LOS ANGELES – Emmy-winning producer and CEO of Pilgrim Media Group, Craig Piligian, and Clark Bunting, former president and general manager of Discovery Channel, and Founder and CEO of new media company Digital Circus, have joined forces, securing for the first time in history an all-media and live programming rights deal for the world-renowned Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy).
Staged on the bucolic British Isle of Man, the internationally famous open road motorcycle race is widely believed to be the most dangerous motorsports event in the world.
As the Isle of Man TT prepares to celebrate in 2019 the running of the TT’s 100 races, Pilgrim and Digital Circus will collaborate to develop for TV, film, streaming, and gaming/esports platforms a range of original content – including the first-ever live broadcast of the iconic event. Global Motorsports Ventures, an Isle of Man company established by Piligian and Bunting, will operate out of North Hollywood, Detroit and the Isle of Man.
Situated between England and Ireland in the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man is a small, independent Crown Dependency (not part of the United Kingdom, though the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II) known as a high-end and secluded vacation destination; but for two weeks late May and early June, it is home to a dramatic race that takes place over the enclave’s narrow public streets. For further information the TT races website is www.iomttraces.com, with links to all social media outlets.
With motorcycles blasting around a 37-mile road circuit at speeds of close to 200 mph, riders must navigate a changing topography that includes steep seaside hills with tight corners, and woodlands dotted with historic castle ruins. Numerous towns and villages along the course propagate obstacles encompassing everything from stone walls and lampposts to hedges and houses – and, of course, spectators.
Owned by the Isle of Man government, the TT race is the fastest road race in the world – and the longest running, dating back to 1907 – and it continues to lure avid riders from around the world, with over 150 racers competing over nine races in 2018.
Said Piligian, “We’re extremely gratified to have forged such an historic deal that allows us to raise the profiles of the iconic TT and the Isle of Man – and of the riders whose fearlessness and individuality have built a competition like no other. With the proliferation of entertainment and sports platforms, this is the global moment for the TT.”
“The 100 TT is a momentous event and Craig and I are enormously proud that the IOM chose Pilgrim and Digital Circus to bring it to the world through this unprecedented, trans-media development opportunity,” said Bunting. “The Isle of Man TT offers riveting storytelling and jaw-dropping visuals unlike any other sporting event on the planet. The international assembly of racers who participate in the TT walk the line between extreme bravery and disaster – you have to see it to believe it.”
Minister for Enterprise, Laurence Skelly MHK, whose department promotes the event, commented, “The deal offers a unique opportunity to grow the audience and awareness of the TT Races, increase our commercial potential, and promote the Isle of Man as a tourism and business destination worldwide. The individuals involved in this project have a proven track record – within Hollywood and globally – and we look forward to working with them to maximise the event and its potential.”
Dr. Richard Arning, chairman of Isle of Media, the national development agency for the thriving Isle of Man media cluster, added: “Having supported this new venture from the very beginning, we are absolute excited by working with those at the top of the entertainment field, and for the prospects this brings to our island. It will boost further our profile in global motorsports productions and distribution.”
The deal was brokered by Isle of Media, the on-Island media inward investment agency chaired by Dr. Richard Arning, and by Pilgrim Media Group’s Gretchen Stockdale, COO and General Counsel; and David Harris, SVP, Business and Legal Affairs.