneves (3) lead the field before the start of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The popularity of real world auto racing is in a sharp decline. Above is a shot from the 2015 IndyCar event at Auto Club Speedway in California. Despite establishing itself as the greatest IndyCar race ever and setting a series record for the number of lead changes, just take a look at those grandstands. If the target audience of Sim Racing TV is downright indifferent to the existence of auto racing in general – whether it be on television or in real life – how in God’s name do you expect these same people to care about virtual racing featuring a bunch of faceless nerds on an iRacing server?

lol-vs-iracing

Sim Racing as an eSport has simply not taken off to the extent of other competitive online games. Look, I enjoy watching my bros participate in streamed league races regardless of the sim they choose to drive, but let’s be realistic about the audience numbers – I’ve tuned into iRacing Peak Anti-Freeze Series broadcasts on Tuesday nights, and seen the number dip as low as 250 active viewers. This is pathetic, and simply does not warrant a dedicated television channel.

There are more people involved in the actual competition – such as stewards, spotters, setup builders, and livery designers – than there are spectating the event. Factor out the number of family members, teammates with an iPad next to the monitor, and/or close personal friends viewing these broadcasts for the hell of it, and that number drops below 100 on the official account of the simulator itself. On the flip side, League of Legends – what many consider to be the most popular eSport at the moment – saw 8.5 million people tune into the 2013 World Championship matches. TheVerge.com notes that this number was almost sixteen times the amount of viewers than the 2012 London Olympics received a year earlier. Based on that data alone, who do you think deserves a television channel: Sim Racing, or League of Legends?

r3e

Now to ensure we’re not manipulating numbers and intentionally misleading people about the overall popularity of sim racing, some events, such as the Mercedes-Benz sponsored RaceRoom Racing Experience DTM championship, were broadcast live and reeled in an impressive number of viewers on Facebook.

However, this is largely in part due to the one-off spectacle the German car manufacturer held, placing participants in identically prepared pretend cockpits, and leveling the playing field by refusing to allow custom car setups – a staple of competitive sim racing. With the stream appearing on the prestigious brand’s official Facebook page, it’s no wonder over two hundred and fifty thousand people took a gander at the commotion – every small European child with a Facebook account probably “Liked” their page out of boredom. The chances of a large promoter holding an entire season of these events is slim to none, relegating simulator broadcasts to the depths of YouTube. Coverage and support of most online competitions simply doesn’t look like this.

rfactor2-2016-02-06-20-32-36-96Sim Racing just isn’t popular. I genuinely love this hobby, but we can’t deny that we’re an obscure niche interest compared to first person shooters or real-time strategy games. Piloting a car around a race track next to a handful of other opponents is difficult, and doing it without any seat of the pants feeling thanks to sitting in front of a PC monitor is even more challenging.

There are traditionally only 2,500 people on the iRacing service at any given moment, and most of the individuals currently racing on this lovely Monday evening are the same who populated the servers in the spring of 2012. This genre is a hard sell to virtually anybody. You buy a bunch of expensive hardware, only to crash in the first corner. The common masses which flock to Call of Duty or League of Legends, they don’t like that. They will never like that. It will always be Ray Alfalla and Greger Huttu stomping around on iRacing; there aren’t a thousand people who practice every day to take their spot – hell, there aren’t even thirty.

We aren’t an eSport. We’re lucky if a modern simulator eclipses one thousand concurrent players at the same time. You basically need to sign up for a league to race other human opponents, as public lobbies are virtually non-existent in isiMotor simulators. If we were swimming in viewers, and sim racers were being recruited by amateur racing teams en mass, then sure, a dedicated television station is by all means justified. But none of this is happening in the slightest.

We don’t need a sim racing TV station. There aren’t enough potential viewers to make it a viable option. It’s a complete nonsensical decision, and I genuinely feel bad for anyone delusional enough to sink money into this endeavor. If you are curious about checking out the full advertisement pitch, you can download the PDF File here:

sim-racing-tv-media-kit

 

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64 thoughts on “Why is Someone Starting a Sim Racing TV Channel?

  1. These guys are better off starting a Twitch or YouTube channel and get viewers from there, than creating a TV channel that nobody will watch.

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  2. I completely agree with this. If you can’t get people interested in real racing, what moron would think starting a channel devoted to pretend racing is worth it? This is beyond stupid.

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    1. DDP, while your in the hospital screaming in pain, your wife will be on her back screaming my name!

      The Real Scott Steiner “Big Poppa Pump”

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  3. Jesus, before you fired off all that snark, would it have killed you to read the damn press release? It’s NOT a sim racing TV channel; the channel is Tubed TV, and “Sim Racing TV” is a programme or collection of programmes on said channel.

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      1. As someone who wouldn’t go out of their way to sit down and watch sim racing videos on Youtube, I certainly might flick over to the channel once and a while if sim racing was on. Nobody is forcing you to watch it.

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      2. If Stuart is correct, and I assume he is, this is actually fantastic.

        While a channel is obviously ridiculous, a weekly hour long program (akin to the old ABC Wide World of Sports show) could highlight the best content available, and potentially grow the community in the process.

        When packaged properly, motorsport, and perhaps sim racing as well, can be worthwhile viewing.

        There may also come a day when sim racers can ghost race real events, which could be a game changer for the hobby.

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        1. You’d think its great, the sport attempts to get bigger and all james can do it criticise and run down somebody else attempts to bring the game into the wider community and chase their own ambition.
          Sad….

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            1. All sports are games, if you haven’t noticed. Athletic sports are hosted by the Olympic GAMES. The song goes “The good old Hockey GAME”. In Bull Durham the pissed off manager describes baseball as a “simple game”.

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    1. “Sim Racing TV willl [sic] be part of the new channel, Tubed TV launching on Sky 212. Tubed TV is operated by
      award-winning broadcast TV services business, Information TV. The channel is available from September
      2016 on digital satellite (BSkyB and Freesat), digital terrestrial (Freeview) and via broadband on the
      internet.
      Information TV currently broadcasts on five Sky Digital channels; Information TV, Showcase TV® (Channel
      212)”

      Notice it says they broadcast Showcase TV on 212, and are going to broadcast Tubed TV on 212. They already have a channel running (it seems to be showing World Poker Tour amongst other things); this is simply a rebrand which includes bringing some eSport shows to the lineup.

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      1. China would dig this if there is some China dolls and a China Gregor Huttu somewhere in there! Just give the rights to HUAHUAHUA Media or ALIBABA pictures…

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  4. Its very difficult to make a exciting show when all the products you utilise ” in this case sim racing titles” are boring as hell 🙂 in most cases !

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    1. Watching a race (real life or sim) is typically more boring for the common viewer than to watch any other athletic sport, and only the most important ones are more watched and discussed, formula 1, moto gp, le mans, and then in usa there’s nascar as well.

      Following a youtuber or even on twitch that produces sim racing content is often more interesting than watching live sim races, since we’re not at the point where these races mean anything for the outsiders. But that’s because we’re on the internet and using a pc, our attention is more nervous. Watching something on TV is different. But this will be another niche channel like the many more that already exist on tv.

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    1. I guess the country you’re in doesn’t have good content on the national channels. But there’s still sports (unless premium paid), movies, series (typically outdated), and the stuff on nat geo, discovery, history channel, etc.
      I don’t know which country you’re in, but most developed ones already have digital tv box that has live guide, dvr, and rewatch programs in the last week without need to record yourself.
      But possibly there’s also option on your tv to subscribe to netflix, amazon, and such to watch more up to date series and movies.

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  5. I like R3E, wish they’d fix the destruction derby AI… That event from Hockenheim was downright depressing though.. One of the DTM drivers played in chase cam view and right before the end two cars spin out and bounce like balls without any damage and you can see Robert Wickens grinning, the look on his face is thank f!ck that’s over… Daniel Juncadella who supposedly worked with the studio on the DTM content (there’s a crappy video of him commenting on gameplay somewhere) finished last or something… Would have been better if I hadn’t watched the highlights of it, much less live…

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  6. Complete waste of bandwidth. The simdad spending slope really has no end – first you’re spending thousands on iRacing content, then a direct drive wheel and hydraulic pedals so you can become a better driver, then a $50000 motion simulator so you can really get the “on track” experience, and next thing you know you’re funding an entire satellite television channel for the other 150 people who take racing videogames as seriously as you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder what would happen if took this to the extreme & got one of our allies to write articles pushing something ridiculously expensive & useless on the sim dads, just to see who’s dumb enough to fall for it.

      Maybe we could start a service where underage kids could upload pretend sponsorship pitches to a database, and sim dads could rate them and “give them a shot” by purchasing secondary iRacing accounts for them as a way around the age restriction. It would simulate the team ownership aspect of hiring a young driver while being as incomprehensibly nonsensical as a TV station/time slot for sim racing stuff you can find on YouTube.

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  7. James your looking at this all wrong,SIM racing is real,it’s cheaper than real life and you can get hero cards,and you can claim to be as good as real life racers.

    This may do more damage than good to the genre

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    Liked by 1 person

  9. And why exactly watching racing should be popular? It might be interesting to do it yourself, yes. Watching others doing hundreds of laps over a short closed circuit? Fukket. It was fun before Niki Lauda screwed everything up. Now it’s not. Bear with it. Just go watch some rally instead.

    “Racing online” is even more pathetic.

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    1. At least blame Stewart and not Lauda, Lauda has pretty much never given a fuck in his life.

      Motor racing’s biggest problem on TV right now is that the TV coverage for pretty much anything but F1 and maybe MotoGP is abhorrent. The current broadcasters are perfectly content to show the NASCAR points leaders riding around in circles for 50 laps instead of the guys running 3 wide for 12th because they have 200% bought into the meme that mainstream sports fans just want to see the big names and the stories. This one applies to F1 too, but camera angles no longer showcase the cars and the event so much as sponsor logos. After spending decades getting actual talented broadcast crews with knowledgeable announcers and eloquent colour commentary by the 90s they’ve inexplicably stepped back to a generic sportscaster that has no idea what the fuck he’s saying paired with sport retirees that can barely speak. This means the serious fans have lost interest and new fans with an appreciation for the sport itself aren’t grown, only the people looking for overtime moments and man drama.

      Just compare these two laps

      In one the camera is always as zoomed in on the action as it can be. In the other nearly every camera position is held on a wide still to get the Verizon or Toyota banner on screen for two seconds. Even the onboards are zoomed out a mile for no apparent reason. The cars are nearly the same speed but with the shit angles and quiet track mics they seem slow as shit. It’s a fucking miracle anyone still watches racing on TV at all.

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      1. May I add that almost every time I see some onboard footage from TV racing, the sound doesn’t match the image. It must be like 90-95% of the time. Camera from one car, audio from a different car.

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      2. That’s a very good point. Now that you mention it its so obnoxious watching the modern race and having the camera so obviously focusing on the logos instead of the cars for half the shot.

        Fucking hate corporate overkill.

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  10. James why do you have to bag everything and show a nasty distain to anything you don’t like?
    Cant you ever be happy for somebody, what skin is it off your back?
    You take so much pleasure from the thought of others failing, EVERY new project or game that comes out you attack, and lets be honest, read your own blog again, its a rude and unclassy attack, its simply not needed bro, its why you’re never taken seriously by anybody in the community.

    Its a lot easier to attack and run people down than to support and encourage.

    I think you are so self absorbed mate that you think anything thats done that you did not create is only worthy of distain and attack.

    Everything that happens in the comments section here is a product of you, i think your general nastiness brings it upon yourself mate, seriously take a decent look at yourself.

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      1. Im not stefano, im just a guy who’s been reading this place for long enough to see the pattern.
        I like a lot of James observations, he’s a good writer at times but fancy going through your life attacking everybody else passion and dreams, yes some deserve to cop heaps because they deliver shit and rip the general public off, but it doesn’t matter to james,its like he has no heart, no repect, no grace or fairness, nothing encouraging, i used to think he was ok, now im starting to think theres something not right in his head.
        If you go back and read through PrC you can see it, i think its actually very sad, he’s in a position to new a shining light in the community, somebody people respect, but who would after the constant nasty arrogant blogs he writes here, its like listening to the little spoilt kid at school who bullied the others and put them down every time they had an idea?

        James, if you don’t know it, you have a mental health problem, its simply not normal to write with the distain and nastiness you write with, its simply not normal.

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          1. Who ever the fuck stefano is im not him, i do not live in europe nor do i have a gay name like stefano.

            Seriously james, any psychologist that read your blogs would be able to tell you that you have a mental health problem, you are so angry and destructive towards everything, it says a lot about you and the way you see the world, change for yourself mate.

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  11. Speaking for sim racing magazines.

    Google: “Sim Racer Volume 1 Issue 11”

    That’s the latest issue, for the previous issues just change 11 with 10,9,8 etc

    😉

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  12. Correct, but how can you fix it?

    I say the only way to generate stoke would be team racing.
    A team dynamic would be the only way to improve what is essentially a lonely hobby.

    I do think stuff like GT Sport championships that offer sponsored rides as a prize pull legit numbers for good reason though.

    Like

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