Despite a misfire or two, live stream launch was a great idea
The idea behind it was great. I hope this will become a tradition in Monte Carlo and maybe elsewhere too. Live stream of events, taking place before the rally actually begins, with rally crews, rally cars, VIPs and known figures, is a great way to start the new season and bring the atmosphere to millions of fans around the world. Teams and sponsors get extra exposure and we can hear drivers and officials talk about the upcoming event in a more relaxed manner. Even without live stream this would have been a good way to kick things off, but with live stream we all got to see and experience it. WRC needs this kind of good vibe, a positive buzz and of course a rally car noise, which was provided today by manufacturer teams during the demonstration drives around Monte Carlo’s streets. Hopefully days of Rallye Monte Carlo quietly tiptoeing its way from and to the city are gone – if rally is in town then you should be able to hear it. Things like this will help WRC grow faster and stronger than any kind of shoot-out stage ever would – just use the existing technology and resources, that’s all.
Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done. Today we saw how difficult live streaming of events such as WRC season launch could be, especially if there is no strict script or scenario and many things are happening at the same time. We were not guaranteed a front row seat, instead stream often showed other journalists and random people’s backs, camera was shaky and sometimes bumped around, you could almost feel being elbowed and returning the favors as our camera guys fought their way to reach drivers and provide us with best possible shots. At one point I felt like I was literally there, struggling to see things and hear people, all while trying to make up my mind on where to go and what to see next. Then the video and audio signals parted ways and we could hear Sebastien Loeb talking over picture showing Mads Ostberg, for example, or rally car engine noise while stream showed empty street. It was quite bizarre. I am not sure how long this particular problem persisted because I had to leave the stream, but this and other problems did not fully diminish all the good sides of this project. Of course they are unacceptable and should never happen again, not to a World Championship class project, but I would like to see it in a positive light nonetheless. It showed the potential of live streams and it also gave us more hope for the future of the sport. Because even if we don’t hear about it, things seem to be moving in the background and I hope they are moving in the right direction.
Live stream of WRC 2015 launch was fine idea with rather rough execution, but take good parts from it and make it much better next year. As a world class motor sport series, WRC should not be afraid of inventions, if they make sense and are good for the sport. This was one such invention and I’d like to see it repeated again soon.