Interview | TT Business Development Manager Paul Phillips | MCNews

2022 Isle of Man TT

We chat to TT Business Development Manager Paul Phillips about the big news concerning the new TV package for the 2022 Isle of Man TT.

Trevor Hedge: From us guys that come from the other side of the universe to attend the TT, with the live coverage, do you think it might reduce the amount of people who might go the extra yard to travel to the TT?

If you maybe corner some of the aspects of the crowd with the live coverage, like some groups of Aussies, and the Kiwis together, and then for them to talk to the people back home and say ‘We’re here having fun’, maybe that will help lift the profile in regards to the experience of actually being there and spur more people to make the journey..?  Maybe the fan interaction could be a really big part of the live coverage, to still encourage people to come to the TT and spend money on the Isle of Man?

Michael Dunlop wins Supersport Race One - TT 2018
Michael Dunlop in Parc Ferme after winning Supersport Race One – TT 2018

Paul Phillips – TT Business Development Manager

“I think done well, live coverage of sport does not turn fans away from it, quite the opposite, it brings fans to the event, all successful sports worldwide are broadcast live, the attraction is that if it’s done very well, that experience is great, for a device or box in the corner of your living room, but the best thing is to be there and experience it yourself.

“The risk factor is you do a bad job with your broadcast and you take something like the TT which is so exciting and so visceral, and do a bad job of that, and we have seen that in other sports, and that was one of the reasons for me personally, that I’ve often resisted opportunities for the TT to be broadcast live, previously because my concern was that it wouldn’t be done to a standard that would have been good enough. I think the point at which we go live, which as it turns out is 2022, it has to be done well, and I’m confident that we are doing it well, with the appropriate level of investment, the appropriate scale and ambition, this is not fan cam, this is not live streaming, this is not a couple of fixed cameras, this is a really big production.

IOM Mountain Triumph
Riders await the mountain section of the Isle of Man TT Course being opened to public traffic, there are no speed limits! Pictured is the Triumph Explorer Trev piloted around the course in 2018

“In terms of fans, fans are important to the TT as you well know, and Australians who are coming in increasing numbers, can quite frankly be set in motion with the TV distribution.

“Josh Brookes and now David Johnson has a huge following with the TT with fans, when he finished on the podium in the Superstock race of the last TT, typically there was a lot of drunk Australians around the winners enclosure making a huge noise and that’s fantastic.”

IOMTT David Johnson Supertock Podium HondaImage
David Johnson on the TT podium in 2019

“That experience and that atmosphere, there is no winners enclosure in motorsport like there in the TT, there’s a number of different emotions going on there, there’s happiness, there’s celebration, there’s gratefulness, that people have survived two hours of such high risk racing, and if you watch our coverage of that, none of that is conveyed, it’s clipped down, it’s got to fit that short broadcast period.

“I watched the 2018 Senior TT finish, from the moment Peter crosses the line to the moment he came off the podium, because we recorded that live for a test in 2018, and that’s a different experience to what we’ve broadcast on the television. All the raw, real emotion there and you know, I stand there at the winners enclosure of the TT every time and think to myself, ‘there’s nothing like this in motorsport.’

IOMTT Senior Post Dean Harrison
Dean Harrison greeted by his family in Parc Ferme after taking victory in the 2019 Senior TT

“The winners enclosure is a bit of back slapping and handshakes, but this is mental, and I’m really excited that we’re going to be able to show that properly for the first time, uninterrupted.

“I got no issue that people will stop coming to the TT because it’s a live broadcast, I think we’ll expect more and more people will want to come.

“The whole broadcast strategy is that we’re concerned about the size of our audience, we’ve got gaps, generational gaps, we’ve got territorial gaps in our audience, where we simply are not visible in those countries, whereas now if you have an internet connection in Timbuktu, you can watch from the first bike in qualifying, to the end of the Senior races, that’s a major deal.” 

Peter Hickman
Peter Hickman – Senior TT Winner 2018

Trevor: Emotion is the biggest part of it, and if you can convey that, that will definitely make for a winner and make the audience much bigger, like you say you did that test run, and I’ve been in parc fermé myself at the TT a few times, and its just awesome, if you can convey all that emotion and elation on to people’s screens you’ll definitely be on a winner.

IOMTT Senior Podium Harrison Hickman Cummins
2019 Senior TT Results
1. Dean Harrison / Kawasaki
2. Peter Hickman / BMW +53.062
3.. Conor Cummins / Honda  +58.879

A: “One more thing that came into my mind, is that not getting stuck into F1, but everybody here has watched the F1 DocuSeries ‘Drive To Survive’. My wife who is not into F1 at all, really enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it, the production values are superb and it’s great.

“The opportunity we’ve got with the TT, we don’t have that budget, shock-horror, we don’t have a million pound an episode to make it, but when I watch it, I think this is great, these guys are great, but Jesus Christ our guys are so much more interesting. With the history and the spectacle, and quite frankly the full cast of weird and wonderful characters that the TT attracts – and it always does – that’s the great opportunity for us.

“While we may not have the same money to invest that F1 does, obviously… I had this conversation with Toto Wolff no less, who is obviously embedded in F1 (he is Mercedes F1 Team Manager), and the thing he said about TT, he loves TT and has been to TT, he said it’s the authenticity that’s just not there in other forms of motorsport, that is in the TT. If we can capture that and put that on the screen around the world, we have a real fighting chance of doing a good job.”

Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes - Image by Stephen Davison
Sidecar competitors Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes – TT 2018 – Image by Stephen Davison

Read More: Interview | TT Business Development Manager Paul Phillips | MCNews

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