Spanish media are reporting the ‘shocking’ news that Fernando Alonso will only be visible to his Spanish fans on pay-per-view TV this year.
The free-to-air Antena 3 channel has been in negotiations over the winter with Bernie Ecclestone to extend its Formula One coverage, however today they announced an impasse and that they are dropping F1 from their scheduling. Spanish fans wanting to follow the progress of Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr this year will have to subscribe to Movistar.
Antena 3’s decision follows that of BBC to drop their free-to-air F1 coverage in the UK, yet in Germany there has been a different tale. RTL have for several decades delivered free-to-air F1 coverage for German viewers but were set to drop the sport for 2016 due to the hosting fees Ecclestone demands and a falling audience.
However, RTL have negotiated a concession which sees the broadcasting fees halved from the 50 million euros a year they paid 15 years ago and, further, their live coverage will be extended from qualifying and the race to include FP1, 2 and 3.
Channel 4 in the UK have picked up the free-to-air TV rights ditched by the BBC, though they have yet to announce their anchor to replace Suzi Perry. There have also been rumours that their anchor for the highlights-only F1 weekends will be based in a UK studio.
The first live F1 broadcast for Channel 4 will be the second event on the calendar in Bahrain.