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WEC App to be Geo-Blocked for U.S., Canada Viewers

FIA WEC app to be geo-blocked to U.S., Canada viewers amid new Velocity deal…

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The FIA World Endurance Championship’s live streaming app will be geo-blocked for U.S. and English-speaking Canadian viewers, as part of its new television and streaming package with Velocity and Motor Trend, it has been revealed.

Announced last week, the Discovery, Inc.-owned network has signed a long-term broadcast agreement with the WEC that will see all races broadcast live on Velocity, including flag-to-flag coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Additionally, all races and qualifying sessions will be streamed on the Motor Trend app, which costs $4.99/month or $49.99/year for a subscription. 

Previously under its agreement with FOX Sports, North American users were able to purchase a race-by-race or season-long subscription plan to the WEC’s OTT service, which had cost approximately $6.00 per six-hour race or $42.00 for the full season. 

The WEC confirmed the licensing rights change on Tuesday morning via Twitter.

“It is true that the #WEC App/website live streaming service will be geo-blocked for the U.S. and Canada (except Quebec) as the deal with Velocity is exclusive in that market, including all OTT coverage which includes our App/website,” the statement read.

“The broadcasting world is changing fast and furiously, and on a worldwide basis.

“The potential reach that Velocity and Motor Trend can offer is huge and we are confident that they will do an excellent job on our behalf.”

The Velocity/Motor Trend broadcasts will be produced by the Discovery-owned Eurosport network and will feature Eurosport commentary.

Introduced in 2014, the WEC app had served as one of the primary viewing methods for the U.S. audience, particularly those without access to FS2.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

67 Comments

67 Comments

  1. Lucas Andresen

    April 24, 2018 at 8:16 am

    It is a loss for those of us that could sign in with our Fox Sports Provider and stream the races through the Fox Sports Go app. Now we have to pay to watch the races if we can’t watch at home on the Velocity channel.

    • David

      April 24, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      To my knowledge, Velocity has a similar service to FSGo (forgot the name) that will allow you to watch the Velocity televised portions on the go at no charge.

  2. Andrew

    April 24, 2018 at 8:16 am

    While the disruption is annoying I have to say I love the Motor Trend subscription after a week or so. So much gear head related content, not to mention all sorts of international racing coverage, Blancpain GT, Aussie super cars, now WEC! Plus you can go back and watch recorded races, there is all sorts of classic F1 history content on there too! for the price it seems good value to me.

  3. Matt

    April 24, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Guess I won’t be watching the WEC this year

    • el_gordo

      April 24, 2018 at 9:07 am

      I’ll be watching pirated streams instead of paying for the app

    • TF110

      April 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      It’s really easy to find a free stream. Youtube or forums are a good start. Eurosport is the original content provider for the motortrend/velocity feed. They had races free to view on their website last year.

  4. Andrew

    April 24, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Nice, wonder what happens for the WEC when everyone realizes Velocity is on the highest tier of most packages and makes FS2 look like it is OTA. Once again, sold your soul for a package and you’ll hit under 10% of your market.

  5. Andy

    April 24, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Didn’t the WEC want new fans? Or to retain old fans? Cause this is the exact OPPOSITE of how to do both. I hope they get raked over the coals for this move. I don’t care how good MOTD is (actually pretty good tbh, but i can’t support them after this collusion with WEC).

  6. Jezza819

    April 24, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Well that kind of stinks. I had a Motor Trend subscription for one year but didn’t renew because at that time if you missed a live race, the only replay available was a highly edited version of that race. It was what was broadcast on CBS Sports Network and I just wan’t going to pay for that. After a few emails back and forth with their support and them saying that they just weren’t ready to offer full race replays at this time, I dropped it. Maybe that’s changed now. But I guess at this point I’m going to be forced to pick it back up since Velocity won’t telecast the entire race only the first and last hours of most events.

  7. Steve

    April 24, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Isn’t Velocity TV that channel where idiots put 24” wheels on their sledz and then call what they are doing motorsports? And this channel does this 24/7. This is that channel right?

    • Andy Flinn

      April 24, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Steve, most people who watch Velocity – even Wheeler Dealers and Barrett-Jackson muscle car auto auctions – don’t share the snobby WEC mentality.

      Broadcasting WEC races on Velocity should be interesting.

    • MalthusUnderestimated

      April 26, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Made me laugh. Thanks!

  8. southcove

    April 24, 2018 at 8:40 am

    This might be the rare time that I have come out on top (after years of not being able to properly watch ALMS) since I have Velocity as part of a package…but Comcast as the provider has been known to suddenly tweak channels and move things around and what once was free is now a pay channel alongside something else I have no interest in.

    I remain unconvinced (despite flag to flag 24hrs LM coverage!) but hopeful.

  9. CJ

    April 24, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I’m confused, will you always be able to stream the race on motor trend, even when the race is on the velocity channel? If so that’s fine, I was debating getting the app but it’s about the same money for a year of Motor trend….. if it cuts off when velocity has it that would be a problem

    • Jezza819

      April 24, 2018 at 11:34 am

      Good question. If I’m paying $49.95 a year for it I had better be able to watch it through there.

  10. Mike

    April 24, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Another series with wrong information. Blancpain is geo locked in Canada because it signed a deal with CBS sports Net which stopped being available in Canada in 2017….2 seasons later and they still say its on a channel we dont have and it seems WEC doing the same. I was able to watch last 5 years LM coverage online and on FSR last year…..

    • Matt

      April 25, 2018 at 7:07 am

      Mike the BES race at monza was streamed on nismo tv on YouTube

  11. clicknclack

    April 24, 2018 at 9:05 am

    After watching religiously for years, no way am I going to pay through the no$e to see if Toyota breaks down again (the outcomes being fairly scripted otherwise). I suppose the GTs and P2s (AKA Oreca spec class) will be providing some entertainment, but I can get that and better via IMSA for the next couple of years until the next rules are implemented. I’d think the WEC would be trying to maximize their viewership during this transition period, but perhaps they’d just assume we avert our eyes until 2020.

    • Rus'L

      April 24, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      All 24 hour of Le Mans will be shown on the Velocity channel.

      Unless you are saying you don’t get the Velocity channel on your cable/satellite provider?

      • ???

        April 24, 2018 at 2:01 pm

        Will their be commercials on Velocity? Will there be commercials on the pay stream?

  12. Change it up

    April 24, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Lol just remember, a $49.99 yearly supscription, if purchased for the 6 hours of Spa, will only be good maybe up until the next Spa race. Wont include the second le mans race. So technically a whole season will run you $55-$60.

    • Max

      April 24, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Yeah, it seems better to just start and stop the subscription multiple times instead of ponying up for the yearly fee.

  13. Parker

    April 24, 2018 at 9:33 am

    I’m very upset with the WEC over this.

    • TF110

      April 24, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      Why would you be upset at them and not FOX for dropping them or Discovery networks for stipulating the deal to be an exclusive provider of the WEC races in NA? The wec aren’t in a position to say no probably because there’s no one knocking on their door to do their races. 6 hours is too much tv time.

      • Parker

        April 24, 2018 at 10:32 pm

        I paid for the streaming in previous seasons to avoid commercials and to listen to the world feed commentators. The coverage from the FIA WEC was excellent. I hope there is a commercial free option going forward. The Eurosport people are great, so no complaints there. I’ve just gotten used to watching the race the past few years without commercials disrupting the flow of the broadcast.

  14. Coach Ep

    April 24, 2018 at 10:17 am

    As of Tuesday morning, April 24th, 9:15 Central time there’s no coverage on Velocity listed in my digital TV guide (Cox cable) – the race is supposed to start 1:30pm local time which makes it 7:30 ET / 6:30 CT.

  15. Mike

    April 24, 2018 at 10:41 am

    I figured this was coming,….. but I too am very disappointed. I was happy to pay the fees for the WEC app, as it was the exact content that I wanted. I hate having to pay for access to other things just to see the race. IMSA already lost me as a regular viewer due to this. Perhaps the WEC will as well.

    • Matt

      April 24, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      What are you talking about? Did you even read the article? It’s $5 per race from the Motor Trend app vs $6/race on the WEC app. What’s the problem?

  16. jrw

    April 24, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Time to set up a VPN.

  17. Radon

    April 24, 2018 at 11:05 am

    As far as I am aware, the replay functionality of Velocity is not the full race. This is a huge hit to people that used the app to watch the race replays, since most races are not during good North American hours.

    • Matt

      April 24, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      ??? If you have Velocity, you can just record the race with DVR.

      • Andy

        April 25, 2018 at 9:42 am

        No Matt, not how it works. Velocity is only showing the first and last hours… and MOTD has NO replay function at all and when asked about it, MOTD told me to eat S&%$. Radon is right, 90% are in a terrible time for US fans, so now we can’t watch.

        • Jezza819

          April 25, 2018 at 1:08 pm

          Andy, so MOTD still doesn’t have full replays of races? Because they told me the same thing 2 years ago.

  18. Truth

    April 24, 2018 at 11:56 am

    The best parts about the WEC stream were
    1) No commercials
    2) Great commentary
    3) No disguised commercials (We have VP of Global Marketing from _____…tell us about how your race technology translates to the road car)

    Will the new partner deliver? Remains to be seen. But it is disappointing to not have the option.

    • Truth

      April 24, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Forgot to also mention full screen picture. Fox would reduce the size of the picture in order to accommodate the annoying scoring ticker.

    • Change it up

      April 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Now that’s worth paying for! Though IMSA gives us free 1080P 60fps Youtube videos of the full race afterwards. WEC needs to take the lead on this if they expect us to pay still.

    • Andy Flinn

      April 25, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Truth, ALL of these series have commercial sponsors.

      They couldn’t exist without them.

      That’s how “commercial television” works.

      How do you think these races end up on broadcast TV to begin with?

      The sooner you deal with that “truth” the better.

      • Mark Johnson

        April 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

        Check out Nismo TV on YouTube. They carry BES races. Also the Creventic 24 H series has great racing, likewise on Youtube. I’m kind of P.Offed because I already paid for the FIA-WEC streaming. They were happy to take my money a week ago. Just like the French to do something like this.

  19. Change it up

    April 24, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    If all IMSA races could be moved over to Motor Trend as well it would be worth the money. Interesting how viewers of IMSA outside of the US get free 1080P quality broadcasting while us Americans have to shell out money for races constantly being bombarded by commercials. WEC you need to take IMSA’s lead on this!

    • Haskellb

      April 24, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      You can watch the race live for free on IMSA website or wait a few days and do the same on youtube.

    • Matt

      April 24, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      That’s why I record it and start watching a half hour in so I can skip the commercials. Or you can download the Opera browser and use the built in VPN function and watch the race from IMSA.com commercial free, though I can’t stand John Hindaugh anymore.

    • Andy Flinn

      April 25, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Change, why is it strange that Americans who don’t watch these races live at the track in their own country are expected to “shell out” money to watch these races on commercial television?

      Their is no free lunch – even for the starving college kid scraping by in his dorm room or the young adult living in Mom and Dad’s basement.

      If you want the product, you need to PAY for it.

      If you don’t want to pay it, you need to deal with the commercial sponsorship.

  20. Tyler

    April 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    I purchased the subscription on the WEC app just a few days ago…. Does this mean I can’t watch the races through the app? If so that’s a total ripoff and of course I’ll need to get a refund.

    • sunset bend

      April 24, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      It means you have a future full of misery. Refund? Good luck with that.

    • T

      April 25, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      My WEC app still shows that I can purchase the single race pack (Spa) or the season pack. So, if I were to purchase then it won’t work?

      • Hunter

        May 4, 2018 at 8:05 pm

        I had no idea about this until I tried to watch qualy, and googled if there were issues. I paid for the sub, now I’m just out of pocket. What a way to treat your fans.

  21. Need to Know

    April 24, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Will the races on Motor Trend be commercial free?

  22. David

    April 24, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Considering how Velocity is on the verge of becoming MotorTrend Network, I am not surprised by this at all. That is basically what NBC is doing with the IndyCar rights and what they wanted to do to the F1 rights, but F1 didn’t want their OTT geo-blocked.

    As those in the comments have said here, I do hope Eurosport goes commercial free during their airtime (I don’t see why not but ESPN proved to us otherwise before coming to their senses) and I don’t see why MotorTrend doesn’t do the same with the streaming. Only time will tell how this deal will fare out.

  23. Steven

    April 24, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    So that means find the European stream then…cool.

  24. Dave

    April 24, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Stupid, stupid, stupid. I’m sure the WEC team are all patting themselves on the back for this great US TV deal. You want more US watchers? Take a lesson from IMSA (I know that the WEC is incapable of acknowledging success in other series – specifically here in the US) but offer a free feed in the US like IMSA does around the rest of the world. I don’t know the stats, but I would bet there are far more watchers of IMSA outside of the US than there are WEC watchers in the US. You’ll never be able to get a network to buy the rights to your brand’s product if you keep going to smaller and smaller outlets with less and less convenient viewing options. The reason Fox preempted so many races last year was the plain truth that more people watch MMA (in replay no less) and college soccer than watch the WEC. You can get more viewership with a good looking woman, some body paint and a web cam than you can with this ridiculous deal.

    • MikeT66

      April 25, 2018 at 1:57 am

      I agree, Dave. Personally, as a UK viewer, I think the IMSA coverage is fantastic and easliy accessible via the IMSA website. For what is still a niche series, the WEC have a lot to learn if they really do want to increase audience size. With more and more people getting bored with F1 there is a ready-made audience just waiting to see something different. A wasted opportunity, as far as I can see.

  25. Markus

    April 24, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    I get that people are upset but what do you expect? WEC had nobody else to cover the races and Motor Trend (which was Velocity) probably said “we will take it but only if you block the streaming.” So I’d say it’s 50/50 to blame.

    Also, its extremely easy to find a free stream in HD for those that put in the effort. Le Mans is the only thing I happily pay for. I use a VPN on Chrome and buy the Eurosport player. They offer 2 feeds including the raw non commentary one. Worth. Every. Penny.

    • Mark - Toronto

      April 24, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      I too understand the frustration! We’re annoyed because yet another streaming service is required to replace coverage previously available elsewhere. But we may want to consider that we may not be their target audience going forward. (Whether we are the target audience of a ‘sponsor’ is another discussion.)

      The WEC recently posted a fan survey. Taking a look at the results, a couple of things stand out. According to their data, 60% of us are willing to pay for exclusive content going forward. I suppose that has to include actual race coverage if not available elsewhere. Perhaps more importantly, about 50% of those watching view an entire race in full! The other 50% opt to watch the start, and then only portions after that. Probably not a great selling point for a traditional broadcaster trying to sell commercial time. Meanwhile demand for streaming and online availability is increasing rapidly. Here’s the kicker – those under 35 in Asia and the Americas now prefer online and on-demand services equally to TV, and it’s only moving further in that direction. The traditional TV platform is only becoming a tougher sell.

      Absolutely there are legitimate gripes with the way this is playing out. But as we lament what ‘was’ available, I’ll have to (grudgingly) remind myself that in Canada anyway, WEC coverage was not available on TV at all until recently. The question for me now becomes – where is the best bang for my buck in terms of streaming services? Until that eventually settles out – I will just have to live with not being able to follow all that I used to.

      We’re also all preaching to the converted here. If you’re reading this story it’s because you’re probably one of those watching the entire race, and likely not on your phone while walking around the mall. That may put us in a minority soon in terms of how the product is consumed.

    • Change it up

      April 24, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Theres a non commentary feed with pure car sound? Show me how to watch this!

  26. uselesspukes

    April 24, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Bunch of socialist morons looking for free shit.

    Disgraceful.

    • Margaret Thatcher

      April 25, 2018 at 9:13 am

      The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.

  27. joe

    April 24, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    VPN

  28. Kyle

    April 24, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Will everything shown on TV also be streamed live on the Velocity GO app?

  29. David P

    April 24, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    BOP for the fans! Pity WEC app and coverage was “best in the business” (relieved we won’t have to hear that every lap on Fox however!). Probably won’t be able to run live TV, in car and timing and scoring across three devices anymore. See how Velocity delivers. WEC races so frequent and increasingly less interesting, I might just forget to watch!

  30. The Esses

    April 25, 2018 at 12:45 am

    I’m fine with paying for content, which is why i’ve always paid for the WEC app. This is just a side effect of a deal to get it on television. I’m not sure this a priority for the WEC, I guess old minds still think television matters, maybe it still does, but it won’t for long. Especially not for endurance racing. IMSA & the WEC app have proven endurance racing just doesn’t work for television, its much better uninterrupted, and is usually a more international audience anyways making it sort of inefficient to do all these different feeds and deals. The single app feed was a brilliant idea, and I’ve come to appreciate it a lot. Now after all my loyalty the series has punted me as a customer over to an unknown, and I’m not exactly eager to do this, much less a week before the season begins. Continuity is really important in any market, customers need to be confident in what they are getting and from the looks of this comment feed I’d say we have the opposite of that.

    Beyond this, sports car racing is a niche program. A small number of racing fans find it compelling, who are a small demographic to begin with compared to soccer or the bachelorette. Its nice that “65 million households” will have viewing access to this, but will half a percent of those tune in? Anyone in the world with internet has access to the WEC app (that is except North Americans…), its time the WEC embraced its audience directly and stopped selling us to someone else for a television deal.

  31. Ron Mills

    April 25, 2018 at 8:17 am

    I paid for the viewing platform last year and it was a total disaster-it was completely overwhelmed by the demand and unavailable.After several frustrating e-mails to WEC,I got a refund.Check Youtube coverage before buying anything,as it probably won’t stream anyway…

  32. MikeK

    April 25, 2018 at 10:40 am

    This is excellent news. I knew that the WEC understood the American audience. That’s why they ran at CoTA during College Football season. They knew that CoTA would be full of fans and the longhorns stadium would be empty. If I was the WEC, I’d triple the price to watch because people will pay it.

  33. RobertB

    April 25, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Some day we’ll look back and smile over the hub-bub over what was played on what channel and what streaming service. It’ll be a thing of the past sooner than you think, guys. Be patient.

    • Andy Flinn

      April 25, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      RobertB, you’ll still need to figure out a way to PAY for it.

      • RobertB

        April 25, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        I don’t understand your point. When was the last time you had a heated argument about long distance rates and who will give you the most minutes for the best price? Same thing. TV and the internet are merging at a neck-breaking pace and the model we have now for consuming content will look like ancient history a lot sooner than you think.

  34. ScrewYourEoT&GeoBlocking

    April 26, 2018 at 12:55 am

    “WEC App Available for U.S., Canada Viewers Utilizing VPNs.” There, fixed the title.

  35. SaskRacer

    April 26, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    I thought the price for the WEC app had been reasonable and was as reliable as any streaming service I’ve used. I hope Velocity uses the WEC commentary feed, though as the best part of online sports car coverage has been the ability to avoid the shallow, NASCAR-style broadcasts that FOX uses for IMSA and did use for WEC.

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