UK to lose all F1 on free to air TV


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?


24 responses to “UK to lose all F1 on free to air TV

  1. And F1 sits there wondering why it is losing audience?

    It seems the bean counters just try and screw more money from less fans and think that as long as that bottom line is fine then the sport is fine. The tipping point is coming but by then the bean counters will have already plotted their exit plans because they are not F1 fans – they don’t care what damage they leave behind after they have moved their well-polished behinds to their next pot of gold.

  2. It’s all those bloody trees.
    If they weren’t there Ecclestone would be able to see the woods…..

    • Seeya, I dont have Sky but still watched Sunday’s race live. There are options out there 😉

      • And if you are willing to not watch it live, there are plenty of ways to even watch the Sky F1 coverage for free 😉

    • +1

      The Dark Lord can screw himself.

      Having said that the recent, rolling tedium of MB’s utter dominance makes it an easier decision to stick by…

  3. Really, after more than 50 years of variable interest in F1 I could no longer care less whether I watch it or not. But I really wish there was sufficient solidarity amongst the remaining F1 audience, who seem to share near-identical resentment about the shape it’s in, to boycott it entirely. Even the gradual erosion of its audience doesn’t seem to be having much effect on the robber-barons who control the “sport”. Of course why would it whilst they’re still trousering obscene sums of loot? The disgusting extravagance of Ecclestone’s repulsive family goes pretty much unremarked but serves as a wonderful paradigm for the whole suppurating mess.
    It would be so easy to bring it all crashing down. Never gonna happen of course.

  4. I will not pay Sky to watch F1. Once again Bernie is thinking short term of his income not what is best for F1. The teams will suffer as the sponsors will not pay as much for less audience seeing their brand. I would bet that the increase in money from Bernie for the Sky deal will not balance this loss out.

    A couple of points according to Wikipedia ‘free-to-air’ means the broadcast is not encrypted so if you have FreeSat you should be able to watch the British F1 but that appears all.
    How do you get F1 on Sky at £1000 a year? I just looked and it is £546. Still not paying money to Sky but was interested in the £1000.

  5. That is extremely sad! Really sad! After football, I will now start losing interest in F1 too.

    Having said that, did it hurt the premier league? Objectively speaking, probably not as much.

  6. Based on the above poll so far, if I were an F1 sponsor I would now be negotiating an 87% reduction in my fees to whichever team I was sponsoring.

  7. …and you know what, it’ll be a lot cheaper to go down the pub for a couple of pints and watch the race, than cough up 27 quid per race!!!

    • What pub you know shows F1 races?

      I’m friends with the landlord of my local, which has 2 big screens mostly showing football. I asked her recently if I could watch a bit of Sky F1 when it was quiet – turns out the regular commercial package that costs pubs around £2k per month doesn’t include F1. I asked hypothetically if she’d consider showing F1 if it didn’t clash with football etc and a customer asked for it – she said maybe for regulars, but didn’t like the precedent.

      Not a scientific survey, but still … show me the pub that shows F1 and I’d go along. Until then, I’m happy with a working stream. I wish I could get NBC so easily, as Will Buxton is great, but I get a perverse pleasure from watching Murdoch’s TV without paying!

  8. “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.”

    I’m all for F1 going back to free to view but your claim that it would cost over £1000 per year to watch F1 is totally misleading. Sky with the sports bundle costs £47.50 per month = £570 per year – half of what you claim (it’s still way too expensive)

    • I don’t have a sky sports package – I get the Sky F1 Channel as part of my standard subscrption, which is about 30 something quid a month. I so little, I don;t know what it is, but it’s less than 35 quid. Nothing like a grand, as you say.

      To be honest, the fact that I get it for nothing, effectively. is the sole reason I see the races. I watch all of my WEC racing, which is far superior to the tedium that F1 provides on Eurosport and anything else is a mere click away on a torrent.

  9. With Sky just beginning to announce their price increases for the next 12 months just how high will they be come 2019, subscription will be like buying an admission ticket for each Grand Prix

  10. I have posted this elsewhere, but I wanted to share here also.

    I am 50 this year and a lifelong F1 fan. I have been to many races, but as family came along and the prices rose inexorably for tickets I became more of an armchair fan, it has now been 2 years since I was track-side (although I may treat myself to Spa this year for my landmark birthday). The same inexorable rise in price is now happening with Sky coverage.

    Today I cancelled my sky TV package (gave my 31 days notice) – I could afford it, but I no longer feel it is value for money.

    I will not miss a race, but I will no longer pay the Murdoch family for the right.
    I expect I will still be a fan at the end of the season if the racing is good and the politics are tolerable, but I don’t love the sport the way I once did . . it has turned its back on me and that’s not something that is easily forgiveable.

  11. It all depends on the cost.

    Here in NL, you have to have Ziggo. But… A friend of mine has Ziggo, so I van probably use his access codes for online watching – then I stream it to my tv.

    If that doesn’t work, I will maybe buy such an online subscription for 10 euro’s per month which van be stopped anytime, so I can cancel it during my summer holiday and off season, which means that I’m ready for € 80,- per season. 4 euro’s per race, is ok for me.

  12. The only upside of this is Ted Kravitz, who on occassion puts a complete sentence together but for the most part fails to do so while managing to go on a tangent at the same time before getting to the point a few minutes later will not be seen as much.

  13. Having followed F1 since the 1960’s, I’m very sad to hear that in 2019 Sky Sports will be the only option to watch the races! I will not pay to watch on tv. This man Ecclestone has finally lost the plot big time! The sport has been ruined by this idiot. How can he get away with this latest Deal with Sky? As always the real fans suffer! Those that have the money win. THE DEATH OF F1 2019 R.I.P.

  14. Sport is supposed to be free for everyone, not just for the wealthy. It’s greed from people like bearnie Ecclestone that as killed it on terrestrial TV, all they care about is money.f1 that is.

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