Roads: New Isle of Man TT schedule and live broadcasting revealed
Starting in 2022 the Isle of Man TT is set to undergo the biggest and most significant era of change and development ever undertaken at the event.
While the lack of racing in 2020 and 2021 has been a body blow to riders, teams and fans alike, TT organisers have remained driven and embarked on extensive process to improve and are now set to deliver wide reaching changes in a bid to develop all areas of the event.
For 2022 the headline changes are a new Fan Park, revised technical regulations in Sidecar and Lightweight class – which now becomes Supertwins. But while this is giving fans more of what they want in terms of competitive racing, the headline grabbing news is that there will be live coverage broadcast on the TT’s own channel.
TT boss Paul Phillips explains:
“Delivering everything live is massive, but this isn’t streaming. This is two helicopters, a massive amount of fixed location cameras, kerb cameras, graphic packages, on site studio, more presenter talent. If you’re a TT fan it will blow your mind and exceed your expectations.”
The current TT fan base is estimated to be approximately three million. As of 2022 everyone with an internet connection will be able to watch the TT on the OTT channel – that’s four billion people and counting with a mix of free and paid for content available. With traditional highlights packages continuing to run on TV.
While the live practice and race coverage will take the entire event to another level in 2022 there are even bigger changes set for 2023. The most significant is an all new schedule which will see two weekends of racing with the blue riband Senior TT moving from Friday to Saturday, meaning that for the first time the racing action will be run over two weekends. There is also the addition of two more races, taking the schedule from eight to 10 races with the addition of a second Superstock race and a second Supertwins race.
“The changes we are making are for the fans, because they’ve told us what they like and what they don’t.” explained Phillips. “What they love is TT racing and we’re going to give them more of that. They love access and we’re going to give them more of that. They don’t like long days so we’re going to shorten them, they don’t like not racing track action so we’ll stop that and they don’t like over commercialisation of the event so we’re going to adjust that.”
“18 months away without racing has given us time to implement changes. We haven’t sat around and rested on our laurels. There is no expectation that the TT will be any different after being away for two years. But hopefully what we’re going to do is bring it back and it be way better than before.”
But while there is a clear motivation about improving the event and making it bigger and better there is also a clear desire not to lose the history and culture in terms of the riders that make it such a unique and special event.
“Ultimately our success relies on that culture remaining.” continued Phillips. “I think the nature and the inherent risk draws these types of riders in that are unusual and I don’t really see that changing. There is no desire from us to change that. Fans now expect deeper access regardless of what sport they’re into. We have to deliver behind the scenes it’s what fans are interested in. Riders like Peter Hickman, Michael Dunlop and John McGuinness deserve to be very, very well known internationally for what they do because they are brave, interesting and fantastically talented."
Every lap live - Live TV coverage will be state of the art featuring helicopters, on screen graphics, kerb cams, onsite studio and will show every lap from first practice to the final lap of the Senior TT
Higher tech - New technical regulations for 2022 in Sidecar and Lightweight to allow for different engine configurations and capacities. Two more races (second Superstock and Supertwin) added in 2023 bringing the total to 10. Possible move to new Supersport rules in 2023 with the inclusion of larger capacity twins such the Ducati V2.
New schedule - 2023 race schedule will last eight days and have ten races. Two races on the Saturday, one race on Sunday, two on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, two on Friday with the Senior TT on Saturday. The amount of laps for each race is yet to be confirmed.
New ferry - All new ferry will come online in 2023 which in addition to the existing ferries will give capacity to get an additional 3000 people on and off the Island each day during the two-week event. A massive benefit in getting fans off the Island after the racing finishes.
Better accommodation - 46,000 people attend TT each year. The aim is not to increase peak numbers but to improve travel and accommodation to maintain high numbers throughout the event and prevent the huge drop off that sees 2/3 of fans leave before the flagship Senior TT.