From 2019, Formula 1 will disappear from the UK’s free to air channels following SKY signing a new exclusive deal with Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM. This will see the UK join Spain and France who no longer have F1 on free to TV.
As part of the deal, the British GP will be sown on a ‘free to air’ basis, though this will only be available to those with a basic SKY UK TV package. Race highlights and qualifying will be offered on the same platform and all live races will be exclusive on the pay per view SKY TV package.
Bernie Ecclestone commented, “I am delighted that we will continue to work together. Sky’s commitment to the sport and standard of coverage is second to none.”
The current arrangement with Channel 4 and David Coulthard’s ‘Whisper Films’ will be short lived though until 2019 the terrestrial channel will show 10 live races each season.
SKY is promising Ultra High Definition F1 broadcasts in the near future and SKY pundit Martin Brundle claims, “our coverage will get even better for F1 fans.” – Read, those who can afford the SKY subscription. James Allen however reports, “Sky has scaled back on costs at Grands Prix, with a travelling crew less than half as numerous as when they came in back in 2012.”
This means for the average UK family, their TV from SKY including the package required to watch Formula One will cost in excess of £1,000 a year.
Given that 21st century sport is now being broadcast on multi-media platforms, we await the details as to the entire allocation of UK broadcasting rights from 2019. Anything which sees this exclusive to SKY in the UK clearly demonstrates Ecclestone and CVC have no intention of monetising digital media in the next decade.
The current commercial F1 deals with the teams run only until 2020.
How do you the fans feel about this latest move? If you don’t already subscribe to SKY, will this force you to do so in the future? Or will you stop watching Formula One?