Craig Murto: Were you watching?

Craig Murto

The Supercross motorcycle series raced in Atlanta on Saturday night, bringing its exciting “triple crown” format with them.

The triple-crown format consists of three main events for each division. Using Olympic-style scoring (winner receives 1 point, second place 2points, etc.) an overall event winner is determined, the rider with the least number of points after the three main events. Riders earn series points for the night based on the overall standings.

Austin Forkner scored the overall win on his Kawasaki in the 250 class, and Jason Anderson won the 450 overall on his Husqvarna. It was an exciting evening of racing. But were you watching?

Apparently a lot of diehard fans were not watching. In fact, some were rather upset at Supercross, and for good reason.

The Atlanta Supercross races were delayed a few hours so that Fox Sports could air the Xfinity Series race from Las Vegas and then the pre-fight broadcast for a pay-per-view fight they hosted. So the Atlanta Supercross was broadcast on FS1 from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. EST, the same time the races held on the West Coast generally air live.

But Supercross just couldn’t wait to let the world know the results, so before the Fox Sports broadcast even began, Supercross posted the results of the races on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Now fans who were waiting to watch the races already knew the results.

I don’t know about you, but when I already know the results of a race I generally fast-forward through my recording to see just highlights. I know of at least one Supercross fan who refused to watch the Saturday broadcast, so that he could fast-forward through commercials and just see the highlights on Sunday. Knowing the results of any sporting event diminishes the viewing experience.

Why would a series such as Supercross undermine its own broadcast by posting results a short time before the event is going to be shown nationally? Somebody didn’t think it through.

Yes, some fans in Atlanta posted results, photos, and videos from their phones, so they ruined the broadcast for their friends who couldn’t be there in person. But those individual fans don’t have the number of followers the series itself has. Why would you ruin the race for the rest of the country waiting to watch?

The result is more than just ruining the surprise for the fans waiting to watch the broadcast. Supercross actually hurt the advertisers and Fox Sports by giving fans a reason not to bother watching.

I don’t know the particulars of the deal Supercross has with Fox, whether Fox pays for the broadcast rights or whether Supercross pays to be aired. Either way, leaking the race results before the race is to be broadcast lessens the value of the broadcast.

Fans, Fox Sports, and all the advertisers have a reason not to be happy.

Hopefully Supercross is aware of the fans’ disappointment. Maybe the next time, they’ll leave social media alone until the entire country has the chance to see the race.

Were you watching the Formula E race from Mexico City, the Mexican e-Prix?

Formula E is interesting. Electric racecars that in appearance look like Formula One and IndyCar hybrids. They whine instead of roar. And drivers use two cars in each race, because the batteries don’t last the length of a race. The mid-race car-swap is one of the most anticipated parts of each event.

Some high-end auto manufacturers have their names associated with Formula E teams. They anticipate a growing market for electric cars in the future, and although Formula E is basically a spec series and everybody has the same equipment, the manufacturers see value in having their name attached to the racing series.

The drivers are some of the top drivers in the world, many fully capable of jumping into an F1 car tomorrow. And the actual races only last about an hour, making them perfect for a younger generation with less attention span.

I do find the “fan boost” rather silly, however. Fans get to vote on which two drivers get a little extra energy to use in the race. It’s as if IndyCar allowed drivers to have extra push-to-pass time based on popularity, or NASCAR gave the most popular driver extra horsepower.

There’s an electric motorcycle series that sometimes holds races in conjunction with MotoGP events. And I’ve seen electric racecars on the circuit at Summit Point, West Virginia. Are electric vehicles the future of motorsports? We’ll have to watch to see.

Veteran motorsports columnist Craig Murto is a Linden resident.