Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have noticed the meteoric rise of internet streaming platforms over the last decade. YouTube was founded in 2005, and 13 years later it’s the second largest site in the world. 300 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. 5 billion videos are watched by 30 million users, every day.
YouTube is just one of many services. Netflix, Amazon Prime, NOW TV, DirectTV, Hulu, etc. The list is endless. The move away from traditional TV services towards internet streaming platforms is being driven by the younger generations. This generation grew up with YouTube from a young age and consider it their primary source of video content. The popularity of YouTube has even spawned a new type of celebrity – the YouTuber. Self-made millionaires, capitalizing on the internet streaming boom.
Where’s the sports?
Whilst technology companies welcomed the internet streaming age with open arms, sports lagged behind. Motorsport was particularly good example of out of date thinking, with series being hidden behind expensive satellite TV pay walls and being bumped down the TV listings to make way for other programs.
This is still something that happens today. In the UK, Channel 5 and Eurosport cover Formula E. Eurosport is of course a subscription service, whilst Channel 5 is free to air. Those who chose the Channel 5 broadcast of the Hong Kong ePrix will have noticed that despite the event being advertised as a live event, it was not. The Channel 5 Formula E coverage was “as live”, but delayed. It was delayed because children’s TV superstar, Peppa Pig, was on.
In the interest of fairness, it has to be said that Eurosport are pretty good as far as TV subscription services go. It can be purchased relatively cheaply, and the online service Eurosport Player works without a TV subscription, and on many devices (although, at the time this was written, it did not work on the Xbox One, despite being advertised as having a working app).
It’s not an ideal situation for anyone. The series wants live coverage, the fans want to watch their favourite series, but the TV channel has to cater for everyone. The less popular your series, the further down the order you’re going to get bumped. Eventually, your series is so far down the pecking order than you’ve been delayed 4 hours so that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can get a couple of episodes in.
Sportscar Racing is different
A few years ago, a wonderful thing happened. Sportscar series around the world started embracing internet streaming. All of the major series organisers now offer some sort of streaming option. ACO offers WEC, although this one is behind a paywall. But crucially, ELMS, Le Mans Cup, and the Asian Le Mans Series are free to watch.
SRO streams everything you could imagine – Blancpain GT Series, Blancpain GT Asia, GT4 Euro Cup, IGTC. Even events like the Ultracar GT1 Sports Club, which is essentially a trackday for previous generation GT cars such as the Maserati MC12. VLN and ADAC GT Masters also recently joined the fun with official streams too.
IMSA is a bit more of a grey area, and whilst they do offer free live streaming for international audiences, it may not be available in North America. Fortunately, IMSA uploads the races to YouTube days after the event, so you can relive it any time.
This streaming revolution means you can now watch races live that you would be lucky to get half an hour highlights shows on before. Whatever your sports car tastes, there’s an option for you. LMP, DPi, GT3, GT4, Touring Car, American, British, German, Asian, Nurburgring, Daytona, Bathurst, Le Mans. If you can think of it, you can probably watch it online.
This is all great stuff. The problem is…nobody knows about it. When you talk to motorsport fans, many are surprised that they could just load up YouTube and watch the European Le Mans Series. They aren’t aware that you can watch the Bathurst 12 Hours, with wonderful Radio Le Mans commentary, completely for free. If you don’t know it’s there, you won’t be watching.
The second problem is the generation gap. For some, the idea of streaming is an intimidating one. Does YouTube work on my laptop? Will it work on my tablet? What about my TV? Is it just a big hassle to watch it? Do I need to search around to find the races? If something is hard to watch, then people are less likely to watch it.
tRL TV to the rescue
tRL TV aims to simplify the streaming process. We will provide links to the official live streams, and race replays, of major sportscar series. The videos are embedded on theRacingLine to make it accessible on almost any device. tRL TV will load on any semi-modern browser (we recommend Google Chrome) and device. It will also work on mobile devices – watch the streams via tRL TV on your iOS or Android device (or Windows Phone, if you’re that one guy who is still rocking a Windows Phone).
tRL TV will also work on devices like games consoles and smart TV. Whilst games consoles browsers are not the most useable browsers on the market, the fact the console is connected to a TV means it’s an easy way to get the race on your big TV. Nurburgring 24 Hours, live on your TV? That’s an exciting thought!
Unfortunately, some series may be restricted through geoblocking. This is usually down to local television rights, and the series not being able to broadcast online whilst on TV in your country. There is nothing we can do about that, so if a series is geoblocked for you, then check your local TV listings to find out how to watch it.
What you will find on tRL TV
We plan on covering the following series –
- Le Mans 24 Hours (Tape delay & Archive)
- FIA WEC (Tape delay & Archive)
- ELMS (Live & Archive)
- Le Mans Cup (Live & Archive)
- Asian Le Mans Series (Live & Archive)
- Blancpain GT Series (Live & Archive)
- Blancpain GT Series Asia (Live & Archive)
- British GT (Live & Archive)
- Intercontinental GT Challenge (Live & Archive)
- GT4 European Cup (TBA – waiting on coverage details)
- Weather Tech Sports Car Series (Tape delay & Archive)
- Continental Sports Car Challenge (Tape delay & Archive)
- Prototype Challenge (Tape delay & Archive)
- Porsche GT3 Cups (Tape delay & Archive)
- Creventic 24H Series (Live & Archive)
- ADAC GT Masters (Live & Archive)
- Electric GT (TBA – waiting on coverage details)
- International GT Open (TBA – waiting on coverage details)
- Super GT (Live & Archive)
- VLN & Nurburgring 24 Hours (Live & Archive)
These plans are obviously subject to change, especially if the series changes the streaming platform.
Some series, such as IMSA, do not allow embedded YouTube videos for live events, and therefore are tape delay only. We will post videos if and when they are available. We’re also at the mercy of geoblocking. We can’t post a stream for your country if the provider has not made it available.
For series such as GT4 European Series and GT Open, we’re waiting to find out what streaming coverage will be available, and what language the streams will be in.
In addition to live events, we’ll post videos from series, teams and drivers from around the world – including onboard laps, season reviews and technical explanations. For those looking for full races and extended highlights only, we’ve created a separate tRL TV Full Races page that filters out all of the additional promotional content.
What you will not find on tRL TV
What we won’t do on tRL is support copyright infringing content. We are aware that there are “unofficial” live streams of events, and old races uploaded to YouTube that would be popular. But we generate copyrighted material, and it wouldn’t be right to post videos knowing that they violate the copyright holder. We do our best to ensure that the videos we use are above board. If you think we’ve made an error, then contact us and we’ll get it sorted.
We also will not work around videos that have embedding disabled. YouTube terms and conditions allow anyone to embed a video if the uploader enables the embedding option. However, this works the other way as well – if the embedding is disabled then we won’t post the video.
Lastly, we do not monetize the tRL TV posts with advertisements. The reason is twofold – firstly, adverts ruin the viewing experience and could potentially violate our own ethical advertising values. But more importantly, the video was not produced by us, and therefore it’s not right for us to monetize it. The sidebar is disabled to remove the advert, however full site ads (such as banner ads) may display. This is down to technical limitations of the software, and staff skills.
When are the races?
We provide a motorsport streaming schedule, which serves as a guide as what races are on what weekend. Some series are better than others at providing streams. Sometimes streams are late, and in some cases a race may not be available until hours after the finish. Use our streaming schedule as a guide to the weekend’s events, and watch the home page, Twitter or Facebook pages to see when a stream becomes available.
Until then, there’s plenty of content from the 2017 motorsport season available on tRL TV. We hope you’ll use tRL TV to keep up with series you enjoy, reconnect with series you miss and maybe discover something new as well.