American endurance racing fans will have a new home for the 24 Hours of Le Mans this season as FOX has opted to let the contract expire.
The world’s most famous 24-hour race has been on the FOX family of networks for the last 21 years dating all the way back to the original Speedvision. Recently the race could be watched on FOX, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Go, or after whatever Bulgarian soccer game pre-empted coverage.
Come June of this year American fans looking to watch Le Mans will have to find the new home for the race. According to RACER, the leading replacement is the Discovery-owned Velocity network. In the last year or two Velocity has established itself as the home of automotive television. Obtaining the rights to a racing series seems like the next logical step in their growth.
Why It’s Actually Great That FOX Won’t Carry The 24 Hours of Le Mans
Listen, everyone has a gripe with certain announcers or broadcasts. We all hate Tony Romo on NFL coverage. We all hate Rick Allen for NASCAR. Everyone loves Leigh Diffey and the F1 broadcast crew. Everyone has their preferences. One thing we can all agree on though;
WE ALL HATE FOX’s COVERAGE.
Not because of the announcers that they tabbed to call the race. Bob Varsha, Brian Till, etc were all great. What made FOX the worst, however, was their inability to show the race in a proper fashion. Instead of making it easy to follow fans were left working out their thumb on the remote chasing channels.
Looking for what channel the 24 Hours was on looked a lot like this:
Between the race starting on FS1 then moving to FS2 for an hour, then back to FS1 then only being on the app for an extended period to being back on FS2 but being pre-empted by soccer from some former Soviet state.
Keeping up with the race on Fox was a marathon in itself. You were guaranteed to see the start and the finish. The 22 hours in between though was a complete toss-up. You just hoped someone plugged right broadcast into the right channel because there was no one making sure the race was actually on. Like much of the motorsports on Fox they tossed in the towel a long time ago in terms of production/caring.
If Velocity does, in fact, pick the race up that would be huge for race fans. Velocity has no other contracts they have to honor or work around. The channel could literally show all 24 hours if it wanted to. You can have your own mini-marathon, pregame with some Graveyard Cars and cap it off the next day with some Barrett Jackson re-runs.
Or hop on a plane and watch the race in person. Direct flights from Cincinnati to Charles de Gaulle daily. Just saying.
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