[UPDATE April 15, 2024: I wrote the original piece offering what I hoped would be constructive criticism about HBO Max's search interface as regarded MotoGP shortly after watching the first race weekend of the season, back in Qatar in March 2024. 

Since that time, I've continued to watch successive MotoGP race weekend coverage on HBO Max. Two more race weekends have happened so far: Portugal, and most recently the Grand Prix of the Americas at the Circuit of the Americas facility in Austin, Texas. 

Over the course of both weekends, I've seen marked improvements in HBO Max's interface with regard to MotoGP. I'm happy to say that it's gotten better, and glad to see that someone is working to improve things for fans. 

HBO Max MotoGP Search Interface - Screenshot Captured April 15 2024

HBO Max MotoGP Search Interface - Screenshot Captured April 15 2024

Searching the phrase "MotoGP" in the HBO Max interface will now find you all three things you'd expect: Current, past, and upcoming MotoGP events. If you had tried searching it back during Qatar, it's not what you would have found at that time.

Also, I'm happy to report that if you search for upcoming MotoGP events on the calendar, the upcoming MotoGP events now have more specific information included in their descriptions. So, if you want to set a reminder for yourself to watch the Spanish GP, you can easily see when that's scheduled and do so.

HBO Max Search Interface for MotoGP - Upcoming Events - Screenshot Captured April 15 2024

HBO Max Search Interface for MotoGP - Upcoming Events - Screenshot Captured April 15 2024

On behalf of fellow MotoGP fans, thanks to HBO Max for improving the experience. Here's hoping this is how the service handles other sports coverage going forward.]

Original piece follows.

As a longtime motorsports fan who has lived my entire life in the US, I'm used to chasing coverage from provider to provider every season. The rise of streaming has mostly been good in terms of access, but only if you and your wallet don't already suffer from an extreme case of streaming service subscription fatigue. 

So I was cautiously optimistic upon learning that TNT Sports had a) struck a deal to broadcast MotoGP in the US on its network of cable stations, and b) would also offer MotoGP livestreaming and replays to Max subscribers.

US MotoGP fans have been able to subscribe directly to VideoPass subscriptions via the MotoGP website, but that's yet another subscription on top of the ones that most people already have. It'd be nice to potentially keep things simple and save a little money, right?

Well, you could be forgiven for thinking so if you'd never experienced the clearly-not-designed-by-or-for-humans HBO Max search interface since its ill-considered redesign. And in recent months, Max has been picking up more and more livestreams and replays of popular sports series, so this is an issue for far more than just MotoGP fans. 

Here's a visual guide to the issues you can expect to find when you search for your favorite sports on Max. All screenshots contained herein were captured on March 10, 2024.

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1.) Finding Your Sport In The First Place

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Searching MotoGP - Screenshot March 10 2024

Search results for "MotoGP" and "Moto GP" in the Max interface. Screenshots captured March 10, 2024.

Despite the fact that the Max search interface directly says that you can "find movies, shows, and more," that nebulous "more" must not refer to MotoGP, as you can see in the screenshots—hope you like Wonka, fellow MotoGP fans.

OK, I'm a reasonable person. What if you search related terms?

Searching "motorcycle" just brings up a bunch of TV shows and movies that either involve or may possibly be about motorcycles, but no racing.

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Searching Related Terms - Screenshot March 10 2024

Search results for "motorcycle" and "qatar" in the Max interface. Screenshots captured March 10, 2024.

2.) The Search Interface Is Bad In Ways That Differ By Sport

Searching "Qatar," since the first round of the 2024 MotoGP season took place there over the March 8 through 10 weekend comes up with ... a completely different racing series that already took place in Qatar a week ago.

That's a little bit better, but still not helpful.

So, with the way those search results display, what happens if you search for "WEC" or "FIA"?

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Searching WEC and FIA - Screenshot March 10 2024

Search results in the Max interface for "WEC" and "FIA." Screenshot captured March 10, 2024.

Searching "WEC" comes up with what you, assuming that you're a World Endurance Championship fan, would probably expect. However, searching for "FIA" just gets you a lot of stuff about 90 Day Fiance and other fiance-related titles, even though someone at Max clearly entered "FIA WEC" into the event title field for the first round of the 2024 FIA WEC championship that is already sitting on its servers, just waiting to be streamed.

3.) It's A Little Better Searching For "NBA" Or "Hockey," But Not By Much

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Searching NBA and Hockey - Screenshot March 10 2024

Search results for "NBA" and "hockey" in the Max interface. Screenshots captured March 10, 2024.

Searching "NBA" comes up with recent highlights, all with descriptive titles that tell you what they are so you can figure out if you want to click or not. Toward the bottom of the screen, you'll also see some Upcoming events you can click into and set reminders for in the app so you can tune in and watch live. So far, so good.

Searching "hockey" comes up with both livestreams and highlight clips that you can click into, all in one convenient place and labeled with descriptive titles so you can easily navigate. That's not bad if that's the sports coverage you're looking for. In fact, it's certainly better than what you'll end up with if you're looking for MotoGP.

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Other Sports Menus - Screenshot March 10 2024

March Madness Collection and Mavericks at Thunder screenshots captured March 10, 2024.

There's even a nice March Madness collection (Note: Max loves its Collections; it sets them up for things like Game of Thrones, the DC movies, and other stuff that should logically be grouped together and will likely be of interest to fans.)

But wait, not so fast. Click into the upcoming Mavericks at Thunder game and what's this? Live NHL streaming of the Oilers at Penguins game down below? 

Clearly, there are people who are fans of both the NBA and the NHL. But if I'm looking for NBA games, I'm not usually looking for hockey. Are you?

All the way to the right, it gets even more chaotic. You're seeing what's clearly all of Max's upcoming sports livestreams, regardless of sport or series, displayed in upcoming chronological order.

One mega sports livestream calendar could theoretically be useful to someone if it's clearly labeled. If you're clicking into Mavericks at Thunder, wouldn't you think that the more useful thing would be to see a calendar of a) Mavericks and/or Thunder upcoming livestreams, or b) upcoming NBA livestreams more broadly?

My point is, that it's not the first thing that I'd assume someone interested in the March 14, 2024 Mavericks at Thunder game would want to see, were I designing a user search interface.

4.) If You're A MotoGP Fan, A MotoGP Collection Would Sure Be Nice

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Watch MotoGP on Max - Screenshot March 10 2024

"Watch MotoGP On Max" screenshot captured March 10, 2024.

Let's get a little deeper into my issues with this interface. This screenshot is of the "Watch MotoGP on Max" sidescrolling menu. The first thing it shows you here is the upcoming MotoGP Free Practice that will livestream at 3:55 a.m. my local time on March 22, 2024. 

I snapped this screenshot while the MotoGP season opener at Qatar was also available to livestream on Max. What don't you see in this menu? The race that's going on right now, which is probably why an awful lot of people might be patiently weathering the absolute organizational chaos that is the Max app's front page (post login). 

You'll also note that there's zero descriptive language about what event this MotoGP Free Practice event is even FOR on March 22, 2024. As a fan, I know that it's Portimao, but even so, I double-checked the official MotoGP 2024 season calendar to make sure I wasn't going to write something inaccurate.

What practice does Max think it is? Who knows!

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Upcoming Events - Screenshot March 10 2024

Upcoming Events screenshot on Max, captured on March 10, 2024.

What's that, you say you want to set a reminder for yourself to watch an upcoming livestream of a sporting event carried on Max? Whoever's inputting information here is very selective about which sports get descriptive information. And again, all the sports are put into a blender if you want to look at "upcoming events," with no option to filter by the sport or series you're specifically looking for.

5.) You Have To Go To Replays To Find MotoGP Races That Aren't Livestreaming At The Time Of Your Search

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Replays - Screenshot March 10 2024

Screenshot of the "Replays" sidescrolling menu on Max, captured March 10, 2024.

As you can see from the screenshot, this isn't a container that's just for MotoGP replays. No, it's a container for replays from every sport that Max carries. They're in chronological order, but that's about it. Motorcycling or bicycling, who cares what you want to follow?

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Searching Cycling - Screenshot March 10 2024

Cycling upcoming events screens on Max, screenshots captured on March 10, 2024.

While we're thinking about cycling, the screenshot on the left shows highlights from recent events with clear labels. But if you want to set a reminder for upcoming cycling events, all you get is dates and genders; no locations, no names of races, and nothing helpful if you don't want to have to cross-reference a number of external international cycling calendars to figure out what you want to watch.

It's enough to make you close the app and throw your phone across the room in frustration if you're a cycling fan.

6.) Are All Of Max's Non-Sport Search Functionalities This Bad?

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Searching Wonka, GoT, Hitchcock - Screenshot March 10 2024

Searches for "Wonka," "Game of Thrones," and "Hitchcock," captured March 10, 2024.

The answer to this question is, it depends. I searched "Wonka" just because it's clear that Max is pushing that new 2023 movie pretty hard. Sure enough, it populates with the search results you'd expect. Likewise, "Game of Thrones" also comes up with what you'd expect (and also hope, since it's a native HBO show). 

I also searched "Hitchcock" because he's a director with a massive back catalog. Again, the search results are more what you'd hope for if you're looking for Hitchcock films.

But it's not consistent, and your mileage will most definitely vary depending on what (or who) you're looking for.

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Searching Cronenberg, Gerwig, Robbie - Screenshot March 10 2024

Searching "Cronenberg," "Gerwig," and "Robbie" on Max, screenshot captured March 10, 2024.

Searching "Cronenberg" isn't too bad on the results. But if we search "Gerwig," it's particularly surprising given how hard Max was pushing the Barbie movie when it premiered on the streaming service in recent months. 

The Max search interface does a little bit better with actors than directors, at least in terms of modern movies. Search "Robbie" and you will, in fact, find Barbie at the top of your search results. You'll also find other movies that Margot Robbie has starred in, as you should expect a reasonable search interface to do.

7.) The Notifications For Livestreamed Sports Events Are Also Sus

MotoGP Streaming on Max - Darnell Nurse Hockey Spoiler Notification - Screenshot March 10 2024

Max hockey livestream notification, screenshot captured on March 10, 2024.

Let's say that you're not able to livestream a sport that you really care about while it's happening. Maybe you're at work, or you have a family event, or you're just living your life and you plan to watch it later.

Max doesn't care if it spoils you with its push notifications. While I was gathering screenshots to accompany this story, I received this notification about the Oilers at Penguins NHL game that was livestreaming at the time. If I cared about that game but wasn't able to watch it live, and I got that notification? I'd be pissed. Way to ruin the tension, guys.

8.) Max, Please, For The Love Of Sports Fans, Fix Your Search Interface

Now I'm going to say something nice. Once I actually found the MotoGP Qatar 2024 streams (both replays of the Moto3, Moto2, and Sprint races and the livestream of the MotoGP race), the actual presentation and streaming quality were great. No complaints, and no notes there. Considering that I lived through the time that one of the US MotoGP broadcasters used to regularly cut off the podium ceremony so we couldn't watch it, my bar is also pretty low.

But if you're Max, and you're working so hard to gather together all these sporting series that you know people love to watch, why would you shoot yourself in the foot by making it so difficult for fans to find and/or follow the ones they care about? It doesn't make any sense. 

So please, if anyone from Max is reading this, do something about your search interface. Set up a MotoGP Collection to gather all the MotoGP races in one place, so fans can bookmark it and just go back there to find the MotoGP content they crave. Do the same for your other sports. The March Madness collection is a great start; keep going!

Also, for the love of all that is holy, use descriptive language for your upcoming sporting events. A race location at the very least would be helpful. When you add up the practice sessions, sprint races, Moto2, Moto3, and MotoGP races, that's a whole lot of unlabeled content per race weekend that you're just going to flood the zone with for every single event.

Why would you even do that?

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