YouTube starts broadcasting live sport, but will F1 ever get on board?

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FOA don't want people watching F1 on YouTube

YouTube has signed its first deal to broadcast sport live on the internet.

Its contract with the Indian Premier League has surprised media analysts because it allows YouTube to stream live coverage in every country including those where TV deals for the IPL are already in place (apart from the USA).

F1 rights holders FOA should consider a similar deal. It could bring in more revenue and promote Formula 1 to YouTube’s huge audience. What’s not to like?

F1 is broadcast on television in many countries. FOA has largely left it to television companies to arrange internet broadcasts – and so legal internet streams are the exception rather than the rule.

Britain has had live internet broadcasts of F1 races for the last two years. Few other countries do, however, and progress is slow. When American broadcaster Speed TV extended its contract to show the sport last month it included a deal to show video clips online – but not live races.

There is clearly demand for live race broadcasts online, particularly in countries which don’t have F1 broadcasts on television. During our live blogs during F1 sessions at F1 Fanatic there are always requests for video feeds.

YouTube already has a connection with F1 via CEO Chad Hurley’s investment in the US F1 team. The new outfit has embraced online video and has already shared some interesting behind-the-scenes footage on YouTube.

The site streams over one billion videos per day and already offers HD support for when F1 finally gets on board with modern video quality standards.

FOA goes to great lengths to take down F1 video posted on YouTube but it should be embracing the massive opportunity it offers rather than shunning it.

Bernie Ecclestone helped transform F1 into a globally recognised sport through his television broadcasting deals in the 1970s. F1 is in danger of missing out on the next revolution in broadcasting if he does not take note of the massive potential of internet streaming.

F1 on TV

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “YouTube starts broadcasting live sport, but will F1 ever get on board?”

  1. I don’t see it happening. I’m sure CVC’s opinion would be that the current situation is working, so there’s no need to change it. And also it’s fairly unlikely Bernie even knows what Youtube is.

  2. i wouldn’t stream live F1 on youtube anyway. internet isn’t fast enough (especially for the HD option) and quality would be poor (compared to a tv). even to watch the BBC stream from my uni, i need a tv license.

    1. lol playing it safe i see. don’t you know uni students don’t pay for tv license lol. nobody in the halls i knew did anyway. although now that im no longer in the UK i miss the BBC broadcast….speed tv isn’t up to par

      1. well i can stream it from my laptop without getting a license, but thats illegal. (have streamed it a few times tho ;) was cr*p quality). and yes student DO have to pay for licenses.

      2. Maybee not but is is all us US got if we are going to watch F1.

  3. Absolutely off topic:

    Ferrari has presented the new car to the press.
    You cas see some pics here:

    I don’t like the new livery with the wings in white!

  4. Well, at least if we follow a link to a youtube F1 video that has been taken down by FOM, at least we can then follow another link to ‘meet sexy singles’.

    So it’s not all bad.

  5. Well, In germany RTL is already streaming it, so @sato113 , I think it’s definetely possible to stream HD, but sure I won’t like i on youtube as well.

  6. Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Make it happen! Altough I’m beeing a bit optimistic here, knowing the F1 managament :(

  7. I’m not bothered about live F1 races being on YouTube. What I’d like to see is, being able to see past races in their entirety, without having to illegally download them.

    1. Ditto to that.

    2. And thirded. I made this point a little while ago, imagine if it cost you only $1 to download a single F1 race, the profits they’d make would still be immense.

      Of course, they’d argue that they’d only be pirated onto the internet, but that’s exactly what’s going on now. And in my experience, most illegal downloaders are people trying to get stuff they can’t get anywhere else, or wanting to try something out before committing. There are several things that I downloaded off the internet and then went out and bought the real-world versions of.

  8. I reckon that we’d have to wait until the Grand Old Man, Mr B.C. Ecclestone, has passed on to an other world for this to happen. Investing in the web as a medium often takes more time than striking a relatively quickly-made national TV deal does.

  9. This is just my opinion but it seems like F1 doesn’t really have an audience on the freakshow that is YouTube. Even the more popular sports like football don’t get as many views as the various v-blogging kooks who are the main attraction.

    Seriously, if the future of sports spectatorship is huddling round a laptop, count me out.

    1. I don’t think anyone’s saying this is the future – especially if you’re coming from somewhere like the UK where the TV content is excellent…but from the live blogs there’s a heck of a lot of folk coming from a country where either the coverage is dire, very delayed, or nonexistent, and thus there’s a market there surely.

      With the IPL thing it’s “as well as” and not “instead of”.

  10. Exactly Robert….

    Keith has hit this one right on the head. For much of the world, the internet is going to be the whole show.

    Quality will follow the audience, just as in TV. It’s the future and having the option of watching it online is a fantastic opportunity.

    YouTube is making a wise choice in this diversification from it’s normal offerings of “freak show”, a la Rob R., content. (YouTube is such a huge source of material that it becomes much like present day TV offerings…it is only “freaky” if that is what you choose to watch)

    One day, would that it was actually in my life time, Bernie will be gone and F1 will once again be given back to the public, that being the result of sane commercial policies by the inheritors of the now enthroned Evil Empire.

    And on that Day we shall all take a knee in thanks for our emancipation, while simultaneously by the way, catching a live feed on the then sustaining source for all that is F1…..YouTube. (My window into the future may be a bit obscure)

  11. Teaching old (very) dogs new tricks? Especially when they are short sighted & see dollar signs only? Can’t see it happen when Bernie & co are running the show. I suppose it could happen if CVC puts pressure on Bernie, but in a realistic commercial world, CVC is the owner, but in reality a silent partner. Who am I kidding, the suits are in the same breed as Bernie…

  12. I don’t think it will happen.But if it does it will be great.FOM usually removes all the races of the 2000’s from You Tube due to copyright law.
    Don’t know why they want to stop F1 fans to watch past races.

  13. Magnificent Geoffrey
    21st January 2010, 2:49

    I came to Australia from the UK a few years back and I find the general coverage here to be disappointly average in comparison to what I saw of the BBC coverage through constant searches for active streams each session last year (thank you Mr. Collantine, the live blogs each session were life-savers!). I have to admit, OneHD’s coverage of the season last year – with actual live-live coverage of all races bar Brazil here in SA, which was never the case until last year – was much improved and much appreciated, and so I’m not complaining about that aspect of their coverage at all.

    However, like many of you, F1 is my major sporting interest and one of the aspects of this truly wonderful sport that strikes me as completely absurd is the fact that FOM and Bernie/CVC and whoever else pulls the strings in terms of broadcasting rights completely fail to grasp the massive opportunities that the web and online multimedia present. We all know that for Bernie, TV rights deals are where a significant part of his revenue is generated, but how does he expect for that to remain the case when that effectively is the only means for him to get his product out there to its fans throught the world and to new potential audiences? It is the year 2010 and the official Formula 1 website is a bare-bones embarrassment compared to almost every other major sporting website on the web – from NFL to the Premier League, MotoGP and NASCAR to take other motorsports into account, heck, even this site provides more in the way of intresting content and entertainment compared to what the ‘official’ site offers.

    Look at all the places the sport has ‘expanded’ to recently in terms of hoping to generate new fans and revenue: Bahrain, Turkey, Abu Dhabi. How are the attendences at those races looking to us in the more ‘traditional’ homes of the sport? Not too ideal. All of those countries I believe do deserve races and I support F1 expanded to new markets but looking at countries such as China and, potentially, South Korea – two countries who are arguably the most actively online nations of the East – how does Bernie expect to capture the imaginations of citizens in those countries without having any significant online presence at all? No videos, no extra special services, features, offers etc. The TV-only business model seems doomed to fail to me, although admittedly I am no expect at this.

    Ultimately my point is if FOM and Bernie really are serious about improving their product and increasing their fan base – and they refuse to return to Digitally enhanced world-wide TV coverage such as F1Digital+ – then they need to establish some form of definitive online broadcasting, such as live streams, highlights, pre and post-race features, etc, etc. MotoGP and NASCAR have offered this for years now and charge users for full access to all content so why not do the same for F1? Because I tell you, Mr. Ecclestone, if you came to me and offered me official and reliable live streams of all race weekend sessions with some other features for a yearly ‘Season Ticket’ charge, my credit card would be out so fast it would knock your glasses straight off your face.

    TL:DR: I’m an Australian who wants proper online access to watching all official F1 sessions and am amazed this isn’t already available in the year 2010 when every other major sport and motorsport does already.

    1. thank you Mr. Collantine, the live blogs each session were life-savers!

      You’re welcome – they’ll be back again for every session in 2010.

  14. Amen Keith. You nailed this perfectly.

    I think most of the post here have copmpletely missed the point, save for the last few.

    FOM should embrace the internet as a means to promote F1 to a wider audience rather than rebuke it. If they spent as much time doing a legal promotion of it on the internet, as they do condeming it, they would be much farther down the road.

    No, it’s not going to happen overnight. There must be a zillion legalities to be sorted but it’s high time that the FOM, as well as all major sports look into providing additional service to people world wide who are dying for coverage anyway they can get it. And Chad Hurley’s involvement in F1 can, hopefully, start to open some eyes with new ideas.

    I dont think anyone wants any sports coverage to be internet based only. But there is a tremendus medium that is being completly overlooked that would broaden the fan base, world wide. Not to mention the billions that could be generated in additional revenues.

    Just starting off by giving people, world wide, the capability to watch past events, in full, would be a major step forward.

    For all the grief everyone gives Ecclestone, myself included, we must admit, as Keith mentioned that he did do a tremendus job at getting F1 world wide coverage. But that was decades ago and it’s high time that SOMEONE brings it into the 21st century. There is so much to gain for both the fan base and for FOM’s revenues. Ecclestone certainly has the talent and ability to make it happen. I think he just needs to realise the massive potential and get on with it.

    How could anyone think that having the ability to stream F1 live over the internet, in addition, to the tv coverage, is a bad move? I just dont get it.

    As another poster wrote, most people go online to illegaly get what they can’t get legally. I certainly do. In fact people do it daily, that’s what brings millinos to YouTube. I do it for music concerts because of the lack of legally available DVD’s for the artist I enjoy. That doesnt mean I dont buy their official merchandise. To the contrary, I’ve spend hundereds if not thousands over the years on one artist alone.

    Keith I applaude you for striving for more. I wish the FOM would do likewise.

  15. Ya Bring it on bring it on! Though not seeing it happening with current management in place.

  16. For those of us that live and work outside our home country, it is only possible to watch it on local TV. Since in my case my Chinese was non existant I had to watch the pictures and guess what was going on.

    If it was available over the Internet, I would be able to follow it in my own languge wherever I was in the world – alterntively it wouldn’t be to bad if they allowed the radio commentry on R5 to be broadcast outside the UK.

  17. Good Job Keith!

    I admire the efforts you have been doing on discuss and even to put some pressure to see F1 broadcast on Youtube.

    Thank you and congratulations.

  18. Could someone please explain me as to what is this Indian League? Never heard of it at Dallas.

    1. It’s a cricket tournament.

  19. It’s strange noting as F1 has changed with web and the same time is against evolution.

    They want “improve the show” but they’re blocking access to fans. It’s a contraditory question.

  20. I think it would be a great idea to broadcast F1 on youtube, its actually how I got into F1, I was flicking through videos when I came across a video clip of F1 and i’ve been hooked ever since. Youtube and the internet is so huge, especially in America. Theres so many people F1 could reach through youtube, people that might not have been introduced to formula one otherwise, like myself. And surely this will eventually increase attendance at Grand Prix.

    Also on another note one thing I would like to see F1 do is broadcast the thursday and friday press conferences, they always seem to have clips of them on the review DVD’s but i can’t seem to find any videos of them. I Know they’re available to read on the F1 website but theres so many comical moments in these interviews such as the Suti-Trulli argument, they could put that on youtube or the F1 website?

  21. I’m pretty sure Bernie not only doesn’t know what YouTube is, he’s probably wondering what HD is as well.

    “What’s all this HD nonsense people keep blabbering about? Rabbit ears worked for guys like Saddam Hussein, so why upgrade?”

  22. Non Flyer…not a chance in hell.

  23. Bernie does not understand the web and value that new media can bring to F1 unless you show him bottom line profits. I can just hear Bernie saying “it will be a cold day in hell before F1 is broadcast free on YouTube”. This is not likely to happen unless Chad can twist his arm and grease his palms…

  24. Download Youtube with Freecorder for FREE – yes, freeeeeeeeeeeee

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