Why Sky’s deal will damage F1’s popularity


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BBC will continue to show the Monaco Grand Prix live

Let’s get one thing clear up front: I am a Sky Sports subscriber.

Does that mean I’m happy with the deal announced on Friday which will split live F1 coverage in the UK between the BBC and Sky? Far from it.

The worst time to leave the BBC

For the second time in three years, Britain’s host F1 broadcaster decided to abandon its existing F1 deal two years before it was set to expire. First ITV in 2008, now the BBC.

While ITV wanted out of their deal to spend money elsewhere, the BBC has been forced to make cuts since the government ordered it to freeze the licence fee for six years at the end of 2010.

The upshot of this is a new deal which will see half the races broadcast live on the BBC, the other half on Sky Sports. Exactly how much money the BBC has saved isn’t clear.

Could a deal have been struck to keep F1 on the BBC at a lower price? Or did Bernie Ecclestone seize the opportunity to seal a more lucrative deal with Sky?

Whichever is the case, it couldn’t be a worse time for F1 to leave the BBC. Viewing figures grown in recent years, aided by the better quality racing seen this year, BBC’s excellent standard of coverage, and the success of Britain’s drivers and teams.

Almost five million people watch the British Grand Prix. Over 6.2m saw the rain-hit Canadian Grand Prix – even more viewers than the 2010 season finale attracted.

The Monaco Grand Prix saw a 15-minute peak of 6.1m viewers – a ten-year high. Just this weekend the Hungarian Grand Prix was the most-watched programme on any channel.

But with half of next year’s races on a subscription sports channel, this growth will not be sustained across an entire season’s racing.

F1’s core audience at risk

Looking at the figures in detail, F1 in Britain enjoys a core of three to four million regular viewers, with audiences numbers fluctuating between the most significant races and those which are shown early in the morning.

The Sky deal risks compromising the core of F1’s popularity. Live football matches only attract around 1.4m viewers on Sky.

F1 fans complained in huge numbers online – over 8,000 on one BBC article. Many in the media closed their ears to the criticism, some branding it “hysteria”.

But there is much reasonable objection from fans to the potential damage it will do to F1’s popularity. And, naturally, to the extortionate cost of watching the ten missing live races in 2012.

61 per race

To see those ten races live and in HD, as all F1 races have been broadcast on the BBC this year, viewers will have to fork out a staggering 610* – that’s 61 per race.

(It would be interesting to know from F1 Fanatic readers outside the UK how much they pay to see F1 races live.)

The deal will split F1 fans between those who will pay the extra to watch live, those who will be content to watch delayed, edited highlights – and those who will just stop watching.

But with real-time coverage increasingly popular in all forms of media, the prospect of watching postponed coverage will not be appealing for many. Especially given the difficulty of not discovering the result beforehand.

“For sure there are going to be a lot more people viewing,” reckons Ecclestone. Perhaps, but I suspect many will be watching illegal online video feeds.

I’m not going to jump to positive or negative conclusions about what Sky’s coverage will be like. They certainly have the budget and resources to do a good job, and the news that they will show the races without adverts is an encouraging sign.

But that is almost besides the point when so few fans will be able to afford it in the first place.

Update: Since this article was published further details of Sky’s subscription service and how it affects F1 viewers have been announced. See here for more.

*Based on a minimum 12-month contract Sky Sports HD subscription. 48.70 per race for standard definition.


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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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452 comments on “Why Sky’s deal will damage F1’s popularity”

  1. Keith,

    Great summation of this appalling situation.

    Do we know yet which ten races the BBC will retain ?

    1. Tom Chiverton
      3rd August 2011, 13:30

      Idealy, they’d like everything in a lunchtime-ish timezone, but that would leave Sky with all the boring fly away concrete races, which I doubt they’ll go for…

      1. I’m hoping they go for all the early morning, late evening ones… because I can’t go and watch Sky at someone elses house when it’s too early!

        Yes I am being sly!

        1. They will have to take all the evening ones- otherwise they won’t properly have time to show their ‘deferred extended highlights.’ Unless when they say deferred they mean at a ridiculous hour on a sundae night when everybody is in bed or until the following week…

        2. Elliot Horwood
          4th August 2011, 23:28

          Its not £61 a race though!? i can get SkySports 1+2 for £27 a month through freeview on TopUptv, so that about £15-£27 a race Keith.

      2. Although it would leave Sky with Canada, which was so terribly boring this year ;)

      3. According the Guardian, they will take turns picking races. The BBC get the first three picks (Silverstone, Monaco, season finale), then Sky pick three, then the BBC pick three and so on.

    2. We know three of the races to be kept – Monaco, Silverstone and whichever race is the last of the season – but the other seven are yet to be announced.

      1. I feel sorry for UK people, honestly. 610 pounds a year, translated into my own currency is about 1342 leva, in a country, where the average monthly wage is fluctuating between 500 and 1000 leva. This is Bulgaria.

        Locally, we used to get F1 races (all, including Q)from a national free-to-air-provider, which has changed, to another provider, TV7 – http://tv7.bg/information/.

        We can watch live here http://f1.tv7.bg/ – all for free. Frankly, I can’t imagine someone asking for money here …

        The FP are broadcasted via cable channel, available for the users of certain cable operator. This is how the things are over here. I can understand the frustration.

        1. There is also a TV licence fee of £145.50 to consider, making it £755.50 per year.

          £145.50 for 10 races plus £610 for the rest.

          That’s 1,696 leva or $1,231 USD or €867.30

          1. I pay more for my internet…

            Title should read “Why Sky’s deal will damage F1′s popularity only in the UK”.

          2. Do you have your own internet infy? If so the price you’re paying is rather cheap…

          3. Obviously he’s not a native-speaker of English, don’t be an ass about it.

            As far as the British fans’ fate goes, you were sold and screwed over, yet you’re probably most loyal and committed fans on the planet. What times do we live in?!

          4. Do you really think the only country to suffer from sky moving into F1 coverage is going to be the UK… Sky’s owners have their fingers in satellite coverage all over the planet…

          5. Can you subscribe to Sky on monthly basis? Most likely you don’t need to subscribe for at least 3months (Dec-Feb) where there will not be any races (Probably august also if BBC covers spa). Moreover in many countries HD coverage is not available, so the cost comparison with other countries may not be on same level basis.

            Overall i don’t think viewership will be down by massive numbers as most people resort to internet feeds which are good enough.

          6. Except that internet feeds do do not count towards viewing figures, so the sport will appear to be in decline with reduced figures.

            As Keith stated, it is a minimum 12-month contract.

          7. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            3rd August 2011, 20:20

            Thats assuming you want the HD version, I’m not sure how much the SD version of Sky Sports is in the UK but I imagine it would be significantly cheaper than the HD package which is a luxury not a requirment really

          8. Title should read “Why Sky’s deal will damage F1′s popularity only in the UK”.

            Actually it did originally (without “only”) – you can see it in the URL.

            But obviously either headline is correct – it will harm F1’s popularity in one region, therefore it will harm it overall.

            To be honest, I prefer it the way it is now, it sounds less parochial.

          9. Keith its misleading and makes the problem sound larger than it really is.

            Global viewing figurs probably wont change that much. If anything, it will probably level out if you consider the sports growing global presence in countries like the US and Africa (which is developing at a rapid rate).

            You lose a few people from the UK, but gain tens of millions elsewhere. All while making even more money.

          10. You lose a few people from the UK, but gain tens of millions elsewhere. All while making even more money.

            Over the year those 20 races would draw in around 120 million viewers here in the UK. That alone is almost 1/4 of the 527 million GLOBAL audience from last year.

          11. It’s not misleading at all.
            The Sky deal will absolutely damage F1’s popularity, and damage the sport as an entity.

            I don’t understand how the Sky deal will influence the number of people outside the UK (barring commentary issues). And judging by Sky’s probable aim of taking over F1 elsewhere it’s only probable to do what it will do in the UK. Slash viewing figures and therefor, hit F1’s popularity hard.

        2. in asturias, spain, we have two choices. la sexta, a national channel, or tele asturias a local channel Both are free, and teleasturias is even free of commercials!!!
          They are both bias, but la sexta has de la rosa and marc gene commentating, what makes it a more professional bunch.
          What i do is, i start with the one without commercials, and when i get upset for their biased comments, or i see they make some big mistake, mostly translating from the car radio broadcast, i just switch. Not bad for a country without racing heritage, as someone said on this site before.

          1. There is the small matter of a chain reaction situation – Bernie will assume from this deal he can pretty much disregard Concorde with regars to the media, leading to price hikes elsewhere and possibly resulting in other places having their coverage switched to more obscure/pricier/difficult-to-access channels.

            If the Sky deal eventually collapses as I believe it will, the reverse effect will happen because the UK is one of F1’s four biggest markets. A third successive failure of contract involving all three different kinds of broadcaster will send the signal across the world that Bernie charges too much money and will harden negotiation stances.

          2. kowalsky, does la sexta also show F1 live on the internet, or is it just on TV?

        3. You lose a few people from the UK, but gain tens of millions elsewhere.

          How does the BBC/Sky deal increase the number of F1 viewers outside the UK?

          1. This is complete sillyness.

            and not a fact in the slightest. I am so miffed that we are losing half of the F1 season.

    3. If some F1 Fanatic in the UK knows a nearby F1 Fanatic, they can share the cost of the Sky subscription, buying only one, and meeting on weekends to watch the race.

      1. That sounds like a nice Idea. The saved cost could be lower than travel cost and it would have added fun.

      2. It would be a nice idea. Wouldn’t work for me as I live nearly an hour away from the nearest place I know to have such a box (and it’s a pub so there’s a good chance it’ll be on football), but “F1 Fanatic clubs” would be a cool idea – whether you live somewhere that has this as an issue or not.

        1. Feeling rather desparate about the thought of not being able to see the whole season live – sick to the stomach actually when you think we are always being told that we are the best fans in the world but it seems to be ok, for finacial reasons, to take F1 away from us. Would like to know what Martin, Eddie & Jake think in private rather then the ‘brave face’ they may be putting on on TV, telling us that 10 is better then none (true to a certain extent but still not excusing the fact that certain things should be ‘free to air’.)
          As a single working Mum who doesn’t stand a hope in hell of having enough money to pay for SKY (especially when I would really resent having to do so)I like the idea of ‘F1 Fanatic Clubs’ At least its a little bit subversive and a way of getting around Sky’s extortionate charges (Couldn’t believe how much Sky Sports was when I checked it out for myself)The Sky fee shared would become affordable but also not register as a big take up on their coverage.

          1. You state very eloquently the feelings I suspect that a great many share, it was announced that the live F1 races in Italy were sold to Sky Italia, owned by GUESS WHO ? Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. There are many TV moguls who think the days of free terestial coverage of Formula One in Europe are numbered. For many ordianry viewers 2012 was the first of part time broadcast of F1 live events FTA TV, due to the BBC out bid of ITV then agreed to share broadcasting with Sky, owned by Murdoch. Meanwhile the ecclestone wealth grows by telephone numbers while SKY bless them dedicate a whole channel showing all practice, qualifying and race llive on Sky Sports F1 channel, Ordinary fans who live on planet earth meanwhile have to put up with half the races live, delayed highlights of the others and commentry by a gaggle of guys verbally hiccuped at every turn by the yellow peril Jordan. Mere mortals on teh other hand have to weigh up the prospect of parting with £500 a year to get Sky Sports package or forsake teh family holliday to ourgardengate. Eccles old man, you must have been blinded by the size of Murdochs wonga.

    4. As long as the BBc run full length race re-runs on BBC 1, I’m happy

      1. Doubt it….

        1. I could live with full length re-runs and according to Bernie BBC can do that if they want but he doesn’t want them to for some reason probably other than to even more so irritate every British F1 fan.

          It looked like the only reason Martin Whitmarsh never objected to the changes was that Bernie assured him them there would be full delayed races shown.

        2. it’ll be like the rubbish BBC3 highlight show

          1. The irony is they will probably put the highlights on BBC3… the channel they saved by cutting £25m in costs. Personally I think scrapping the channel and putting F1 on BBC1 is a more sensible option.

      2. They’ve already said there’ll be 75-minute highlights, meaning it will be a slightly longer version of the highlights show already on BBC3. The main difference is it might make it onto BBC1 or BBC2 instead of being stuck on a channel with a relatively weak signal.

  2. Tom Chiverton
    3rd August 2011, 13:30

    “For sure there are going to be a lot more people viewing,” reckons Ecclestone.

    Where as everyone else thinks much less people will be watching, as by definition there are less homes with Sky. But there will be more people watching on Sky than at present (zero)… he’s a lawyer remember, that’s how he got out of the FTA requirement.

    1. I’m surprised not one person has asked him how more people are going to be watching when you go from 29m homes to 3m?

      The saddest thing is F1 will NEVER be back free to air – once the BBC sees the viewing figures drop – and they will – it will be a excuse to drop it completely and then it will be job done Barbara Slater.

      1. Sky has 10m subs.

        1. Sky Sports only has 2m according to a report I read. And of that manages around 250k viewers per show usually, apart from the footie.

          1. Sky has 10m subscribers,but only 1.3m Sky Sport subs.

        2. sure Ecclestone said as recently as May “They[Sky] have been trying to buy the TV rights from us for a long time, but we won’t because they are not free-to-air television broadcasters. They are a subscription service.

          “Sky is doing an incredible job but if you look at their audience they are nowhere. With these figures it would be almost impossible for teams to find sponsors. That would be suicidal.”

          This guy would tell anybody anything, can’t trust a word he says.

          £60 a race! thats crazy! imagine how ****** off u would be if paid that to watch Bahrain 2010!

          Nice sum up Keith, but you forgot the upside in all this, We still have BBC4. By we I mean the about 4 people who actually watch it.

          1. I think you’re onto a losing argument if you say “BBC show X, therefore they should show Y”. Besides which, I love Only Connect on BBC4 :-)

          2. Twice as many people watch BBC4’s most popular shows than Sky Sport’s most popular offerings. They’re aimed at different audiences though, and that’s one of the BBC’s problems; unlike Sky, it has to work to try to please as many people as possible, even if that means nobody is completely happy and some people are not happy at all.

          3. Just to say here, I love BBC4.

          4. BBC4 does show some great stuff. All the interesting topics that I should have cared more about at school, but didn’t. There are some very good science and nature docs on there. Although thats something else I’ll have to sacrifice next year.

            BBC3 is what should get the can. 90% chav “comedy” and 10% Seth MacFarlaine animations, 5% of which I own on DVD already.

          5. BBC4 is very good; it’s where you find the documentaries and intelligent stuff. It’s also where they showed Wallander. But I do agree with your inference that there are too many BBC channels. The BBC could condense much of what it broadcast onto two channels – hey, that would be a good idea ;-). They could then reduce the amount of dross (“snog, marry , avoid”, etc) and repeats of everything they broadcast, and go back to being the corporation they once were – setting the standard in programme making as opposed to following the trends. Unfortunately pigs will fly when that happens. For me it’s time to pull the plug on the TV license.

          6. Wasn’t it BBC4 where charlie brooker started screenwipe? One of them ost entertaining shows I’ve seen and it lead to newswipe and his TV career in gerneral.

          7. Here’s a few interesting stats –
            This year, races have peaked at over 6 million viewers, a figure which is only going to increase.
            Throughout an average day, BBC 3 has 4.3 million, BBC 4 has 1.9 million, BBC News 24 has 4.3 million and BBC Parliament has 290,000. BBC Parliament has only 1.3 million throughout an average year. These are just a selection of channels the BBC should put before F1 on the “lets get rid of this” list. They also have dozens of different radio stations they could cut costs on. If they must keep some programmes (like Only Connect!) they could merge the channels together.
            Also, F1 creates more viewers than any of the many Sky channels over an average day, and more than a lot of them in an average week.

            One last interesting point – Dave also has more viewers than any Sky channel(!)

          8. I don’t have a problem funding stuff that goes on BBC4, only that there is a BBC4. It should be on BBC2 instead.

          9. @Matt90, Yeah Screenwipe was on there I think, although it was probably the only BBC4 show I ever watched to be honest. His ‘How TV Ruined Your Life’ series is class btw.

          10. So Say Anything isn’t the only thing we agree on. I didn’t even see it on BBC4, I saw it repeated on BBC2 at about midnight after working an evening shift. So BBC4 produced that great programme and it isn’t even where I saw it.

          11. BBC 4 may have some good programs but do we need a whole.channel for this. Many of the good programs on BBC 4 used to be on BBC2 so why not put them back there and do away with BBC4?

            One more thing I have complained to the BBC and they say they have told everyone everything they need to know and that they can’t give a personal response as they are too busy…. What is the point in a complaints service that can’t answer your complaint! I also wonder how they would act if we all said we were too busy to pay our licence fee!

          12. Looking in from the outside, I get the feeling BBC would do a better job keeping F1 and other benchmark setting quality shows, then investing in buying something to counter X-Factor.
            Why put this kind of drivel show, only aimed at getting viewing figures up on a public station that has no advertising? Shouldn’t that fall under distorting competition with state funding.

            They could even sell the Top Gear concept to be broadcast commercially, that would bring in some solid finances.

          13. @BasCB: TopGear is already been commercially exploited. It’s shown here in the Netherlands on a “free” channel (adverts on it) and also in Germany. Probably also in other countries.

          14. BBC4 is great…but BBC3!??!! just don’t understand the point of it – you get the kind of stuff they show all over Freeview…sorry if I’ve offended any BBC3 watchers but I WANT F1 ‘free to air’ (Stamps foot)….. :)

      2. I’m still waiting to see how Sky expects to make a profit on this when it needs between 0.5 million and 0.88 million people to subscribe to Sky Sports each year, from scratch, purely for F1, just to break even (assuming selling pre- and post-race ads covers precisely the cost of producing the show, marketing etc). That is based on certain estimates, but if my calculations are correct, Sky won’t touch F1 with a 10-foot bargepole when renewal time comes up (and may drop the contract before).

        Once that happens, Bernie is forced to reduce his rates if he wants his precious series to be broadcast in one of its 4 main markets. At that point, free-to-air broadcasters will be interested again.

        1. What a great analysis ALC !

          All of that makes you wonder whether the professional bean counters in both the Beeb and News Int. had all gone up the Amazon for a months vacation ! Surely, if an intelligent contributor to this blog can do the sums in the way you have, then, with all
          the number-crunching power they have at their disposal they should have been able to tell their execs in clear terms…. ‘don’t touch this deal with that 10 foot bargepole’.

          OK, so if the BBC had done their sums properly they could have slimmed down their expensive presentation teams and set up to the bare essentials and just given us bare bones races and qualy’s.

          So, is there actually much more to this deal than meets the eye ? Could it be that the stories we hear about F1 have very powerful enemies very high up in the BBC heirarchy are perhaps at least as much to blame as the need to save some money ?


          1. yes with that analysis hopefuly we will have 3 broadcasters in a row breaking their contract early :)

          2. exactly if they trimmed down the team, present it from a studio in UK (like wsb) only send martin and DC. and perhaps a half decent pit guy.

            thats it.

          3. My guess is that the BBC’s cuts are time-sensitive. The problem with the fixed licence fee was going to get worse with time, but a lot of things can’t be substantially cut until some point in the future without causing mass disruption for the broadcaster. It was probably a question of “what can we cut first without losing too many hours of broadcasting or getting into trouble with the government?” The F1 contract proved easy to re-negotiate, so it got done first (bear in mind that the Bernie fee is much, much more expensive than the cost of getting those programming hours presented and distributed).

            They’re good-value hours for the audience received, which is probably why it’s committing to having 10 live races (rather than 20 on “extended highlights”), but for a broadcaster needing to make big savings quickly, beggars cannot be choosers.

        2. My guess is, this is only the first step for Sky to get full live broadcast exclusively in 1-2 years (with the BBC having only highlights and maybe one or two races where they use SKYs feed).
          So it should be considered as an investment.

        3. Another thought there. Might Sky be counting on saving a bit by using this coverage for a lot of their other english language stations (except Speed?) to be able to show F1 as well.

          Instead of making a separate show each, or buying BBC coverage.

        4. Form what I can tell Sky will do very well from this! Say it cost Sky £50m for the rights for a year then they only need 80 thousand new people subscribing to HD at £610 a year or 100 thousand to normal def at $480. That’s only about 2-3% of the average audience on BBC which i reckon they’ll easily get. I won’t be able to afford it but next year I might yet sign up for it anyway depending how it all pans out.

    2. No laywer. Max Mosley is laywer.
      Used car sales man… (Bernie)

    3. yep. it’s called cherry picking. as you’ve pointed out, what he says is totally true when a specific isn’t mentioned.

      bernie presented with data:
      ‘on bbc, we’ll lose 3m viewers
      on sky, we’ll gain 200k viewers’

      bernie: “let’s go with the sky data, just leave out the ‘sky’ bit!”

  3. Williams chairman Parr tells fans to support cost-cutting ideas in Formula 1

    What is Adam Parr smoking? F1 can reduce it’s costs all it wants, but expecting the fans to subsidise that reduction shows how out of touch with reality he and F1 is.

    Believe it or not we the public are not a crutch always around to support the excesses of the irresponisble.

    Expecting British fans to pay £755.50 per year and be happy about it is ridiculous and insulting.


    This post has been revised from one I posted in another article.

    1. Tom Chiverton
      3rd August 2011, 13:40

      Re: that article

      Why isn’t he pushing for the 40mill budget cap they all agreed to actually be implemented then ?

      1. Because a) there was no stage when everyone agreed to it, b) it would have compelled everyone to quietly cheat to be competitive c) different accounting methods and legal obstacles would have made the system impossible to enforce anyway.

    2. I think some of these team bosses need a reality check. It is all the ones that are most stuck for money that are making these type of statements like Eric Boulier and Colin Koles.

      They are biting the hand that feeds them in desperation cause their companies or them directly have done a bad job in raising sponsorship.

    3. Adam Parr is a business man, and his company is getting an extra million from the deal. So it’s no surprise that he’s keen to whitewash the deal.

      1. They get more short term but longer term they all suffer through less coverage and that is why it said in the concorde agreement F1 was to be only on free-to-air in major viewer zones.

      2. Also, they suffer when Sky fails to break even and refuses to renew because all teams will suddenly have a big loss of TV money in the resulting chain reaction, but the small teams will be most vulnerable to it.

  4. I won’t be hit by this directly, but this year I started watching the races on the BBC and it’s incredible how good their coverage is. It’s like watching a totally different series comparing to the FOX Sports Latin America coverage…

    I feel for you, Brits. I’d not like to pay for F1 either.

    1. I agree. In Brazil race coverage is free to air via TV Globo, with practice sessions and edited highlights shown on a subsidiary cable and satellite channel. However qualifying and race day at least frankly suck: virtually no race build up, annoyingly repetitive and often ridiculous and hopelessly uninformed commentary by the main presenter, Galvão Bueno (think: a nagging great aunt) and no respect at all if the race runs over. Watching BBC coverage via ‘alternative’ live feeds, the difference is staggering.

      The new deal makes absolutely no sense beyond a very short term profit for Ecclestone, who is maybe now past caring for even the medium term future of Formula 1? Seems so.

      1. Oh and no HD, though Globo’s sports channels, SporTV, do include an HD channel, just for football apparently.

      2. David is right about some of Globo’s shortcomings, but we can’t forget they have a good – if not spetacular – commentary by Reginaldo Leme, that is a hugely experienced journalist – who told first-hand “Crashgate” news to the world – and some good in-field coverage with reporters like Mariana Becker.

        We have a fantastic difference, in the positive side, from the British coverage. We don’t have ad breaks. They insert ads during the transmission but keep showing the action, only cutting the sound for 10 secs, and also used to show no smoking disclaimers required by our legislation. I think they don’t show it anymore because there’s no more explicit tobbacco advert…

        When you compare quality and depth of information provided by blogs like F1fanatic, obviously the commentary by free-to-air TV is ridiculous and uninformed, but I think it pleases the average “non-fanatic” F1 viewer.

        So, as he said, Qualifying and Race are transmited live and free-to-air, with almost no build-up (5 minutes) or post-race analysis (5 minutes, mostly showing the slowing lap and the podium ceremony)

        The cable channel (Sportv), that shows the practice sessions, used to show post-race interviews, but I didn’t folow it in 2011.

        This channel is included in the basic cable TV package and you don’t need to pay any extra to see it.

        1. Daniel, totally agree with you, Reginaldo Leme and Mariana Becker are fine reporters, I did mean to mention them but forgot. If only we heard more of them both before and during the race! Often, though, they’re cut off mid-sentence by another Galvão rant about nothing in particular (well usually about Hamilton being very naughty yet again). The lack of mid race ads is also good – though cutting to the ads immediately after the race often means losing sight of the drivers as they get out of the cars and remove their helmets – and so stops us seeing their expressions, disappointed, elated, angry, congratulating the winner or not, etc. For me one of the best bits of the race.

  5. As someone who has Sky Sports, I agree with all of this. I’m not sure what makes Bernie think that ratings will increase. I doubt those who have Sky Sports, but have no interest in F1 are going to start watching.

    1. People who have Sky Sports have it for 1 main reason, Football. Football in the UK is always on at the weekend (aside from offseason) Saturday games start at 12:45pm & 17:30pm (e.g when races have qualifying)
      Sunday times, 13:00 & 16:30 … which, you guessed it, is when a race is on.

      Sure, the option of recording the race (or football) is on, but the time 1 has finished and you start watching the other, the BBC will be showing highlights anyway!

      We know that the Beeb are getting Monaco & the British GP, Both are when Football season is on its summer break. So its fair to say that theres no large ‘block’ of races (e.g. 10 consecutive) races on 1 channel and 10 on the other, it looks to be a mix of 1 week sky, 1 week bbc. Surely the Football is going to be a big puller, even when F1s on?

      1. Don’t put it past sky to change the start times of F1 races to fit in with ‘Super Sunday’ football.

        It hurts just to write these kinds of words.

        1. McLarenFanJamm
          3rd August 2011, 16:41

          Don’t be ridiculous John H.

          The reason sky change the kick-off of football matches is because it is illegal to broadcast Saturday 3pm football matches in the UK. They have also been with the premier league since it was created and have pumped hundreds of millions of pounds in to the sport over the past 20 years. This is why they have the power to move games to 12:30pm, 17:30pm and to Sundays.

          They do not have this influence over F1 and never will.

          Also, all these comments to the tune of ‘it will never compete with the football’ that’s why there are 4 sports channels… So they can show more than one sport at a time. The only time they show multiple football matches is midweek for champions league or internationals. F1 isn’t on then.

          1. Good point McLarenFanJamm, you’re probably right. The UK audience isn’t too significant globally to shift start times.

            However, to think that they will not have any influence on how the ‘F1 show’ (as it now is) or “Super F1 Sunday, all the F1, all the time” is delivered is naive IMHO.

          2. No, it’s naive to speculate or what could or could not happen before any real details about the deal have been announced.

            £60m a year is nothing compared to what they pump into football. They will have no influence over the bearing of the sport whatsoever. Sky Germany don’t and neither do any other satellite broadcasters in any other country.

          3. sky havent been with the premier league since it started. they are one of the same.

            they effectively created it (well right place, right time) and roped in the teams in first division to leave by throwing £££ at them.

            all the other teams resigned from 1st division and created a breakaway league. and there the premier league was born.

            it worked for a while. id guess and say it peaked viewer wise just before sky went digital. ever since then (as prices have got out of control) even football viewers have dropped.

            and Boxing is dead. Well done sky!

            their biggest success was World Superbikes. it flourished in the 90s. brands hatch round was far bigger event than F1 or moto gp british rounds. But it went to Eurosport and has been up and down as a series ever since. one thing that has stayed consistent since it went to eurosport is that the coverage is appalling.

      2. Saturday games start at 12:45pm & 17:30pm (e.g when races have qualifying)
        Sunday times, 13:00 & 16:30 … which, you guessed it, is when a race is on.

        There is another side to this…

        For football, if people can’t afford to get Sky they go to the pub and watch it.

        But Which landlord in their right mind is going to put F1 on over football? Which means this avenue is closed to the rest of us.

        In a way I am lucky: Although I have been pushing my girlfriend to get rid of it since I moved in (waste of money, nearly everything we watch is on Freeview), we have Sky. We don’t have sports, though, which will cost about £15/mo extra. As this is probably for a minimum of 12 months, that puts the cost to us at £180/year, or £18/race, or £9 each per race. This is moving towards acceptable, but I am still planning to stop watching F1 next year. I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s worth it, and I can just start watching another motorsport to get my fix (MotoGP is something I’ve been planning to get into for a while)

        1. McLarenFanJamm
          3rd August 2011, 16:43

          The complete sports package is actually £20.25 a month. I don’t believe there is a minimum contract.

          1. There are two packs of Sky Sorts channels, each are £12/mth.

            Believe that with Sports and Movies, there is a 12 month minimum subscription, same as when you first take out Sky.

            I have Sky, but do not have Sky Sports, and will not pay out (because I cannot afford any more) £144/yr + the £10.25/mth to view in HD, which I can currently on both FreeviewHD and FreeSat HD for BBC1

            F1 only just got HD this year, and I got my HD tuners just in time for Hungary.

            Not going to pay out even more for the privilege of watching something I’ve been following since I was 12 (over twenty years ago).

          2. McLarenFanJamm
            3rd August 2011, 17:49

            Both channels are bundled together for £20.25 a month and you then get sky sports 3 and 4 free. You can choose to pay for just sky sports one, or sky sports 2 but as you say, these are £12 each. And then you don’t get 3 and 4.

          3. there is.. and its 3 months…. and the £20.25 is just for sky sports… if you don’t have sky, then you have to add a basic package at £20…. not to forget if you want Sky+ or Sky HD + then its extra….

      3. 100% agree with you there. I love both football and F1, but if both is on at the same time football is going to win every time. No way are Sky Sports going to match the viewing figures of F1 the BBC pulled off.

        1. It has always been on the same time !

  6. F1 live and in HD is currently free-to-air in Australia. We use BBC commentary so I’m not sure how (if) this new deal will affect us.

    1. Tom Chiverton
      3rd August 2011, 13:38

      Sky and BBC will be sharing the main commentary team, which I expect to be retained.

      1. Really…?

        Is that right TC ?

        So Brundle and co will work across both networks ?

      2. First ive heard of this. Brundles contract runs out this year too

        1. Wait so when the BBC have a race it goes up against the sky coverage with the exact same commentary team?

          Hoe’s that going to work with see you next week/month?

          1. A simple “See you next time” might work, with the presenting teams defining what that means for their respective networks. I expect BBC to be promting their radio option bigstyle for the races not on live TV.

          2. They’ll have the same commentary, but different presenters. Brundle never says goodbye to the viewers, and even then, it’s always generic.

          3. Setanta sports currently use the BBC commentary team occasionally, but not the presenters. Its always generic.

          4. what a cop out it would be if it was the same commentary team.

            you would be paying a fortune for it yet would be getting exactly the same show. It would be like sky doing it on the cheap.

            sky must be rubbing their hands together. at this rate they dont even have to do any work! BBC would of done it all for them!

            the more you hear, the worse it all sounds!

  7. A good summary. I do think it’s important to not jump to conclusions regarding the questions over the deal but like you say, it’s irrelevant. I do think Bernie is taking the mick when he says that viewing figures will rise, he must surely know himself that simply won’t happen.

  8. It’s just madness! If they are short on cash then why not cut all the production – the pre/post race features (which I do love, but wouldn’t miss much…) and simply join the GP when it begins with some commentary. Admittedly it probably isn’t that simple, but it would cut a lot of costs.

    The presenting team do a great job but I would rather cut them than Formula 1 live on the BBC altogether!

    A real shame – I think I will paying a visit to my friends house everytime it isn’t available on the BBC. I really can’t afford £61 a time! Even without the extra cost HD brings it wouldn’t be worth it… even if I had the cash!

    1. The main costs in F1 broadcasting for the BBC are for the rights to show the race itself. The presenting team is relatively cheap.

      1. Indeed, I do realise that – but they could cut a lot of cash there too…

        1. Not the 50% which, by the sounds of it, the BBC managed with this deal.

      2. What I haven’t seen is how much the BBC recoup from, I presume, selling the comemtary to other countries TV channels.

        I know it is used in Aus, Canada, SA and Indonesia. But have seen or heard that it might go to about 50 countries in total. Even if it was sold at $0.01 per head of population to those countries, it would bring in approx £2M

        1. This sounds crazy so I could defo be wrong but I’m near sure I read somewhere they don’t charge anything for it.

  9. Excellent summary. I have refused to subscribe to Sky for many years as I do not like the corporation, despite my desire to watch the cricket. Now I can add F1 to the list. I will endeavour to maintain my following through your site and watching the BBC coverage but I fear that my interest will wane simply because the sense of involvement will no longer exist. Reading reports & analysis on here supplements the enjoyment of watching practise, qualy & of course the whole race. Without the main features available it will be tough to keep up the interest. Friends and I were considering travelling to an European GP next year after 2 years at Silverstone. We are even now questioning whether we bother at all.

    1. Matt,

      So great to read of another cricket loving F1 fan who will not, under any circumstances, subscribe to Murdoch’s ( evil ) circus !

      Here is the great tragedy for me. I love F1 and cricket in equal measure and though I’m quite aware that local cricket in UK has gained immeasurably from the billions commercial TV has poured into the sport, I still can’t watch it on TV because I will not support Murdoch. Ever.

      And now he’s swiped my other love, F1.

      Murray Walker has elsewhere claimed that all sport will eventually only be commercially available.

      What a dismal, miserable prospect that is.

    2. I could +1 a lot of other comments but your sentiment/rationale is especially like mine (aside from the cricket bit…) For me, much as I love the sport and follow its every in and out, session and intrigue, I will not spend hundreds of pounds per year on indulging hobby of mine when I have 3 children more worthy of the money.
      As for whether I’ll watch the emasculated BBC coverage, well, whilst highlights might be perfect for some (not reading this site, most likely), they’re meaningless if you are accustomed to analysing the ongoing track action lap-by-lap, trying to figure out who’s going to pit when or whether so-and-so will keep making up half a second a lap to the next guy. Overtakes and crashes are only the peaks of the action, the underlying details are all that give it meaning and unless you see every lap you lose this.So I expect that initially I’ll watch the live races and perhaps some of the highlights, but suspect that since it’s about a season and not just individual races, I’ll gradually detach from it and find something else. Maybe some other FTA channel will show a more democratic racing series in its entirety. Hey, I can watch IndyCar for free online and they get nothing from me! Frankly, even if it was truck racing but was shown in all its detail I’d be more likely to watch it than a half-season of F1 (especially if Brundle was commentating)

      1. Exactly right Picasso !

        For most of the people who contribute to this site, I would reckon that it’s the complicating ( and complicated ! )detail of strategy and tactics, the relative skills of engineers and drivers that all add up to nail-biting situations. And if you do not understand the conplexities of our sport you
        really aren’t in deep enough !

        So Ecclestone really believes that millions of people with only superficial interest in F1 are going to fill the coffers for CVC does he ?

        Think again Bernie boy !

    3. I’m another one who objects and so far hasn’t subscribed to Sky. Also quite like cricket, well I have to, used to sit next to Bumble at school.

  10. I think we need a Poll!

    Something along the lines of: “in 2012, how will you watch Formula 1?

    A. Sky Sports (I already have it)
    B. Sky Sports (I plan to subscribe to watch F1)
    C. BBC live races only
    D. BBC live races + highlights
    E. Not at all – I am abandoning the sport

    1. I would suggest that you add illegal online video feeds.

      1. ‘I suspect many will be watching illegal online video feeds.’

        +1 :D

        1. To get F1 in Canada, you need to pay for a package that has TSN channal $1680 per year and thats with Ads in the Tele cast (they go to small screen) Speed TV is blacked out!!! ISP are blocking all English online feeds (BBC,SpeedTV,etc)so ya I’m watching it in Spanish online,there is a work around if your isp offers a VPN,but that will cost you.

      2. make that +2

      3. I already do.

    2. Good idea, what do you think Keith?

    3. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m considering something for a future article but not in this form. Remember most of the site’s readers aren’t in Britain.

      1. Thanks for reminding me Keith, I’m in the UK but I’ve got a special box for French tele, I can watch F1 live on my French TV.

        *maniacal laughter*

        Still I’m pretty angry at this myself, I really like the BBC, its pretty much the best Channel in the World, knowing that Sky has managed to get hold of the rights you know they are going to tighten their grip on it like they do with everything else.

        1. I’m thinking about getting a dish to get German FTA as my wife is from that part of the world and I could probably justify it at home ;)

          One off cost is around £150 (excluding fitting).

      2. if you do, i already plan to watch the bbc coverage when they come up against each other as their pundit team does a fantastic job. And as a sky subscriber already for the indycar and nil coverage i will watch their live races when the bbc isn’t.

    4. F. BBC live race + illegally streamed sky

    5. Similar polls are running on other sites.

      Most people say they’ll watch the live races, or live races + highlights – as will I.

      But at the moment I make the effort to watch as many races as possible: frankly, next year I won’t.

    6. G. Not at all – I have Sky Sports and am cancelling the wedge I pay to Murdoch every month in protest.

      1. i’m NOT doing this btw, just throwing another option into the poll ;-)

  11. In Mexico our pay tv rates are from 20 us dlss to 70 dlls depending on the package, but I think the “prom” is between 35 to 45 us dlls a month and includes the F1 races on Fox Sports; if you want to add HD put another 10 dlls…I pay 55 us a month for a HD package with NHL, NFL, MLB, GOLF, NASCAR tons of football (wich I hate), and of course F1; is not that bad with plenty of audio and video channels, but we only got qualifying and race, not practices and not after race coverage!!

    Cheers from Mexico!!

    1. Do you get the rubbish comments from Tornello and company :P?

  12. (It would be interesting to know from F1 Fanatic readers outside the UK how much they pay to see F1 races live.)

    FOX Sports isn’t free air TV, of course. So I pay around 150 pesos (around 21 pounds) for the full service (which includes among others ESPN, many movies channels, Warner, Sony, channels form around the world (TV5, BBC1, RAI…) and so on).

    61 quid for the race alone seems excesive.

    1. is that 150 peos per month?

      I think the cost is the issue here, if it was somewhere near £20 p/m, id wager that a large amount of people could/would be happy to pay. But +£50 p/m AND a annual mandatory license fee (to the BBC) its too much.

      1. yeah, 150 pesos per month, and I get like 80 channels.

    2. The £61 does include the cheapest base Sky package (Variety pack) which does contain a bunch of other channels that are available free-to-air elsewhere. The point is though, that for people like myself who hardly watch any other TV apart from the F1, it’s essentially £61 per F1 race. And this is on top of the (mandatory) TV license fee which works out at ~£12 per month.

      1. other channels that are available free-to-air elsewhere.

        Oops, that should be aren’t.

    3. Technically for that £61, UK viewers would get anything on Sky Sports 1 (mostly cricket and football with a few other things thrown in), 2 “variety” packs and whatever free channels are on the Sky satellite (there are quite a few but they’re different to the ones on Freesat and I don’t think they’re as numerous).

      ESPN costs a small amount extra, as do movie channels and the music pack. I’m not sure if it’s even possible to get all those international channels on Sky that you mentioned you get, or how much it would be to get them.

      But if you’re only going onto Sky to get F1 (and for people who used other cheaper methods to convert to digital, that’s effectively the case), it’s effectively £61 per race.

  13. I’m a viewer from Australia, we get live qualifying and races from One HD, which is a commercial free to air channel. They use the BBC’s commentary feed. Thankfully One’s license is with FOM and not the BBC, so we’ll still get the races here on free to air TV. We’ll have to wait and see what happens with the commentary though.

    I’m just worried that it’s the beginning of a slippery slope of F1 races moving to pay TV. I don’t want to see F1 move to Foxtel, which is the pay network in Australia partially owned by News Corporation. I *definitely* don’t want to see the News Corp takeover of F1’s commercial side succeed, because this would almost guarantee we’d lose free to air coverage in Australia.

    1. What’s happening with regards all those ad’s that kept running during sporting events with Nicole Livingstone and other commentators I can’t think of wanting us to make sure sport stayed free-to-air. Was that in preparation for legislation or something? I hope F1 was included in that.

    2. F1’s been moving to pay TV in smaller markets for years. It is just that I would have hoped that Bernie would have learned from their (usual) failure that this was a bad path to take.

    3. I’m pretty sure F1 is still on the anti-siphoning list for Aussie sports.

      Or at least it better be….

      1. I think the Australian Grand Prix is, I’m not sure about the rest of the Championship.

    4. Yeah, In Aus. We have it good. ONEHD coverage only costs you in terms of a power bill.

    5. The Aus GP must be free to air by federal legislation, so that will make it unlikely that f1 would go to pay in Australia. I would pay for AUSTAR if i could get practice and commercial free races.

      1. Same here. Unfortunately Ten has the TV and online rights to Formula 1.

        Also, it wasn’t mentioned that we don’t get all the races live. Some races are delayed by about an hour, but the majority are live.

        And the ads really mess up the flow of the race. My BBC VPN comes in handy for practice and ad free coverage, so I’m sad to see BBC coverage coming to an end, but at least we get FTA coverage.

  14. I usually go to most of the races. I actually get to see bugger all!

  15. “the prospect of watching postponed coverage will not be appealing for many. Especially given the difficulty of not discovering the result beforehand.”

    Back in the day (a decade ago), German RTL would do both live and postponed coverage of the race in Japan (when it was the season’s final round. I can’t remember if the did the same for Australia).
    They did it in 1998, when the Japan GP was the championship decider. RTL was doing a full studio show in those days, with live audience, Florian König was the host and Niki Lauda the co-host/guest analyst.

    So they did the whole race live early in the morning, and then they did a copy (an immitation) of the same coverage at 10AM or so (late enough so everyone could watch it, yet early enough so people didn’t find it hard not to learn the race result) with the same pre race build-up and everybody in the studio – that including the audience – pretending they didn’t know the race/championship result.

    It was great, because I didn’t wake up early enough to watch the race live from the beginning, so I decided not to watch it yet and wait till noon to watch the entire spectacle.

    Good old times :)

    1. We get that here. The usual time for F1 races is 9 am, but for races in Malaysia, China, etc, we get both the live coverage and the full repeat at 9 am.

      1. BBC do that for early races, showing them at the ‘normal’ time of 1pm as well as live.

  16. In Sweden I pay 249 swedish krona (around 23 GBP) per month for the VIASAT package. With that I get 6 movie channels I dont care much for and the channels VIASAT Sport, Fotboll, Hockey.

    The channel I am after though is VIASAT Motor which shows all practice sessions, qualifying and race in F1 and Moto GP. They also show GP2, NASCAR Sprint Cup, STCC, Swedish Carrera Cup, Powerboat F1, WRC and Speedway GP. Most of those things live.

    1. I meant that the Motor channel is also part of that package. Seems I wrote it like it sounds it isn’t. :)

  17. With this move to sky, I won’t watch it there. In doing so, I won’t watch the highlights, why? cause I’ll already nkow the results.

    It’ll be more like I will stop watching F1 :( as I did when ITV took over (couldn’t stand the interuptions).

    Its a shame cause I love the sport, but don’t have the cash soplurge out!

  18. Let’s get one thing clear up front: I am a Sky Sports subscriber.

    Does that mean I’m happy with the deal announced on Friday which will split live F1 coverage in the UK between the BBC and Sky? Far from it.

    Introduction nails it. I’m sure I would also be able to watch the racing on Sky Sports through my relatives and friends who do subscribe to it, but that’s not the point. I’m so passionately against this deal because I know this needlessly makes live F1 an impossibility for many of the sport’s die-hard fans around this country.

    I want to continue watching every race live while reading the reaction of fans and fellow F1Fanatics from all over the world through the internet, Twitter, live-blogs etc. Formula 1 isn’t like football or other sports, watching races is usually not a very social activity. Yeah, you’ll be able to go down the pub and watch races live on Sky, but I don’t want to do that. I want to be able to watch a move or a dramatic incident occur on the TV and then see how everyone else watching all over the world reacts to it. I love that. Next year, we’ll only be able to do that for half of the races. That’s a shame, and I’m honestly going to miss that from next season.

    Could a deal have been struck to keep F1 on the BBC at a lower price? Or did Bernie Ecclestone seize the opportunity to seal a more lucrative deal with Sky?

    I think it should. For all of the reasons you’ve outlined here Keith, it’s surely in Bernie’s best interests to keep his product as available to the widest possible audience he can. Moving full live exclusivity to Sky is one of the single worst things he could’ve done in relation to this. Did he really honestly think he was making a good deal for the fans? Has he not heard the deafening chorus of complaints and anger from both the sport’s apparently hated hardcore fanbase as well as his precious casual fanbase?

    Perhaps, but I suspect many will be watching illegal online video feeds.

    Pretty much. While I was in Australia, I constantly used illegal streams to watch F1 practice sessions because I didn’t have a single legal option that allowed me to do it. Now I’m in the UK, I will not condone the use of illegal streams when I can now access F1 coverage legally, but I will not be surprised at all when it happens. This is yet another reason why FOM NEED to set up an official online streaming/on-demand video service. Bernie could charge a yearly season-pass to use it and it would solve a lot of problems for F1’s die-hard fans while earning FOM more money. It’s worked brilliantly for NASCAR, IRL and MotoGP and yet, once again, FOM have completely ignored the possibilities that the modern media age offer. Yes, TV companies will complain, but Bernie needs to figure out how to make that work. He’s proven his capabilities as a negotiator, so consider this as his new challenge.

    1. Quite honestly, Bernie’s too old to bother. I’m sure it’ll be something his eventual successor figures out, but Bernie’s main concern now is to get as much cash as quickly as possible.

      1. Exactly why he must step down and pass control over to someone who understands and appreciates the modern media world more than he does.

        1. I couldn’t agree more, that’s been one of my biggest gripes with F1 for a while now.

      2. Preferably without him losing all that extra money before he dies (which with this deal is worryingly likely to happen, unless he knows something about his health that I don’t).

    2. Formula 1 isn’t like football or other sports, watching races is usually not a very social activity. Yeah, you’ll be able to go down the pub and watch races live on Sky, but I don’t want to do that. I want to be able to watch a move or a dramatic incident occur on the TV and then see how everyone else watching all over the world reacts to it.

      I know what you mean. Can you imagine turning up at your local with 2 laptops and asking the landlord if you could piggyback onto his wi-fi so you could have the live timing and driver tracker running while you watch the race on the big screen…

      …assuming the pub isn’t showing Football or Rugby instead..!!

      1. Also, dear Barkeep, could you please get those ten burly, rowdy people with dubious reputations to shut up blathering about how the local football/cricket/gang fight went while you watch the race?

      2. I can Imagine there being maybe 4-8 specialist clubs or bars out there in the UK doing just that :-(

    3. Why didn’t they go for an online subscription service like Motogp(except a good service that streams properly).

      Keeps the subscription costs down cause the profits don’t have to be shared with NewsCorp. Also if reasonably priced reduce the number of people accessing the dodgy online streams.

  19. I live in Holland and always watch the BBC coverage of Formula 1. In Holland RTL7 is responsable for the live coverage of each event against no additional cost whatsoever. But RTL7 being a commercial station they do interrupt the live coverage for commercials and that is a very annoying fact because you do miss out on certain on track action. Also pre and post commentary is not half the quality of the guys with the BBC like Jake, Martin, David, Eddie and co. Great to watch and adding value to the show. So it’s going to be a great loss to the viewers and I do believe it will have a negative effect to the F1 audience. Not only in the UK but also abroad.

    1. More or less the same for me too. I even recently stopped recording the races from RTL 7. I do like the commentator Olav Mol, he has an eye for things, but with him sitting in a studio in NL (a matter of money), he just doesn’t have the access a local team can have.

      1. “local” -> at the track. By the way, my digital TV subscription also has RTL Germany. They have some interesting bits, but also ads, and too much Vettel hype colouring their amount of attention and the tone of comments, so watching there on the whole is worse than RTL 7.

  20. Hi Keith,

    In answer to your question:
    South African F1 fans have to be subscribers to DStv in order to watch; FTA broadcasts ended about 7-8 years ago here. You have to subscibe to DStv’s premium package which costs ZAR560 per month (about 50 quid.) We get the FOM feed with the BBC commentary and all races, quali and practice sessions – as well as the support series races such as GP2 – are live and advert-free.


    Cape Town

  21. In Hungary, German RTL bought out the rights of F1 in 2002 from Hungarian Television and since then it’s been aired on it’s Hungarian subsidiary, “RTL Klub”.

    The broadcast has moved from “****” to “same **** but different”, but at least it’s free and among the three channels that can be tuned into via aerial if you wish (makes a good use for portable TVs).

  22. its insane, FOTA should intervene and raise its objection to this mad deal

  23. While I agree that the move to Sky will hurt the sports viewership figures overall, I try to look for a silver lining.

    Sports which predominantly air on pay-TV or pay-per-view channels are often viewed in pubs. Big boxing matches often attract large numbers of people into pubs showing the event on a big screen because of the cost of watching it at home, and the added social benefit of being with like-minded people watching the event…and there’s beer.

    If UK users of the site (of legal drinking age, of course) can work together to find a pub in their local area and meet there to watch the race, and talk F1 with other fanatics in the flesh, you could turn a pretty sucky situation into a positive.

    Just a suggestion.

    1. I don’t think theres a hope in the world that a pub would show F1 over any usual, all the time footy match.

      1. I live at a university. We have 2 bars, both with projectors and SKY TV.

        Only twice has a race been broadcasted in either bar (whilst I’ve been there). The last race of the 2010 season. In which about 5 people actually sat there and watched, and the 2011 German Grand Prix, which was during the off-season, and a whopping 3 people watched. (I had to go there to watch those races because I didn’t have wifi elsewhere)

        In simple terms: People do NOT go to bars to watch Formula 1.

        1. The pub connected to my university tried it once for the Monaco 2007 GP. I don’t know how well-attended it was (I didn’t live anywhere near campus) but the experiment was never repeated, which would tend to suggest craig-o’s conclusion generalises to “general social events”, at least in the UK.

    2. The nearest pub to me with Sky is nearly an hour away on foot in each direction (the nearest bus stop is half an hour away in a completely different direction and I don’t have reliable car access for this sort of thing). Even if such a meeting could be arranged, it would be useless to me.

  24. I live in Belgium, but my cable company carries BBC1 (legally of course) so I have really enjoyed the F1 coverage over the last couple of years. I am not interested in watching any other sports on Sky, so there is no way I am going to subscribe to Sky Sports and in fact this is rather difficult to do outside the UK. My cable company carries other channels which do carry F1 free to air, such as TF1 (France) although I think these might have ad breaks. For the races that will not be shown live by the BBC I could foresee a solution involving watching TF1 (in HD) whilst listening to the Radio 5 live commentary streamed via Internet (although this would involve getteing around the problem whereby BBC blocks access to 5 live sports commentary from non-UK IP addresses).

    1. Can you get medium wave on a radio in Belgium? If so, you might be able to get Radio 5 that way. Technically it would be legal, though I suspect it might be frowned upon.

      1. very difficult to get 5 live here on medium wave. i think i’ve tried it before on the car radio but with no luck. I think one of those sites which gives you a uk ip should work though.

  25. It’s madness if anyone honestly believes the viewing figures will go up. They’re just saving face because they all know this ultimately leads to the F1 folks getting more of our money. Even to the detriment of the sport and it’s popularity on the whole. If a few hundred thousand hardcore F1 fans stick with it and pay then they’ve made their fortune. The sport was gaining real traction with the general public, as evidenced by the BBC’s undeniably brilliant viewing figures but this will send it back into a minority pursuit in the country which rightly could be called the home of F1 in many ways. It’s a damn shame but welcome to the future! My general dislike of Bernie definitely is not being helped by all this. It may in the long run be good for the spectacle, to hose who can pay to watch but will it matter when it’s seriously going to dent the sports overall popularity in his country.

    1. Yeah, my hatred of Ecclestone has gone up another notch too.

      Well as long as F1 doesnt go the way of WRC since it went off to PVP tv here in the UK, it should survive. But Im willing to bet my savings Sky gets nowhere near the figures Bernie or Adam Parr are convinced will tune in. My oldman pays the bill for Sky, which we have purely for the Football. If I or anyone believes that Il be watching F1 when thats on, is very much mistaken. Il probably be watching the footy too, come to think of it.

  26. 10 Races I’d like on BBC:

    Spa, Monaco, Silverstone, Suzuka, Montreal, Monza, Nurburgring, Hungary, Brazil, India.

    1. +1.

      I’d actually have no great objection to a pay-per-view solution where I had to pay a small amount to watch the race, but there’s no way I’m going to sign up to Murdoch’s extortionate sports package just to watch F1. I’m not interested in any of the sports shown on Sky.

    2. Hungary? Why?
      Because once a decade there’s a good race? :)

      1. think i’d go for singapore over hungary

    3. I’d rather the USGP be broadcast live instead of Hungary because it’s a new track.

  27. I think BBC Radio 5 and a Twitter feed should be able to make up for a great amount of loss tere.

  28. In Hungary, German RTL bought out the rights of F1 in 2002 from Hungarian Television and since then it’s been aired on it’s Hungarian subsidiary, “RTL Klub”.

    The broadcast has moved from “terrible” to “same terible but differently”, but at least it’s free and among the three channels that can be tuned into via aerial if you wish (makes a good use for portable TVs).

  29. I think it’s a little premature to judge the move given that we know no details of Sky’s plans for how they will cover the sport. If I’m right, Sky are the exclusive broadcaster in the UK, with the BBC as a syndicated network, not unlike Channel Ten/OneHD here in Australia. That means the BBC will show exactly what Sky shows, which in turn means that if Sky improve the coverage of the sport – for example, at Sepang this year, we had a four-way battle for pole, but the television director insistent on riding with Alonso for a lap and then cutting to Hamilton, Vettel and Webber in turn in such a way that we only saw the last two corners of their laps – then it will be improved on the BBC by default.

    1. Isn’t the editing of the feed down to FIA / FOM though and not beeb? What we see on tv is exactly what is broadcast on the large screens at the race itself and so on.

      I don’t think we are really judging the Sky coverage quality either. Most of the anger – mine included – is that it is on Sky at all and will cost a not insignificant outlay to watch it now.

    2. First of all, the world feed is usually produced by FOM (occasionally by the host broadcaster), so whether it’s broadcast by Sky or BBC in the UK will make no difference to the way the feed is directed.

      Secondly, even if Sky did massively improve F1 coverage (hard to imagine how it could get much better, but still), it doesn’t matter one bit if large numbers of fans can’t afford to watch it.

    3. I think it’s a little premature to judge the move given that we know no details of Sky’s plans for how they will cover the sport.

      It’s not really the coverage I think Sky are thinking about here.
      The BBC paid around £40m a year for F1.
      Let’s assume Sky put in an offer of £60m a year.
      Then £487 for non-HD subscriber and £610 for HD to Sky per year. Even at 50/50 split (avg £548) they only need an extra 110,000 subscribers to break even.

      What they plan to cover is really an afterthought.

      1. Remember that most of that fee goes onto channels other than Sky Sports (Sky cannot afford to assume that its basic channels will subsidise its sports ones, and they cost a certain amount of money to run). The only income that Sky can rely upon is the Sky Sports income from people who are only tuning in for F1, plus the proportion of Sky Sports from multi-sports fans that people spend watching F1. That means that those using Sky Sports 1 only (perhaps to follow the race) effectively contribute £12.25 each per month. Sky Sports 2 subscribers contribute and extra £8.

        To break even, Sky therefore needs a lot more than 110,000 subscribers. In the best case plausible scenario I can see, it needs more like 0.5 million new subscribers to Sky Sports to break even. That’s as high as Sky Sports 1’s most-viewed shows get – without counting anyone already in possession of Sky Sports for any reason.

        1. I’m not sure I see your argument there.

          Sky’s costs for it’s other channels don’t go up from this deal, so the extra income from showing F1 will cover the additional costs, even if that additional income is then split amongst BSkyB’s various channels.

          1. If you watch more than one thing with a subscription, then your subscription has to be divided between each of the things you watch. For any program to sustain itself on a subscription system, it must be paid for by the people who watch it. My calculations do not work out whether the channel as a whole makes a profit, but whether individual programs do. If someone bought Sky and spent 50% of their time watching F1 and the other 50% watching, say, the stuff on the variety channel, then part of their subscription has to support the variety channel. It may not be proportional to the amount of time spent watching both, but the programs on the variety channel (and other channels) are not free to purchase or produce. If they were, Sky would hardly limit themselves to six categories in the “basic” section. We cannot assume that Sky makes a profit on the “basics”, or any other channel because the charges for programs varies from time to time, generally increasing in cost. Viewer figures are part of what the companies who produce the programs use to guage how much cost a given broadcaster would be willing to bear for their product.

            Sky likes to make a profit on everything – that’s its prerogative as a commercial entity. So if F1 as an individual program cannot pay its way, Sky won’t want it. It’s not exactly as if there is a lack of other sports Sky can use to fill the time instead.

  30. In Estonia the cost is 200€ (satellite) or 60€ (cable) for year. That’s 10€/3€ per race. And all the races are also shown delayed full-time (delay is half hour).

  31. I live in Canada, and I’m not sure if this will affect the North Americans in any way. But for Canadians, with basic cable which costs roughly $30 a month, do NOT get TSN (ESPN) which is the sports channel that shows F1. Would have to get an extra package which is I believe around $15 more just to get that channel. As I cannot afford the extra costs involved. With Digital cable there’s another package I would have to get just to watch F1 and I’m not willing to spend the extra money just to watch f1 live on tv. I’d much rather stream it or download it. As if Internet costs aren’t outrageous to begin with.

    1. In Canada it cost $140 per month to get TSN HD on Cable and you can’t get a legal online english feed,unless you use a VPN…so I watch F1 in Spanish.

  32. You’ve heard this before – loyal F1 fan for 30 years, watched as many races as humanly possible live. I’ve let the dust settle for a few days now on this news but I can still most certainly say – I will not be subscribing to sky and I will be exploring ways that I can avoid paying my license fee. This marks a fundamental swing in the way F1 is consumed in the UK, and I for one am voting with my feet – I love F1, but I have other things I can do that wont cost me 60 quid a race.

    1. Radio 5 Live plus some source of pictures would work as a substitute, and then your licence fee could do something.

      1. Hi Stevie. I found this website the other day after I Googled “I don’t want to pay my Licence fee”


        I suggest giving it a read. It just shows how much of what is sent out by TV Licencing is complete bluster and scare tactics, and doesn’t even take into consideration that people might wish to use a TV for something other than watching broadcast television.

        I implore anyone else considering cancelling (aka, not paying, seeing as it’s not something that can be ‘cancelled’ per sé) their BBC licence fee from next year.

        1. There’s also the BBC Resistance:

        2. Did this person remember to tell the TV Licence companies that the TV licence was no longer required? There is an online method of doing so, without which the enforcement authorities cannot tell whether you’ve stopped because you no longer need a licence, have innocently forgotten to renew or are wilfully evading payment.

          Even with that declaration, there is supposed to be a check every year or two to confirm the declaration continues to be made in good faith (and, for example, that a child isn’t watching live TV through their computer without knowing they’re not covered for that activity).

          The letters in that website do not appear to prove that there are no enforcement powers; rather that there is a fairly lengthy sequence before most of them can be activated and the enforcement agency is too disorganised to activate it consistently and coherently.

          The forms must be observed, as it were…

          1. Did this person remember to tell the TV Licence companies that the TV licence was no longer required?

            They didn’t, because apparently you’re under no legal obligation to inform them.

            As he shows at the end of the 2nd yea (I think) by scanning a British Gas letter, he wishes to leave British Gas, and they send him a letter thanking him for his custom, and ask what they can do to either change his mind, or make things better for other customers in the future.

            The BBC and TVL clearly do no such thing, they assume you still want to watch BBC programming, and threaten you with fines and court hearing the moment you don’t respond to the first letter.

          2. You’re not legally obliged to inform them, but the TV licensing people can hardly be blamed for continuing to chase up the matter if they don’t know any different. British Gas had to be told (either by the customer or by the new supplier) that they were surplus to requirements, otherwise the systems to enable the supplier change would have been impossible. So they knew that their supply wasn’t being stolen or anything like that, because they can trust the people who do the changeover work to make sure the correct source is used at the correct time.

            TV is possible to change without ever getting round to telling the old provider, but that doesn’t mean they’ll telepathically know that the change has happened or why. Without that knowledge, they have to assume there is a probability that their supply’s being misappropriated, accidentally or on purpose – which would entitle them to legal redress if they got proof. That’s also why there are so many “mays” in the letters – the proof has to be there to get the powers exercised and getting that proof requires pre-requisites such as the TV licensing people being properly organised.

            Simply because it’s legal to avoid doing something does not necessarily make it a wise course of action.

  33. In the Netherlands I get about 25 TV channels for 9 euros a month, including RTL 7 (which broadcasts race and qualy live, but with 3-quarter screen ad interruptions) and BBC one and two (since June). I hope RTL 7 continues with its coverage next year, so I can still watch the missing races live. Otherwise, I cannot watch it live at all – not that I would pay 600 pounds a year for 10 races.

    On the subject of the Sky deal, here are some things I find particularly irritating:
    1. The meaning of the word “only”. There will be 10 races next year that can only be watched live on pay TV, but this supposedly does not constitute a violation of the Concorde Agreement because the other 10 are on free to air. Very disappointed that no-one in FOTA at least tried to argue this point.
    2. Edited highlights (excusez le mot) suck, and why was Martin Whitmarsh so easily fobbed off with the mention of deferred broadcast, when all the signs are that it will be a 75-minute show?
    3. People in F1 arguing for the “potential upsides of the Sky deal” (e.g. on plus.autosport.com). There are no upsides. If you want to watch at 6pm, just record it so you can enjoy the afternoon out. And even if rating figures do not drop (wishful thinking), sponsors will still get less exposure in a 75-minute show than they do in a three-and-a-half hour show.

    1. Well said, from a fellow Dutchman. I have RTL Germany too, but watching that has its issues.

  34. With that price, if you don’t buy a Sky subscription you could save it for a live race ticket…

    About other countries:
    In Germany F1 is broadcast by RTL (private; HD only when you have a HD+ receiver) with adverts and Sky (formerly Premiere) without adverts (and multiple channels, as far as I know). RTL has announced lately that they’ve bought the transmission rights for the next 4 years (’till the end of 2015), too.

    In Austria, ORF 1 (public; HD) broadcasts F1, without adverts. Sometimes the commentary after the race is left out because of a Bundesliga football game. Also, on cable you can receive RTL, so you could watch the German broadcast.

    In Poland you can watch F1 on Polsat (private) with adverts, though without extended commentary (you have that on Polsat Sport, for which you have to pay; dunno about adverts there, as I have no subscription).
    It started with Kubica and I don’t know if the free transmission would be there if not for him (currently they are still cheering for Renault and Kubica’s recovery).

    1. Thats funny ,back when JV was racing F1,you could get FTA on channal 25 the Fracphone channal,but now you need to pay $140 per month to get F1 HD

  35. £61 per race! Maybe Bernie is trying to make people take the cheaper option and buy actual tickets to the races!

    1. Of course, it would be the usual way of Bernie thinking to do this in the one country where the race routinely sells out anyhow…

  36. When do we march to Sky Network to Protest?

  37. I live in Egypt. And I watch Formula 1 in HD for free on Abu Dhabi Sport. However, I watch a lot of online BBC streaming and I download races like China 2011 and Hungary 2011 because the commentators on the Abu Dhabi channel are pretty much incompetent!

    But FYI, the only reason F1 is aired for free here, is because it has minimal popularity compared to European football leagues that are all on pay-tv.

  38. From what I’m told BBC have first choice of 3 races, then Sky have the next 3 choice, then BBC, Sky, etc. If BBC have picked Monaco, Silverstone and the last race of the season I suspect Sky will take Canada and Spa that’s for sure, which would be a huge loss for us F1 fans.

    I personally have enjoyed the coverage massively on the BBC after suffering the ITV coverage for years; the BBC coverage is the very reason why both my brother and dad have both got into the sport now too, as it is readily available (plus of course the entertainment has improved).

    For me the only option will be to watch BBC coverage and their highlight shows, ensuring I avoid the news during that day. What concerns me more is the quality of build up from the BBC who surely won’t want to pay up for their expensive presenter team for just 10 races.

    I refuse to pay Sky as I’m not interested in other sports, so will either access them illegally online, or will use their Sky Go service and use a friends subscription.

  39. I’ll be watching on an illegal stream, if at all. I shanl’t be watching on the BBC, as I’m cancelling my TV licence when it’s up for renewal in March, and there’s no way I’ll pay any money to Sky ever.

    I’ll watch YouTube, delayed stuff on iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player, etc, and watch my DVD’s. It’s 2011, not 1956. We can pick and choose our TV as and when we want, and for the BBC to demand money for it, no matter what channel it is on, based on a half-century old tax that no longer applies, is simply laughable.

    1. You better get rid of your TV if you’re not paying your licence fee.

      1. Why? You do not need a television licence simply for owning a television.

        If you did, you’d be issued one when you bought your television.

        1. You need a TV licence even if you own a laptop. Or even a radio! Anything that can receive any sort of signal which will show TV or radio requires the household to have a TV licence.

          1. No, you don’t. A TV licence is not mandatory just because you own a TV, or a laptop, or anything. As for radios… It’s a TV licence, radio doesn’t come into it.

            You need a TV licence if you intend to use a TV or other device to watch and/or record television as it is broadcast. If you own a tv and use it for nothing more than gaming, watching DVDs or pre-recorded video, streaming video from a website or computer, then you don not need a TV licence.

            As 95% of the TV licence goes straight to the BBC, and the BBC has axed the one thing that I regularly watch on the BBC, I no long feel any need to pay my TV licence. I’m willing to sacrifice all other broadcast TV watching simply so the BBC can’t take my £145.50 per year to spend on mostly idiotic shows that I will never watch instead of spending the money on an incredibly popular and interesting sport.

  40. The thing that really concerns me is that this is clearly a short-term focused decision by the BBC (due to their cost-cutitng requirements) with massive long term effects.

    Does anyone really believe that we’ll ever get full live F1 seasons again in the future? Never mind with the quality of production we’ve had recently. The only way I can see that happening is if Sky somehow manages to make a loss with F1, if they don’t then the next time the TV contract is up for renewal all free-to-air broadcasters will be priced out of the market.

    I was considering making a survey site to get as many opinions and facts from F1 viewers on this matter to hopefully present some concrete data that we could give to FOTA (as they seemed like the only ones with any possibility to nix this deal) but they seem to have been bought too by the extra million or so each team will receive.

    1. I believe we will on the grounds that I don’t think Sky will be able to make this pay and are unlikely to renew in 2018. They may even end up the 3rd organisation in a row to drop F1 2 years early because Sky hates making losses on anything. Bernie’s greed will eventually ensure F1 is restored to true free-to-air.

  41. OK, firstly let me state:
    I am a Sky Sports subscriber
    I am a hardcore F1 fan (watch practice sessions and attended the FOTA meeting at McLaren)
    I can afford Sky Sports

    Now that is out of the way let me say that I would prefer F1 to stay on the BBC, but I don’t feel that it should be protected or have a guarantee of being on terrestrial TV. I know this is at odds with many on these boards, but all sports should be allowed to compete for TV time.

    My main point is the shrill screaming about “£61.00 per race” does make us sound hysterical. Are you telling me that you would get Sky and not watch Indycar? Or NASCAR? Or any other sport? This logic does not seem to be applied to the BBC licence fee, do you only own a tv to watch F1 on the Beeb? By all means make your case on other grounds but I suggest we drop this one.

    In a perfect world we would still have the great BBC coverage, but we don’t live in a perfect world. Money talks and it always will..

    1. I think the point around the £61 per race is that for those of us who do not have sky at all it is reasonable to state that the only reason we would subscribe is for F1.

      Also, the fact that the license fee is a legal requirement (whether or not you agree with that situation) means that we have ‘no choice’ but to pay it. With Sky we do have a choice.

    2. Are you telling me that you would get Sky and not watch Indycar? Or NASCAR? Or any other sport? This logic does not seem to be applied to the BBC licence fee, do you only own a tv to watch F1 on the Beeb?

      Yes, because I don’t want to spend all my time watching TV, I have other interests as well that actually involve being out the house.

      At the moment there are maybe 4 things I watch on TV regularly – F1 being one of them – but I have no desire to increase that number as it would mean giving up other aspects of my life.

    3. Dave, I know where you are coming from. I was initially against Sky for footie and wasted a year before deciding if you can’t beat them you’ve got no choice but to join them. Now I can’t live without it. People who call Sky/Murdoch “evil” probably think the BBC is the fairest PSB ever!

      It would be interesting to take a poll some time next season and see how many people who claim to be F1 fanatics today have actually given up watching the sport. Frankly, if you have given it up you were never a fanatic.

      If you are a genuine F1 fanatic you will find a way of satisfying the need for your fix…..some will give in and go with Sky, some will “make new friends” and some will illegally stream what they can’t get on BBC – but they will, still, be watching in one way or another.

      I’d like to also critisise the BBC. They can afford to send hundreds of “reporters” and hangers on to other international sporting events – look at how many BBC employees enjoy the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the footie WC as an example.

      You could also look at the amount on middle-managers and above who rather than take pay cuts, decide we, the enforced subscribers, are better served with endless repeats and reality shows rather than taking paycuts themselves. They have had 13 years as Labours’ mouthpiece and got used to annual increases far above the rate of inflation.

      Not sure in these PC days if I can/should question the sense in putting a woman in charge of the sports division, but there you go I did! I am sure if you had a sports fanatic in charge of the sports decision making team the BBC would not be losing sports hand over fist.

      In summary, why blame Bernie/Sky for BBC being in breach of contract?

  42. This isnt only going to affect the popularity but the sponsors too. why would they pay to have their logo seen by 3 people.

    1. That could ultimately prove beneficial for F1, though. I think one of the problems right now is that there’s too much money in circulation in the whole industry. If the money takes off, a lot of business decisions will have to be rethought on both sides, and this could very well be one of them.

      1. Most of the Drivers in F1 ,pay to race …or have a suger daddy sponsor

  43. In Poland i pay 39zł thats like 10€ a month for Formula 1 in HD without ads

    1. but i would only need to pay 10zł a month to have it :P

      i have more hd channels now and a pvr

      1. In Canada,to get what you have $140

  44. Well written article.

    Something people are not talking much about is how it will kill the industry.

    Britain is the heart of the global motorsports industry (if you ignore the US-centric motorsports which have a life of their own). Britain benefits immensely from it, in all racing formulae, down to even the manufacturers of shocks and spark plugs.

    I think government would have intervened if they had realised the true value of FTA F1 in this country. If you take away FTA F1, there is a domino effect on the entire industry.

    Look also at the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button and the benefits they bring to the UK economy from British F1 fans following them, casual or not. They grew up watching the likes of Senna and Mansell…on FTA television.

    There is simply no point in watching F1 if you cannot watch all races live on FTA TV.


  45. I sincerely believe pay TV was F1’s undoing in Finland. The popularity of the sport has declined dramatically here both in terms of viewers and general interest since it was moved from the free MTV3 channel to the pay channel MTV MAX from the 2007 season onwards, and not even Kimi Räikkönen’s 2007 championship was able to revive it. His later departure from F1 was just the final nail in the coffin.

    It might of course help if Kovalainen drove something faster and more competitive than a four-wheel bicycle, but from the pov of a “casual” viewer one of F1’s big selling points is still the live action, while the “free” post-race one-hour recaps we now get obviously have none of that appeal.

    F1 may still be the most “popular” motorsports in Finland, but unfortunately that’s not saying much anymore. :/

    1. I was one of the few people who subscribed to Bernie’s pay-tv channel back whenever it was. All races were shown live, with no adverts and several choices of cameras to watch. If I remember rightly he canned it when it didn’t get enough subscribers to pay it’s own way, a foretaste of Sky’s fate with F1 maybe.
      I went to my first formula one race in 1958 when I was nine and I’ve been following it ever since. From the days of waiting for Autosport to come out on a Thursday, through grainy black and white footage on Grandstand of the odd race covered by two or three cameras up to todays magnificent coverage.
      I don’t currently subscribe to sky and I probably won’t in the future. I’ve examined the budget and I could make some savings to afford the £60 per month. So what could I give up. I spend £15 per month on Lovefilm and get about 12 DVD’s per month. I spend about £12 per month on eMusic and get 90 music tracks per month. I spend about £50 on books per month and I spend about £50 per month on plants, seeds and lunches at the garden centre. All of these items are discretionary spending and it becomes a question of choice and I think I’d rather keep spending on those items than cut some of them and spend the money on Sky.
      I’ll probably carry on watching the live races on BBC but treat the delayed transmissions the same way that I treat Match of the Day. I look at the results and if there are few goals or if one of my favourite teams has lost then I probably won’t watch. So for the recorded BBC races I’ll look at the race result and reports and decide if enough of interest happened that make it worth watching. As any die-hard fan of F1 knows, once the tension of live viewing of strategies unfolding has been taken away a lot of F1 is about as exciting to watch as paint drying. So I guess I’ll probably skip the recorded races.

  46. It really sucks that you guys in the UK has to pay to watch F1 live, but in South Africa the situation has been this way for more than 10 years now (if I remember correctly). In order to be able to watch F1 in HD one needs a DSTV subscription, which costs around R600/month. That works out 54 pounds per month, which is what a Sky subscription will cost if I understand this correctly. Most casual F1 supporters lost interest in the sport after it was only broadcast on paid TV, and only the F1 diehards and people who can afford R600/month for satellite TV (which is mediocre at best) is still watching F1 here.

  47. In the Philippines, we pay PHP780 per month for basic cable service, including an SD feed of (Murdoch-owned) Star Sports (with commercials). That’s converted to… GBP11 only (that’s GBP132 a year). Commentary is currently sub-par, but if SKY get into the picture, we might end up having Brundle on our telly (I sure hope that happens).

    An HD feed would cost GBP22 per month (GBP264 a year), with an initial installation fee of around GBP70.

    1. Thanks for showing how Canadians are paying way to much ($140 per month)but it’s HD:)

  48. No matter what the race be there is nothing like watching a F1 race live but it’s like eating a 7 days old rotten food when you watch the highlights after you know the result.I would to say to people who won’t be able to make SKY is just avoid looking at the result until you see the race highlights,that’s what I do when I have power cut in the middle of the race though I see it sometimes 12 to 72 hours later but trust me it works if you have the passion in you.But it’s hard when you will know that your close F1F friends is watching it live in SKY.

  49. For all the nay-sayers out there, I’ll do you a deal: we’ll swap. I’ll take the BBC’s 2012 coverage for one race. In return, you’ll get to watch what I watch here at my home in regional Australia. For your troubles, you will get (yes, I know some of these are available on OneHD, but I don’t currently have it):

    – No coverage of practice or qualifying.
    – No pre-race show or post-race analysis.
    – Regular commercial breaks, including the much-loved phrase “The race is starting to get interesting, so we’ll take a commercial break!” every fifteen minutes.
    – Expert commentary that is regularly interrupted by “expert” (read: wrong) commentators.
    – A delayed broadcast of every race, usually after the Sunday night movie (I hope you like The Devil Wears Prada, because the network does!).
    – An evening news program with the habit of reporting on the result of the race before it has been broadcast.
    – And all of it in glorious standard definition.

    So you’ll excuse me if I seem unsympathetic towards your plight. I’ve said it before, and doubtless I will say it again before the week is out: even if the BBC only shows ten races in 2012, it is still better coverage than anything Australia has ever had. You don’t want to have to pay for the sport you love. I get that. But you should also note that there are some of us here who would happily pay just to get access to the BBC’s 2012 coverage.

    So, please, stop your complaining. From where I’m standing, you’ve got nothing to stand on. You’re already getting the best coverage of the sport in the world; there are places where Formula 1 has only been available on pay-per-view for years, and others where substandard coverage is the expected norm. Sure, you might not get to see every race in its entirety, but to be perfectly honest with you, you’re acting like a bunch of spoiled brats. You’re demanding regular live and uninterrupted prime-time coverage, and you’re demanding it for free. I live in a country where I consider myself lucky to get coverage that is one of either a) regular, b) live, c) uninterrupted or d) in prime-time. At the end of the day, uninterrupted coverage of ten live races (plus qualifying) and extended highlights of the other ten is still better than anything I can expect to have for years to come. Get over yourselves.

    1. I’ll take it, mute the video, and get 5Live on.


    2. Also, it’s NOT free. That’s what the license fee is for.

      Your coverage is Australia’s problem, not Britain’s. They have every right to complain. If you don’t like their complaining, then don’t go to this thread. Period.

    3. Out of curiosty why can’t you get One HD? Does it have limited coverage in Australia?

      Or Foxtel HD+? What would that cost you?

      1. They have every right to complain.

        Oh, they have every right to complain. It’s just that when they’re complaining about something that means they will still have more than everyone else, they come across as a bunch of five-year-olds who are upset that they can’t have a second helping of dessert.

        Out of curiosty why can’t you get One HD?

        I need a digital-ready television, or at least a set-top box. They’re piggybacked onto a conventional aerial system, but even with a boosted signal, I’m still only getting 70-80% of the signal strength that I need. I’m hoping for a change of pace next year, but there’s no guarantees – I could easily (and very likely) end up further out west than I already am.

        Or Foxtel HD+? What would that cost you?

        More than I can afford.

        1. You could aways ask the Warded for a better online feed…but then your Mr Know it all

        2. So really, the 3 things that stop you from watching a full season live is either:
          1) Technology – You need a set-top box & a better aerial. (One off cost)
          2) Location – You need to move house to get near a better signal. (most impractical)
          3) Money – To pay for the pay per view option like FoxTel HD+.

          Here in the UK we have 1 option
          1) Money – Pay for SKY.
          with the added insult of removing the best coverage we’ve ever had.

          Yep I’ll swap, just let me finish watching the 2011 season first here while I arrange my visa. What do you mean I’m too old to emigrate? :D

          I know you’re coverage at the moment is not the best, but would you want to lose 50% of it and be told it was going to Foxtel?

    4. Judging from what I’ve seen, you’ll get in return:

      – No practise (but there will be qualifying)
      – At the moment, qualifying and the race on a channel I cannot get (BBC3; it’s free-to-air but the signal isn’t strong enough to reach my house – still waiting to hear if the extended highlights will be on BBC1 or BBC2)
      – Probably less pre- and post-race analysis than before (though not to the extent of One)
      – Ads per 15 minutes is better than ITV (though not as good as the BBC)
      – Commentary that although very good, you will probably beat when it comes to spotting the important stuff (and also somewhat prone to overhyping nowadays)
      – Two of the Australian races are likely to be live on occasions when the BBC’s cannot be
      – No mobile facility (I understand a live mobile feed is possible in Australia)
      – (If it’s my house) 4:3 feed
      – (If it’s my house) standard definition
      – (If it’s my house) a 100% chance of the result being spoiled before coverage begins, not through TV but through people discussing it through the social networks

      Importantly, you get consistency of coverage. It’s consistently poor but at least you can rely on it being there. Now, half the time, I can rely on it not being there at all.

      As for the price: let’s put it this way, I’d have to pay £120,000 to be able to watch on Sky next year, since I’d have to move house to find somewhere that is legally capable of having Sky installed in the first place. I’m fairly sure OneHD isn’t that expensive.

      In Australia, you get a) and d) by the sound of it. In Britain it’ll be none of the a-d) letters for me and only c) the other half. So it will be worse coverage than Australia currently gets (which as you’ve stated, is itself a pretty pathetic standard). Hence the complaints.

      Of course, the right path would have been for Bernie to set standards and encourage every broadcaster to raise their standards so that everyone gets good coverage. Instead he seems to prefer everyone getting the worst coverage so he can drain the value out of F1 as well as the public into his own coffers. There are only two people who have nothing to stand on concerning this matter: Bernie and whoever at Sky thought they could make F1 profitable for them at the price the BBC reckons it paid.

      1. As always, Alia delivers a mega reply. Well put!

    5. From where I’m standing, you’ve got nothing to stand on

      They (the BBC) are giving us one third of the coverage, yet are still charging the same amount of money (£145.50)

      I’d complain about anything that was 66% smaller, yet remained the same price.

    6. So, you’d rather pay £140 to watch half of something than have all of something, at only slightly lower quality, for free? Admittedly I haven’t had any experience of Australian F1 coverage, but it doesn’t sound any worse than what we had in the ITV days to me.

      I don’t think you can really complain about something that’s free, especially as some of the problems you describe are more in control of the viewer than the network. Don’t want to hear the result? Don’t watch the news. Didn’t you create a thread saying what we can all do to avoid the results until a highlights show? I didn’t think that was an issue for you…

      I can sympathise with the bad commentary, but even that is solvable with some live timing.

      If the rumours are to be believed, Formula 1 could have moved to another free to air channel for the same cost. Ok the coverage quality may have diminished, but at least would still be accessible, which I think is the main issue here…

    7. Oh, Prisoner Monkeys. I’m Australian too, and I complain from time-to-time about the dreadful coverage too. I understand you’ve got it worse than me (not having OneHD), but I disagree entirely.

      1. We live in Australia. F1 is not big in Australia. F1 is big in the UK.

      2. We don’t have to pay for it over here. We don’t even have a TV license for goodness sake!

      3. People aren’t too concerned by the coverage. You’re making out as if everyone’s bemoaning how much worse the coverage is going to be, but they’re not. They’re complaining about the fact they won’t be able to afford to watch the sport they love live.

      I’m sure almost every single Brit could put up with the BBC’s coverage if they reduced how much effort they put into it to cut costs. You seem to be disagreeing for the sake of creating an argument, because there’s no logic to what you’re saying at all.

      There’s several other things I disagree with, but I’ll leave my complaints out to avoid getting angry! :P

      1. In addition…

        Chalky –

        Or Foxtel HD+? What would that cost you?

        PM –

        More than I can afford.

        And yet you’re belittling people that are complaining about the fact they won’t be able to afford Sky? Do you see the problem here?

    8. I sympathise with you because you can’t watch OneHD, but your experience is not the same for the majority of Australia’s F1 viewership because of it.

      You clearly have internet access where you are, can you not take advantage of OneHDs official live streaming service? That’d solve practically all of your problems with the watered down TEN broadcast.

    9. You might have got your wish….if you have broadband internet. BBC iplayer, the catch-upservice on the net is going global. You could then register for a paltry £6/month and get delayed coverage of practice, quali and the race itself (or the highlights package next season).

      And as you are 9-12 hours in front the “delayed” bit shouldn’t affect you for about 15 races next year

  50. In Latvia, you can see F1 live only on pay television now. It was free-to-air until the end of 2009 I think. Now the races are shown on free TV only on late Sunday evenings, ending after the midnight. It doesn’t affect me as I watch F1 on RTL (via satellite), the German free-to-air broadcaster. In Germany, one can choose between RTL, which is for free but with ads during the race and the Sky, which is pay-tv but without ads.

    I just checked the actual prices in Latvia. If I wanted to see F1 in Latvian, I would need to pay around £245 per year plus make one-time payment of £20 for buying the package. The problem is that it is not possible to subscribe only to the sports channels let alone only F1. F1 can be bought only together with a package consisting of around 50 channels, including movies, news, music, children TV etc.

    I suspect that many Latvian F1 fans watch illegal online video feeds.

  51. Hi. Well, in Portugal, to see F1 you pay, at least, +/- 35€ p/month. But the coverage is awful! It’s made from the studios (not in action).

    Kili Liam

    1. I watched some GP2 races with probably the same commentary team. They are bad enough to make even the most exiting race with several laps of the leaders chasing and making overtaking attempts sound extremely boring!

  52. I live in the US and have DirecTV satellite, the basic HD package include the Speed channel which shows all the races live in HD, but we do have to suffer through adverts. So effectively I pay nothing extra because Speed is included in the package that I buy.

  53. I’m still reeling from the horror of this announcement…

    Has anyone considered that when I have to watch a re-run of a race I complletely block out all media until I’ve seen it. This means That other tv, news, internet channels will be missing out as F1 fans switch off so not to ruin the race. Highlights are simply an insult.

    I will certainly be doing everyhting possible to watch illegal streams & at the very least downloading torrents from sky the following day…

  54. just cancelled my santander bank account. dont think the staff cared my i cancelled it.

    My sat also picks up rtl. Which is free to air and in german? is that correct?

    1. Sounds right. In which case you just need 5Live and you’re good to go.

  55. sooo,, can someone please tell me if the races next year are going to be broadcasted live on tv??? or do we have to pay for some of them!??!?!!!

    1. If you’re in Britain: half live free, other half live if you pay and highlighted some time later if you don’t.

  56. Already pay to watch F1 through the licence fee, which I’m happy with that as it is the only thing I watch on tv. In theory I don’t mind paying too much to watch F1 as I love F1, but paying £610 on top of my tv licence is just a joke! I simply cant afford sky, and why should I pay all that money joing when I will only be watching the tv for F1 weekends! And to top that I don’t want to be giving any money to sky because of Murdoch and what he has done.

    Bernie is on planet Zog, just because lots of people have sky doesnt mean they will watch f1! Over the past few years I have warmed to Bernie, although thinking he has some totally stupid ideas like the medals idea. But all this has made me see that Bernie doesn’t care about F1 or the fans, he just wants to add more money to his huge pot! The sooner he goes the better because I dont like the direction F1 is heading under him.

    And Adam Parr! pah dont get me started on that goblin and his views on the deal. He and Bernie are possibly the most hated people in F1 right now!

  57. The correct way to have struck a deal of this would’ve been BBC and ITV, or C4/C5, to share the coverage. To keep it familiar to regular and irregularly viewers, and to welcome new viewers, BBC and their partner could have shared the same presenting and commenting teams. Not impossible.

    ITV would likely have accepted a deal where they would broadcast the race ad-free, in return for a better deal on their side, money wise.

    A sensible discussion between the BBC and one of its rivals would have meant a better deal. Not the BBC, but for us, the fans.

    The BBC are not important in all of this, we are. We’re the one giving them record viewing figures, we’re the ones praising the coverage, and now we’re the ones lambasting the BBC for this monumental letdown of the very people who are forced to fund them, and leaving us no choice but to hunt illegally online for a stream, or line the pockets of the Murdoch empire.

    Very patriotic BBC, nice one.

  58. I live in Brazil, but I am also very sad with the announcement of the Sky/BBC deal. It represents a step backwards in terms of the latest efforts done by the FIA and FOTA to try to bring the sport closer to the general public. It is staggering that in the UK viewing figures are around 6 million viewers per race, to compare it to Brazil, this weekend’s Hungarian GP attracted around 2 million viewers (even though the race is broadcast live at 9am on s Sunday, and most people are still asleep!). Here we get free HD broadcast of the whole championship on Globo TV, but only the qualifying and race. If you’re a hardcore fan and would like to see all the practice sessions you need to get a subscription from Sky (although I don’t think that the Sky we have here in Brazil is the same Sky from BSkyB in the UK). I think that the cheapest HD package costs today around 170 reais (more or less 66 pounds/month). It would be a tragedy to the general public here if a similar thing happened, as this is way too much money just to be able to watch a few races every year.

    My main fear is that, if such thing happened in the UK, where the most passionate motorsports fans are from, Bernie could easily try to do the same in the other markets as well, if it proves to be the most profitable path for him. This would be disastrous for F1 and for all the fans around the world. F1 is already an elitist sport, where most fans can’t even afford a ticket to attend the races and cheer for their favorite driver/team, now it is becoming a sport too expensive even to watch from the comfort of your couch. In the days where media is available everywhere, in smartphones, tablets, internet tv, F1 has chosen to hide from it’s loyal fans.

    1. crap, I just found out that Brazilian Sky is in fact partially owned by the Murdoch, as it was the result of an alliance between the News Corp, Liberty Media and Globo TV. And later Sky Brazil was merged with DirecTV Brazil, creating the Largest satellite distributor in Latin America. I hope Bernie and Rupert don’t turn their eyes towards s.america any time soon looking for more $$$.

    2. Marck, how do you get the races in HD?

      you’re right, Sky bought out DirecTV, which was far better (and more reasonably priced). As usual Murdoch-world comes with lowering the quality at all levels.

  59. Christopher Martin
    3rd August 2011, 15:12

    Living in the US, my TV service is provided by Verizon’s FIOS (fiber optic) service. I get all F1 races in HD but half of the season is covered by Fox and the other by Speed. Both channels are included in the basic package. The monthly fee is approximately $90 (for both TV and Internet) – I believe it’s $60 for TV on it’s own. Using the same approach, it translates to about $60/race…

    1. Christopher Martin
      3rd August 2011, 15:15

      I should probably retract the last statement because Fox and Speed are included in my basic package and are therefore ‘free’ when using the approach that Keith used. Sky Sports is an additional subscription. It’s criminal, to be honest – not to mention that the BBC coverage the best I’ve ever watched.

  60. I find it very very hard to see how more people will be watching. The teams seem to have fallen for Bernie lies sadly, even Martin Whitmarsh turned to the dark side. There is going to be less, the casual fan wont watch probably, and most of the hard core fans will be watching illegal streams, and thanks to Twitter, its almost impossible to stop us..err i mean them. ;)

    Last few months, I have been very happy to report to friends about the high viewing figures..not for much longer.

    Well summed up, scary prices. I think some Asian tracks sell cheap tickets for that price (£48 per race), crazy!!

  61. Since i always travel, i end up watching F1 in different channels. However, all of the channels that show f1 in the countries i’ve lived in are free channels (TF1 in france, SPEED in the US, 3 public channels in switzerland), and sometimes i watch a live stream of BBC’s coverage, which is the best in the world. I find it outrageous that this happens but i also saw it coming both from BBC’s lack of ads during the race (how can they pay all of that money?) and Bernie’s declaration about pay per view races

    1. They can pay because the huge audience they get implies that they can justify purchasing the necessary “Bernie fee” using a significant proportion of the licence fee they receive off any household watching live TV in the UK.

      1. They can pay due to charging every UK household a mandatory tax, sorry….licence fee to have a TV set, a radio or a PC capable of receiving TV pictures in their house – whether you watch BBC or any live TV at all.

        What is even maore galling is seeing the BBC charge UK residents full whack to use iplayer – included as part of your licence fee – , but now roll it out world-wide for half that fee to non-uk residents.

        1. The tax is voluntary but close to ubitiqous; anyone not using their computer to access live TV, and also not connecting their TVs to aerials and otherwise avoiding live TV, does not pay the tax. A number of people quite legally do not pay the licence fee on the grounds of not watching live TV. Radios (and listening to the radio via a computer) haven’t been sufficient cause to require a TV licence for 40 years, hence why it’s called a TV licence.

          If you only use iPlayer in the UK, and do not use live TV, technically you don’t need to pay a TV licence and therefore it is free to you. If you do watch live TV, you already pay the licence fee (I hope) and therefore get the iPlayer thrown in at no extra cost. Either way, the iPlayer is no extra charge to people in the UK but is charged to other countries.

  62. Surely I am not the only person in the UK to realise that F1 is broadcast by RTL the German satellite channel free to air.

    All that is needed is a cheap (£100 ish) free to air satellite kit from the likes of Maplin Electronics, point the dish at the Astra satellite at 19 degrees East and tune in all the German stations.

    The RTL broadcasts do contain some adverts and the commentary is in German but if you cannot believe your eyes turn the sound down and switch on BBC Radio 5Live.

    An added bonus is that on the same Astra satellite, the channel Das Erste broadcasts some world championship boxing free to air, recently Frosch versus Abraham and Klitchko versus Haye.

    So F1 fans you do not need to become enmeshed in SKY’s greedy tentacles, all it takes is a small outlay on a free to air satellite receiver and some patience to get the dish correctly aligned (help is at hand via the internet). (Hint mount the dish low down on the patio and not high up on the house-wall it will be much easier to adjust that way and no danger of falling off a ladder.)

    1. That’s an excellent tip for people who currently don’t have a satellite kit (which you may be able to get for less than £100 with shopping around). Anyone currently using such a satellite to get Freesat would need to move the dish orientation (Freesat lives on 28 degrees East). I’d heard rumours there was an RTL with F1 in the 28 degrees as well, though. I suppose the thing to do would be to check the complete list of what a given satellite picks up in a given direction against the list of F1 broadcasters (this would work for any country facing the same problem).

  63. How refreshing to finally see someone with a voice giving an opinion thats balanced and includes the negatives, most other “journo’s” appear to be totally ignoring the obvious disadvantages for most fans, indeed some of the more prominent ones seem to be so in favour of this new deal one can’t help but question their motives, they’re like flies around ****.

    Good article, keep it up.

  64. Hi Keith,

    I pay the princely sum of ZAR580 pm to subscribe to DSTV satellite TV to watch F1. Might not sound much when you work it back to GBP, but for the amount of rubbish we get on it, it’s not worth it.

  65. this is crazy, the amount of money needed to get sky is too much, here i’d buy 10 years of cable with all paid sports, news, entertainment, educational, religious & whatnot channels here.

  66. I’m a big f1 fan, have watched it for years, and really appreciate the coverage it gets on bbc.

    That said, as an f1 fan, I have been spoiled for years with free to air coverage of the entire sport. No other sport benefits from blanket free coverage.

    Football fans have been rehearsing these arguments for the last 20 years, but the sport has got bigger and richer as a result.

    Its just modern reality. If its a premium product, economics will mean that you have to pay for it.

    Will be disappointed to see it leave bbc, and am aware that not everyone wants sky sports. However, I’m also appreciating my luck for the gold plated coverage we’ve received for free these last couple of years.

  67. Agree that it should stay with the BBC – arguably the revenues that come into FIA way exceed the TV rights – advertising etc, race fees, so there would have been a case as you suggest to make it cheaper for the BBC & keep a great service.

    You are however completely innacurate in saying it is £61 per race Keith – that assumes you watch *NOTHING* else on sky all year.

    1. That is entirely possible given that only a few million people in the UK have Sky. People wanting to watch things other than F1 on Sky would have given it consideration before – those who only care about Sky because it has the F1 rights (the majority of the UK portion of the blog’s audience) are paying £61 to see each of those 10 races live in HD.

      1. I agree. I’ve never wanted Sky because I find more than enough to watch on free channels – my PVR is bulging! To watch the non-BBC races would indeed cost me £61 per race.

  68. i think there is too much hysteria and Bernie is right.

    If the beeb put a decent highlights show at primetime they’ll get millions more viewers. Not everyone is an f1 fanatic, even those who follow it closely dont always have the time for 2 hours of live motor racing on a Sunday.

    Ive never and never will subscribe to Sky out of my dislike of Murdoch and his empire but i dont think i have a divine right to watch it live on free to air with no adverts.

    It doesnt mean complaints are baseless but the moral indignation is completely out of proportion. Your licence fee is not just reason for demanding something that has quite clearly got too expensive. All areas of the beeb are being cut so it was either lose it altogether or cut the cost of it substantially.

    In the circumstances it was a good deal.

    1. The BBC already does do a highlights show at primetime, at almost the same length as proposed in 2012. It’s never among the top 10 programs on BBC3, meaning its audience is consistently less than 0.25 million. If such a program was put on BBC1 or BBC2, it would get more viewers (almost certainly more than Sky will get for its live show). However, there is no way it’ll be close to the 4 million it currently gets, since the F1 fans will generally find other ways (radio, alternative satellite providers, illegal streams, social networks, alternative ways to fill weekends or a combination thereof) to find out stuff. The people who want short versions appear to want rather less than the 45-60 minutes currently offered, and those who want long versions want everything.

      We don’t believe we are entitled to F1 ad-free. We do believe we are entitled to a) be able to access F1 and b) be able to do so for a reasonably affordable price. Also, the viewer side is only one of several reasons why the Sky deal is objectionable.

  69. Yep, this will damage F1 in the UK. The UK is the heart of F1, industry-wise as well, which makes this a bigger joke.

    When some people within the sport justify £61 per race (in HD) as being reasonable, due to the sport being exclusive, then it really shows what a total bunch of muppets they really are.

    I am sick and tired of seeing non-entities being interviewed on the tv grid walks. The McLaren ice-t effing and jeffing footage on you-tube sums up the idiots these teams invite as guests. Is that what the sky subscription will fund? Then there are all the corporate guests who go free. Half of them probably don’t know jack about F1.

    Keep the membership to your exclusive club. I am not worthy. I must be poor as I cannot justify the cost of it anyway, plus I have other interests which I am not sacrificing.

  70. In Holland we can see F1 races in HD for free. However, there are 4 to 5 one-minute breaks for advertisements..

    1. It actually seems to depend on the cable company you have what the deal is on HD (or no cable, with tele2, or KPN and the like, or satellite). Ziggo here doesn’t give RTL 7 in HD in the basic package I think (until recently it wasn’t even there for the HD/plus package!).

  71. (It would be interesting to know from F1 Fanatic readers outside the UK how much they pay to see F1 races live.)

    From F1Fanatic’s second largest province, the U.S.:

    Where I live, if you use Verizon FIOS or Comcast Xfininity, you will pay 160-200USD/month for a “bunde”, depending on your promotion and your negotiating ability. You get all useful HD channels, including Speed and Fox. Via speed, you get FP2, Qualifying, the Race, and the Speed TV “Debrief.”

    The bundle includes high speed internet, DVR service, and landline telephone service. It is hard to deduct the value of these other bits. A la carte, you could say roughly $30 for the landline; $30 for the DVR. The high speed internet by itself would be $30.

    Of course you are also getting movie channels, etc. But would we get this whole enchilada if not for F1? I don’t know. My wife gets her hot and cold running Jane Austen and other UK “period” movies, “on demand.” We get a lot of additional college sports too.

    The other issue, now, is that Murdoch is making me watch 5 races tape-delayed, on FOX, with the dumbed-down coverage and non-stop baseball ads covering up half the screen. (When will the UK extradite him for immediate waterboarding?)

    It’s really apples and oranges given how the deals are structured to get F1, but it seems that UK viewers are paying quite a lot to watch races. But a comparison of $1800 for a full suite of services versus $1000 for the addition of F1 races in HD does not seem to come out in the fans’ favor.

    I’m sure if F1 realized what Keith knows, that there is a populous and very hard core of very “price inelastic” fans in the U.S., we would be getting scandalously gouged as well. Keith, can you block Bernie’s IP address from this site, please?

    1. In Canada to get F1- TSN HD you need to buy a package $140, to get what you have $260

  72. What will happen to this ‘new arrangement’ if Rupert Murdoch’s News International are found NOT to be a ‘fit & proper’ company to provide Sky TV to the UK?

    Though if that happened I think I would die of laughter! Hahahahahaha!

  73. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    3rd August 2011, 16:07

    Keith let’s first say I am VERY unhappy this is gonna happen as I am watching BBC while in NL to avoid the annoying adds as well as the MUCH better commentary than Dutch RTL7.

    However in all honestly it was a matter of time – all other sports Live coverage has gone behind PayTV Formula 1 was only a matter of time.

    In the Netherlands for the moment it remains free but expect atleast 6-8 add interuptions during a F1 race and commentary is questionable.

    In Belgium it is also still free and without adds but no HD and poor commentary.

    The UK viewers have enjoyed for years the best coverage for free – I am saddenend it stops for 50% of the season – but do agree with the Media that the reaction of the UK fans is out of proportion compared to what is happening.

    And your article is far from objective – certainly your calculation of cost per race – many UK viewers already have SKY subscription and the £610 would be divided by 20 races not 10.

    Additionally doubt people would get SKY just for F1, it might be the reason to take it next to getting the various other benefits in more programs and sports – those that do not want to pay will have to do what a lot of F1 fans around the world already have to do for several years is use internet or watch F1 in other countries in languages you do not understand.

    I probably will be the most hated person on this forum but it is really dragged out of proportion, you can’t always sit on the front row for a penny.

    1. many UK viewers already have SKY subscription

      But not all do, not even a majority do, and it would obviously be wrong for me to assume otherwise. Sky says it has ten million TV customers, I’ve not got any data on how that is split between domestic and commercial (i.e., how many people have it in their homes versus businesses such as pubs that have it).

      the £610 would be divided by 20 races not 10.

      It would be misrepresentative to include the ten races people can already see on the BBC, not least because they’ve already paid for them once through their TV licence.

    2. The majority of people who converted to digital in the UK did so through Freeview and Freesat, both of which cost under £100 plus the standard licence fee. Therefore the only Sky channel they might have (if they went Freesat and get a good enough signal) is Pick, which is there mostly to promote the pay Sky channels (but still frequently does better than Sky Sports for viewers).

  74. This came as such a shock as it did to most people. Yes we know F1 is money driven and it costs a lot of money to broadcast it, but there should be things in place to stop it moving to Sky but the opportunity was not taken when it could have done back in 2009.

    Today I started planning how I can watch these races, I am currently with Virgin Media and they can provide Sky Sports on top of my package, but for the privilage I give them an extra £28! So I contact Sky to look for their best deal with sports. This is £39.95 but I’d get no broadband or phone with this, which I need, making the total £59.95.

    So to enjoy my favourite sport I have to fork out £59.95 a month, making a total of £719.40 a year! This makes me sick to the stomach, I don’t even want Sky, I just want to watch the F1. I’ll probably end up spending this but I feel for the people who can’t afford £40 or £60 a month.

    If it turns out I can’t afford it, I like many other people will be watching streams on the internet which is even worse for the sport. I don’t think Bernie understands the world we live in today.

  75. Cheers Keith. That was a fantastic summary i’m glad you had the guts to go against this absurd plan.

  76. Steve Calvert
    3rd August 2011, 16:21

    Keith, what does this mean to us American F1 fans? I’m currently only 30 minutes from the new track here in Austin, Texas, so I’ll for sure be going there every year but I watch F1 all the time on SpeedTV and FoxSports. If I have to subscribe to watch F1 I will and maybe I’ll get some more Footbal (soccer to me) out of it.

    1. No changes for you…Mike Hobbs will still doing colour…

  77. The product(racing it self) is not that good anyway…

  78. the licence fee costs 40p per day. 2 hrs out of this day of lets say 16hours conservatively means it costs you half of one pence to watch the race. SO lets have none of this nonsense about what you do and dont pay for with the licence fee. And in fact if you split up that 40 p a day into all the radio and tv channels and the website you pay slightly more than nothing for F1.

    the bbc is unique and gives better value for money than any other media source in the world

    1. But thats the point…it’s going to Sky…so is M B going to work for BBC or SKY or FOM?

      1. Not FOM. Could be either of the other two, or even an outside production company if someone puts in a competitive production bid.

    2. That way of equating it makes no sense. For a start, BBC typically does 11.5 hours of programming per weekend (for TV/visual internet; the radio/audio internet coverage has a separate Bernie fee applied).

      11.5 * 20 = 230 hours of programming per season.

      £40m per year (as quoted by the BBC)

      40 / 230 = £173,913 per programming hour

      Note that the guidelines for primetime TV on the BBC are that primetime viewing should cost no more than £1 m per hour. Even on a 50% cutback system, that’s £326,087 per programming hour more than F1, despite F1 getting comparable figures at times when normally few people would be watching.

      Some people quite legally don’t have TV licences. Remember that for the highlighted races, people can legally wait until after broadcast and then watch for no licence fee at all, with probably no loss of enjoyment. The same cannot be said for live sports (you can watch them later but they’re considerably less fun seen that way).

      F1 is the sort of thing that encourages a swathe of people to have licences that otherwise wouldn’t bother. This is part of why the BBC can be the one of the best-value media sources in the world… …and it’s lost a little of that now.

  79. I may be wrong, but very few details of how the Sky coverage will work have been released. The outrage about it being voiced here seems mainly directed towards the cost of having to have Sky sports in the first place, when I haven’t seen that stated as fact anywhere. I cannot be the only F1 fan who is totally uninterested in any other sports and have no need of a sports ‘bundle’ The people who run Sky must surely have done their market research and figured this out. My best guess is that the BBC/Sky hook up will be short lived and used as a way to test the water before Sky get the exclusive rights and decide how to offer it to their customers. So this begs the question, if you don’t have to pay £610, how much will you pay to watch each race? Supposing the plan is to offer it as a fee to have each race streamed to your PC, then how much is too much? Sky would be plain stupid to turn away 5 or 6 million potential customers, and stupid they are not. They know that the potential audience is eclipsed only by the Olympics and the Football World Cup, and only have to find the right platform for it, which is probably not tacking it on to a sports package. For the record, I am not a Sky subscriber and have never wanted to be, but I cannot just give up on the sport I have been obsessed with since 1976. I was as shocked and appalled as anyone here at first, but now think that I will just have to find a way.

    1. If the plan is to stream it to computers, Sky will need to pay to make a platform, because I don’t think it has one. Eurosport does (at £3.99 a month for the two British Eurosport channels), but it doesn’t have the F1 rights…

      1. …and it doesn’t work. I had to ask for my money back.

        1. Bit harsh, Keith! I watch GP2, GP3, Porsche Supercup, WTCC etc. etc…. for the princely sum of 67p per week!
          I admit it can be temperamental and sometimes pretty frustrating but it’s only 67 flippin’ pence a week!

          1. The temperamental nature of it probably depends exactly what platform one has. The Eurosport channels, from what I gather, are nowhere near as flexible as things like the ALMS online stream. And the ALMS stream occasionally drops out of bandwidth.

  80. It costs a lot of money to run, they need to keep bigger programs and they want to keep F1 for longer/
    That is why the BBC made this deal

  81. Hi

    I really do not understand the fuss everyone is making.

    I already have sky with sky sports which I usually cancel during the summer as there is no football. So I’ll only be adding a few months over the summer.

    However, I understand why people don’t want to take up sky if they don’t already have it. There is always Virgin Media with Sky sports!!

    In conclusion, I would rather have 12 episode of Top Gear instead of 6, 12 episodes of Larkrise to Candleford and all the other excellent stuff the Beeb makes. F1 only one of many things the BBC has had to cut.

    In conclusion, I dont think the tax payer should be funding the BBC at all, there is plenty of alternative choice, but if we have to then I’d rather they made entertainment programs and not sport – including the Olympics.

    By the way, the F1 Presenter team should only consist of MD, DC, LMcK, TK, and MW of course. Why do we need separate Radio presenters and red button dudes for practice – in fact why cover practice at all!!

    I wish SKY all the best! The BBC has had its day.

    1. That’s no help to people who can’t afford/can’t have installed Virgin either (which is the majority of people who can’t afford Sky).

      Radio (and practise, minus pictures) is covered on a much cheaper deal, which probably works out as much better value for the BBC even after audience reductions are taken into account.

  82. Interesting to see these F1 viewing numbers, average 4m viewers, peak 6.2m viewers as these almost exactly match test match cricket viewing figures before sky got hold of it. Average 4m viewers, peak 7m viewers. On sky they now struggle to get 200,000 viewers for test match cricket. If this pattern is followed by F1, and there is no obvious reason why not, then to even stay at the same overall viewing numbers, the numbers watching F1 on the BBC need to just about double, and for an increase which Bernie says he is expecting, they would have to more than double. That’s clearly impossible as no programmes in the UK regularly get that number of viewers. These statements by Bernie are clearly being put out without any credible evidence, and the FOTA bosses seem to be accepting it without question …. because of course they are going to get lots more MONEY.
    If the BBC had to go into JV with another broadcaster why not another free to air, such as Ch4. I have seen comments that the BBC is in competition with Ch4, but how so if the BBC is a public service broadcaster. How does removing coverage from the general public in this way align with its charter?

  83. “Hi

    I really do not understand the fuss everyone is making…

    …However, I understand why people don’t want to take up sky if they don’t already have it.”

    You just answered it yourself.

  84. Here in America, I pay $7 a month for the Comcast sports entertainment package. Not only does that include Speed TV (which broadcasts the races live) it also includes channels for most other sports.

  85. I really hope F1 gets the treatment it deserves on Sky but I have the feeling that it is going to get marginalized among Sky’s various sports. You would have thought that Sky would be raving about the deal they pulled off but on the afternoon they announced the deal F1 got about 2 minutes on Sky Sports News every hour right after the speculation as to who Dundee United’s text transfer target is. I really hope that kind of coverage doesn’t set the tone for the next few seasons but I suspect it will.

    1. *next transfer target

  86. I’m not going to watch Formula 1 anymore from next year. It seems pointless watching only half the races, and I’ll probably find out the result before the delayed races are broadcast so the experience would be ruined.

    I absolutely refuse to pay for Sky Sports, simply because it’s more money in Rupert Murdoch’s bank account. And there’s the fact that if one doesn’t like football, Sky Sports is a huge rip-off. If there was a motorsport only package, I might be tempted, but as things stand I’d rather just channel my interest into something else.

  87. I’ve been following F1 for many years and have enjoyed the ever improving free coverage on BBC, then ITV and then BBC again.

    However. In this day and age F1 is the ONLY major sport which has every minute (including practice!), or anywhere close to it, covered on free to air tv.

    FTA football is restricted to a dozen champions league matches a season and some cup matches. No league games at all. Only the World Cup and European Championships are shown in full on FTA.

    Golf is restricted to two or three tournaments on FTA. Likewise Tennis.

    We have been lucky to get F1 on Free to Air for so long.

    That doesn’t make it any less painful if you don’t like other sports or don’t have the means to pay for Sky Sports. That, however, is how the rest of the sporting world has been working for years.

    If the event isn’t reserved, then if its important, its on pay TV with very few exceptions, one of which was F1.

    Football fans would be overjoyed if half of their matches were being shown on FTA TV.

    I think the arguments here are arguments that the rest of the sporting world has been through, and come out the other side of. Football was going to die when the league moved to Sky. Its now a better product, with better facilities and much better media coverage, despite the fact that its only highlights that make it to FTA TV.

    I lament the ending of the FTA era for F1, but it is the same thing that has happened with every other sport. We have grown to have a sense of entitlement for FTA F1, because that is what has always happened in this country. If ITV and BBC were unwilling to pay the bill, however, there isn’t much other choice.

    1. Comparing F1 coverage to other sports is difficult because their structures vary considerably.

      You use the example of the football league. To the best of my knowledge (I’m not a football fan!) there are 380 Premier League football matches alone every year lasting a total of 1,425 hours.

      For F1, we’re talking about 20 Grands Prix lasting 40 hours. Even if you factor in practice and qualifying it’s still only 140 hours.

      In football terms F1 is closer a match, in terms of size and importance, to the World Cup or European Championship – both of which as you note are free to air. But even then there are significant differences in the number of matches and, of course, the frequency of the ‘seasons’.

      Those events are among those which are protected in the UK. F1 should be be among them: Why the government must protect live F1 broadcasts on free-to-air television

      1. Never mind the arguments about other sports, the main thing is to publicise that F1 will be available free to air from the German station RTL which can easily be accessed in the UK with a comparatively cheap (£100 ish) satelite receiver and dish kit (pointed at satellite Astra at 19.2 degrees east).

        So UK viewers can watch the BBC coverage on the races it transmits and for the other races tune in to RTL and watch for FREEEEEEEE. Do not pay SKY one bean. So please dont get het up, get even! Buy a cheap satellite kit and show two fingers to the poison dwarf. Please tell your friends.

        1. Lidl sometimes sell £60 dishes that work a treat.

        2. That assumes satellite coverage can actually be received at your location, in my primary location it is not possible. Too many trees, to close, the technical term used in satellite comms is wooding.
          In my secondary location it does work, but the problem there, is that there is no fast broadband, even BT admit that max speed possible is probably below 2Mbit and there is no cable. Its near the SE coast so might try to see what continental reception is like, I do have a secam capable portable, so french channels are a possibility.

        3. That’s a very good point and I may consider it, I’ve seen the dishes in Lidel. £60 I don’t mind, £600 I object to.

  88. I live in Sweden and pay about £240 per year to watch all F1 races live in standard definition it would be a round £100 more if I wanted it in HD but only because it’s a package deal with other HD channels.

    For around the same amount that British F1 fans will have to pay to get the Sky coverage in HD I get a full TV package will over 50 channels including the most popular ones, five sports channels and a 24mbit broadband connection.

    You should also consider that we have some of the highest taxes in the world in Sweden and everything I just mentioned is including a 25% tax fee.

    What I’m trying to get to here is that I cannot believe how much they are asking you to pay to watch your favorite sport, prices may be higher in the UK but it’s still a complete and utter ripoff.

  89. To answer your question about costs in other countries: here in the U.S., to view the races on Speed channel, you have to have a cable package that includes it. And that usually means one of the higher end packages. My previous roommate had one of those packages for cable and it cost us about 100 bucks a month (50 for each of us since we split the cost).

    Personally, I have been able to watch free (sort of, if you don’t count my internet bill, which is about 30 bucks a month. MUCH nicer!). BBC broadcasts are typically available through torrents within a few hours after the race. And thankfully it’s a little easier to avoid F1 news over here in the U.S. I tend to be able to watch the race from within 5 hours to a day after it’s over. This obviously isn’t as nice as watching it live, but seeing it without commercial interruption is still preferable to me. And since I need internet even if I wasn’t watching F1 races, the cost isn’t that much different than if I weren’t seeking them out.

  90. What I’d like to know is if the BBC red button service (with the 5 live commentary) is avaliable for the races

  91. this is bad news for you guys in UK

    here in india, we get F1 in HD on ESPN HD for JUST 80 rupees per month , that is 1 pound per month :0

    in a year we just spend 12 POUNDS for F1

    this is erally cheap

    I dont know why it is sooo expensive in UK
    Bad news…really feel sorry for you guys :(

  92. I guess we still don’t know if the BBC will be showing full deferred races or just crappy “highlights”?

    1. Highlights. Specifically 75 minutes per race.

  93. I live in the Dominican Republic, and we get F1 live through Fox Sports Latin America, its included in the Cable TV Package from Claro (the sponsor on Sauber’s car), it costs around US$100 , but that include all channels, HBO,Cinemax,several ESPNs, News,Discovery, history, etc, So it aint a bad deal. Baseball is the national sport and you do get it on free to air, but for US Major League baseball games there is only one game shown on free to air, all others are on monthly package cable subscriptions

  94. The BBC have screwed the uk licence fee payers who do not have Sky sports 2. They could have carried on showing F1 for the next 2 years, but they knew they would not be able to compete for the rights come the end of their contract, so instead of letting us uk licence fee payers (£145 per year) who do not have sky sports 2, watch F1 on ITV or channel 4, they got into bed with Sky so that they get to show some races until 2018 ( and pretend they are doing us a favour)- cheers BBC, thanks for losing half the races live for people like me. Its not about them saving money, they now have to fund showing F1 until 2018- longer than the original contract. They must think us F1 fans were born yesterday, b*****s!

  95. in spain we have several channels free. La sexta is the most knoledgeable but very much biased. Live isn’t perfect on this side of the chanel either.

  96. HD Torrents and sometimes illegal streams. $140 a month for HD Cable in the US is bull****. I refuse to pay it. In fact I don’t even have cable TV, just not worth the money.

    If F1 had an official streaming service, I’d pay for it.

  97. I’m sorry about this guys, but everything has a cost. Here in the US, we get “free” over the air coverage (with constant commercial breaks) for 5 of the races and the rest you have to have cable PLUS the “sports” package which comes out to about $125 to $150/mo. While I love the BBC’s coverage, no one “deserves” free coverage.

    1. So people who don’t have/make a lot of money shouldn’t be able to watch F1? F1 has always appeared glamorous and exclusive but now only the glamorous and exclusive can watch it.

      Some people make minimum wage and still want to watch F1.

      1. As I said, everything has a cost, particularly non-essential things like entertainment (which are by definition, a luxury.) I refuse to pay for cable here in the US (again it would be $150/mo for me) because it is just too great an expense. But I don’t bitch about how F1 should be free, because I understand the context of such a statement. Instead, I go to my local pub with other F1 fans and watch it that way…

        1. I would agree with colinf. You don’t have a right to watch F1. If Sky prices out of most average people then that is there decision, they pay for the content from FOM. I might want a Ferrari but I can’t afford one. I think for everyone the issue is that F1 went from free on ITV and BBC to 600 pounds a year. I would say though that you get a lot more than just F1 for paying for the Sky package.

          1. While people may not have a right to watch F1, the question F1 needs to ask itself is whether it wants to see its audience as a source of income via ads, or as a fan base that will give it a reason to be around and that encourage them and make it an experience.

            If it is the first, those people that don’t currently have to spend this amount of money to watch it, but won’t and/or can’t pay for it in the future, can be effectively replaced by higher income directly from the TV contract.

            The second would mean that this deal reduces the possibilities for the fans to appreciate and nurture the sport, and severely limits new people taking an interest in the sports, because low threshold access is not there.

            For the long-term future of the sport, I think should really be the second. Think only of the marhsals – they have a heart for the sport, but imagine they never could afford to see it when they grew up (and tickets were so expensive the live race also is close to prohibitive), how will they be around for long?

        2. On factor you possible overlook is that this discussion has a different tone in a country where you have 60 million people and 6 million of them are watching a race. If there was a sport in the U.S. that 30 million people (300m/10) wanted to watch on a given Sunday we might look at it differently. Can Americans imagine if Fox decided that you had to upgrade to “premium package” or whatever to watch a particular football game?

          1. Well they sort of did, didn’t they, with the NFL Network?

        3. My local pub isn’t open at 4am.(west coast) And I don’t see how any pub is open in America, even east coast, at 7am.

          Maybe for Brazil/Montreal, where the timezones are more inline.

          1. They play the race here on a time delay. The trick is to not read any F1 news before watching the race.

    2. Everything does have a cost. It is in the interests of all in F1 to make sure that those costs are affordable and accessible. In this case they failed to do so.

  98. I live in Belgium and watch the BBC coverage because of their technical knowledge. Apart from that, I can watch races live on two different channels on standard cable (not even digital tv). RTBF has the best F1 coverage in Belgium for me personally. But it’s far from being on par with the BBC.

  99. As i’ve been saying for awhile, the BBC gets an average 3million viewers per race, i worked out it was at a cost of £1 per viewer to the BBC. Basicly every Sky Sports Subscriber will HAVE to watch F1 to match the BBC figures, not likely, lets be fair and say 40% watch, that’s just over a million viewers maximum no matter the time or the race. So over 20 races Sky will get 20 million viewers, where as the BBC were attracting 60 million last year.

    We have to face facts that F1 is now a pay tv sport, it won’t change, even when this deal expires they aren’t going to take less money for free TV rights. Get used to it and get used to F1 becoming an marginalized sport here in the UK.

    1. Either they take less money for free TV rights in 2016-18 or they take just as less for pay TV. At that point free TV comes in again.

  100. Blame everyone who voted Tory at the last general election.

    I doubt Labour would have frozen the license fee like the Tories have in dictatorial-like spending cuts. Instead business would have been as usual.

    Plus we know how the Tories deal with Murdoch heh heh

  101. In Canada we get the BBC feed for Qualy and Races with Ads on the sidebars occasionally. A monthly cable fee including TSN (the sports network) is about 35/40 $ CAD. I watch the coverage of streaming sites for free. mainly because I love the BBC buildup and forum.


    1. WE are talking HD here…that will cost you $140 on cable in Canada…your ISP is not blocking BBC ? hope Ma Bell doesn’t find out.

  102. In the U.S. I pay about $8/month for SPEED. I subscribe to it all year round though I could cancel in the winter to save a little. Even if I use a value of $96/year it only comes out to $4.80/race weekend or 2.93/race in Pound Sterling. This is all in HD as well. If anyone is wondering my provider is Comcast. Keep in mind though with my case I am only factoring the cost for SPEED. It is unlikely I could get this rate with a basic package. My total rate with Internet + Phone + TV is about $180/month.

  103. Keith, I have two questions:

    1) Will Radio 5 Live still commentate on F1?

    2) Why doesn’t FOM broadcast the race live without commentary on formula1.com?

    1. 1) Yes

      2) He hasn’t caught onto the likes of IRL and NASCAR…

    2. 1. Yes they will. But given that at the moment although they say they cover all practice sessions, qualifying and races not all of these are available on the radio. For example FP2 for the last race at Hungary was only available on the Redbutton (which won’t we showing pictures fro the races the BBC aren’t covering) or on the website. 5Live had their normal weekday programs on and 5Live Sports Extra was covering the cricket between England and India.
      There was also the GP that clashed with Wimbledon where the Wimbledon coverage was on both BBC1, BB2, RedButton, 5Live and 5Live Sports Extra so the only way to listen to it was on the website.

      2. Because FOM sell the online rights along with TV broadcast rights. This is why the BBC have been able to show the races both online as well as on TV.
      This way it leaves each host broadcaster to work out how they’re going to deal with that.

      If they wanted to deal with the online rights themselves they’d either have to invest in setting up backend infrastructure to deal with providing enough bandwidth to anyone who wanted to watch it that way. Plus deal with the payment sites.
      Alternatively they could sell the global online rights to some other company to look after, but I don’t see that that would bring them in much money at the moment – especially as the TV companies would want to use this as a tool to knock down the price with. If it was controlled by FOM rather than the national broadcasters you could forget having been able to watch races/quali/practices on the BBC website this year

      Maybe in a 5-10 years the online market will have changed, but as a global market it just won’t be there at the moment

  104. I have a little story to tell.

    I am a student.

    For the first year of my university life, I lived in halls. Where I was unable to watch any live TV. The bandwidth was simply not fast enough to stream races or radio, so I had to resort to iPlayer.

    So whenever I turned my laptop on, having subscribed to Keith’s fantastic Twitter and Facebook services, and to various other F1-related services, I knew the results before I came online.

    As a result, I was unable to watch the Japanese, Korean AND Brazilian Grands Prix live. Having not missed a race live since the 2005 US GP (I was round my elder sister’s), it killed me. Thankfully, one of the bars on Campus showed the last race live (only 5 people actually came and watched) which softened the massive blow.

    I refuse to not watch races live anymore. I will be streaming illegally (and having Radio 5 Live on top) and I honestly think that’s the best option F1 fans will have.

    The worst-off out of this are people like my uncle, who does not, and does not intend to have, internet. And he’s been watching (and going to) Formula 1 races since way before I was born!

  105. While I am not too bothered watching in real time as I Sky+ the races and watch them later, I will sorely miss the full BBC coverage. I WILL NOT pay the extra money for Sky Sports. I pay them enough as it is….

  106. I already have Sky Sports (or rather the house I live in does). I know that the box notes down everything we watch and sends it to Sky.

    The thought of watching/recording the Sky Sports races and it being added to their viewing numbers repulses me. If the BBC highlights are anywhere near good then I can live without watching the Sky races, or maybe I can listen to Five Live while I take up running during races or something.

    But I’ll tape and watch every BBC race and highlights program on my skybox just to really **** Sky off when they add up the figures on the other end. I’m willing to miss 10 races for the greater good.

  107. In Finland, the cheapest you can get live coverage of F1 is probably MTV3’s Katsomo service on the internet (IIRC something like 50€ for the whole season).

    On TV, MTV3MAX belongs to multiple different channel packages. Cheapest is 15€, and it contains the HD channel as well (in cable and satellite). And you don’t have to subscribe for 12 months, so you basically can get the whole season for about 150€ – next year that’s just 7,5€/weekend. That’s cheaper than going to the movies :P

  108. In Southern africa we have been paying for F1 the last 5 to 8 years we pay around USD $1200 per year as part of supersport I hope this deal is not going to push up our prices as my supersport subscription is mostly for motorsport I bearly watch any other TV.

  109. so the races that aren’t live will we get to see practice and qualifying? on the red button.
    bbc 3 highlights are terrible 5-10 min at start for quali report and 15 min at the end for interviews so thats only 40-45 min of action

  110. All right, I am confused. How much extra money should a person already a Sky subscriber, lets say one who already gets Premier League, pay for F1?

    I looked at sky website, it shows 32 quid(42 if you want HD) a month for Sky plus sky sport.Dont know what it includes exactly, but it says that you get two sport channels which I assume contains EPL maybe it will include F1 as well.

    1. Sky haven’t announced which channels they plan to use, but I’m guessing the race will be on Sky Sports 1 unless there’s a clash, and the highest any other session will be is Sky Sports 2 (there’s a Sky Sports 3 and 4, which are currently available free if you have Sports 1 and 2).

  111. Leyland94 (@)
    3rd August 2011, 20:08

    Does anyone here listen to races on BBC Radio 5 Live? I listened when I was out during the German GP and actually found myself enjoying the coverage. I may need it a lot more with this deal, for early morning races in particular. I will have to go to relatives for the afternoon races on Sky. It’s hardly ideal, I’m gutted. This was my first season following F1, can@t believe it’s being snatched from me again.

  112. In Spain we have free coverage of all F1 races in “La Sexta” (private TV, in spanish) and TV3 (public TV, in catalan). I guess we’re lucky!

  113. Hi,

    I subscribe to Sky and have done for many years and will continue to subscribe but that doesn’t make me happier that F1 is moving to it.

    I love watching F1 and never miss qualifying or a race.

    I think the decision is ludicrous and it’s like biting the hand that feeds you… What a slap in the face for the true fans.

    I travel a lot with work and I have watched F1 FREE in Spain, Hong Kong and China!

    The show on the BBC is second to none and the figures keep improving race on race… They’re must be some deal somewhere that someone is cashing in on!

    I will continue to watch it because I am fortunate enough to be able too but what about the millions that can’t… It really is disgraceful!!!

  114. I’m in Canada, and the only live coverage we get is the BBC feed. Later in the day we might get a SpeedTV feed, but the BBC is much better than the Speed broadcast.

    1. In Canada you get FOM feed,not the BBC

  115. My house is listed and surrounded by trees so it limits where I could site a Sky dish. I cannot really afford what would be an expensive intsallation and cable is not an option locally. I have managed for years without Sky and would only want it for F1 and cricket. Next year will mean that I will not see all the races live and that saddens me. I will have to make do with David Croft (who is excellent) and Test Match Special on the radio.

    I have attended a number of races over the last few years and love it but the cost, now that I am retired, is just getting silly.

    I love the BBC coverage and despair when I see the money they waste on other stuff. F1 had a big audience but clearly that does not matter any more. It is very sad.

  116. In an ideal world….perhaps the sponsors of the teams could contribute to the licence fee. They are after all losing a large proportion of their audience and it could be seen as beneficial for them to pay the fee to reach the UK market.

  117. Why is Lewis Hamilton in F1? The answer: because he became enthralled seeing Ayrton Senna slide his McLaren around Monaco – on free to air TV.

    The lack of free to air TV will hit F1 hard in Britian.

    1. You’ve hit the nail on the proverbial head Alistair.

      There are also so many German drivers probably due to watching schumi on FTA.

  118. In the US, I pay about $70 a month (on top of my basic cable TV and internet package) just to see F1 broadcasts on Speed, which are shown chock-full of ads of course.

    If I were a UK resident, I would be signing up for a Sky Sports subscription without a second thought. It’s vexxing that F1 can treat its fans with such contempt at times, but it certainly doesnt make it any less intoxicating.

  119. Here in Germany F1 is FTA on RTL in SD, however they have massive advert breaks (worse than ITV!) and last time I watched it was always a Schumacher love-fest plus a report on some other idiots who were either getting in his way or confirming his glorious talent. I’m sure it hasn’t changed much, just a new champion….and before anyone says UK TV is a Hamilton/Button love-fest, it just doesn’t compare.
    They’ve now introduced an HD option at €50/year (first year free) if you have a CI+ slot, and it still has the adverts, which cannot be skipped on recordings.

    Anyway, the other option is to pay Sky Germany for the privilege. I used to do this prior to the Murdoch takeover when they were still Premiere and the coverage was quite good – Norbert Haug proved an excellent interview subject, with fair and detailed summaries. This coverage now costs €29.90/month for the first year, thereafter €33.90, or €39.90/43.90 if you want HD, plus €28.90 startup costs, and includes a basic receiver only (no recording).

    Whichever coverage you choose, the TV licence is €53.94 per quarter on top.

    Personally I’ve been watching with my Humax Freesat HDR on ITV and the Beeb up until now, so if I did want to go the Sky UK or DE route (which I don’t), I’d be needing a new sat receiver on top of the subscription.

  120. The reason why F1 will die is stupid people giving into blackmail. If nobody took out Sky subscriptions, F1 (even football) would be back free to air within 18 months.

    The UK people do not deserve F1, they are too thick to realize THEY are the ones allowing SKY to put all sport behind a paywall. Beat a path to Sky’s door, muppets.

  121. we paid for the bbc to upgrade to HD and then they take F1 away from us which was the best program in HD then if you want HD on sky you have to pay extra on top of your sky deal to get it. sky are just a rip off. all the programs are filmed in HD so why the extra cost to watch them??

  122. F1 survives over the years due to young kids starting watching at say 7-11 year olds and get bigger fans as they get older. buying games, dvd(or in our case vhs!) going to races, magazines, hats, etc etc.

    now how is F1 going to attract that on sky? cos lets be serious its going to 10vs10 next year but the year after or the year after that? i dont think so BBC will wind it down.

    you are not going to get your new young viewers who happened to have it on in their bedroom one day and been hooked by it. to watch it they will have to have their parents want to also watch it on the sky feed. If their dad/mum is a fan then great. But that isnt always the case and now we will never get them fans.

    in 10yrs time the effect on the sport will be huge IMO

  123. In Denmark we have excellent coverage, and although it is interrupted by commercial, it still is a great show. The price is approx. 120£ a year, but for that price you also get Discovery Channel, EuroSport and various other channels. So all in all a fair price.

  124. dominikwilde
    4th August 2011, 8:58

    Adam Parr is saying fans should support the Sky TV deal and ‘cost reductions’. Now, it’s not the case for everyone but it is certainly the case for alot of people, me included – How can we ‘support’ something if there is nothing to support? Putting F1 on Sky effectively takes F1 from alot of us so why should we support something we can’t see or follow propperly anymore?! And here was me thinking Bernie was the only true idiot left in the sport! This is great news for the teams, but for how long? Surely after a season or two (three if they’re lucky) the high TV income for teams will drop because nobody is watching it to pay. Soon the only people watching will be someobe waiting for the Manchester Rovers game to come on afterwards with nothing better to do with their early Sunday afternoon.

  125. I don’t comment here a lot, so first of all, thanks for all your great articles Keith.

    I’m from Finland and we get 1 hour of highlights on free to air TV. If you want to watch all the sessions live, you have to buy a channel package of 7 channels which costs €14,95 per month on cable or €19,99 per month on terrestrial. I believe there’s an extra cost for HD but I’m not sure how much that is.

    I’ve spent a couple of years in the UK so I’ve experienced the coverage by ITV and now this year by the BBC and I must say that the BBC coverage has been excellent. I’ve really enjoyed the commentary by DC and Martin Brundle and been equally annoyed by EJ during most weekends. I will definitely miss the BBC coverage when I move back to Finland next week.

    I feel for everyone in the UK because I think there’s no broadcaster out there who’s doing a better job than the BBC and I know I would not pay £610 to be able to watch half the season live.

  126. I think it all is useless. Many ten of thousands (and growing) have negative feelings about this BBC/Sky sell out deal, some of those feelings very strong. Why? Because people love Formula 1, they love the BBC coverage. So many people can not get Sky even if they wanted to cause of the costs.

    BBC doesn’t care though and they will just continue. The fact alone that they closed the blog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/sporteditors/2011/07/f1_coverage_to_be_shared_betwe.html for comments after 8415 (!!!) negative comments is sort of proof for that. Guess the BBC wants us all to use https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/ to make comments now on the disgrace? ;)

    1. GOOD FACTS….

  127. Being a knowledgable f1 fan who has no intention of paying sky around £500 for 20hrs tv. i still dont get it. I dont see what f1 gets out of it. Just small amount of money and lot of hastle for teams , sponsers, track owners and potential damage for future fans.

    I was thing about this last night
    Can you imagine if sky had bahrain , abu dhabi , valencia and singapore.

    Would you pay to watch them. i know i would not.

    And if bbc had them it would kill sport for viewers .

    To be honet i am hoping teams tell burnie to stick and set up there own championship on some of the classic tracks not the tracks that have paid for the privilage

  128. TO THE BBC….

    Launch a F1 channel and charge us more. I would prefer this based on the amazing job you have done.

    DO NOT have sky mess it up.

  129. (It would be interesting to know from F1 Fanatic readers outside the UK how much they pay to see F1 races live.)

    I’m living in Belgium, and I just had to pay for the TV. Without taking any subscriptions of any kind, I can get 8 free channels, and one of these channels shows each race and qualifying live (SD). Last year, I even had another channel (in flemish) which was also showing F1 (without ad breaks, but without any build-up), but they stopped showing it this year.
    But when I’m living near my university, we have a bit more channels (and I guess the university pays for it), and there we have BBC One, and TF1 (french channel), so that makes 3 channels which are showing F1 in SD, and that I don’t have to pay for.

    A pity that F1 on the BBC will be limited next year, because their coverage was by far the best one!

  130. For viewers living in Sweden, live coverage was moved from the free Viasat Sport to the subscription based Viasat Motor a couple of years ago. The cost for watching a full season is approximately equivalent to 450 GBP. Given that I rarely watch any TV except the occasional football match and – of course – F1, I went looking for other alternatives instead. I ended up watching delayed BBC coverage using some dodgy way of accessing BBC iplayer. This makes it hard, because there is no way I would go back to swedish coverage again; I would miss Brundle and colleagues too much. Anyway, I’ve grown used to watching the coverage some hours delayed, and I actually like it now. The kids have all gone to bed and you can pause the action while you prepare some more coffee and sandwiches. So, if BBC will show all races in full, although some races delayed, I would say you´re still in for a more than decent experience. That is, if they keep a similar level of coverage, with Eddie’s opinions, Lee and Ted in the pit lane, DC and Brundle in the commentary box, and Jake desperatley trying not to be knocked down by some mechanic.

    1. Half of them will be full races (and live to boot). The other half are highlights-only.

  131. I live in Switzerland. Here, we can watch the races live on Swiss, German and Italian channels. Maybe even French.

    If I were still living in England, I would never pay for a Sky subscription. F1 is the only sport I follow. So I would be watching the re-runs and trying to avoid the results. Which I’ve done before when I’ve missed a race and it’s a pain in the (.)

    Ecclestone is a businessman. He is not interested in anything other that increasing his profits. Plus, time is not on his side anymore. The Sky deal, while rubbish for the rest of us, is perfect for him. He will have made zillions from this.

    The promise from Sky that coverage will be advert-free will be short lived. That’s absolutely clear. They’ve only offered this because they know most fans will turn away in 2012 unless they temporarily offer this. I guess the idea is, once the fans are hooked… Once you’re paying your prescription, it’s unlikely you’ll stop because of the introduction of adverts.

    Just as Bernie is a businessman, F1 is a business. We, the fans, will never have a say and our emotional connection to the sport will only ever be used as a marketing tool. In any other way except dollar signs, our love for the sport means nothing to those who run it. To them, it’s not a sport; it’s business.

    We won’t even have our say as hundreds of thousands turn away from the sport in 2012. Sky and the powers that be at F1 will have already done all the calculations. The potential losses will have been counted and the numbers must still look very good for both sides on this deal.

    Shame for us. Nothing we can do about it.

  132. I like many was absolutely gutted to hear about this new position on the F1 coverage. I think Keith has hit the nail on the head better than most I have seen in the last few days.

    At a time where the sport is growing in popularity to cut out such a audience with this move could be hugely negative. One of the things about F1 that has always appealed to me is the loyal the fan base is across the world which this website is of great testament to! Because of how loyal this sport is we have essentially being put in a positon where we either pay the money or miss out! I’m sure the BBC will do everything they can to make the highlights as good as possible but the reality is that nothing is going to compare to watching it live.

    Anyway to the point yeah, I really really really don’t want to have to start paying for F1 but realistically am I going to stop watching the sport I love? No. With these free view packages skysports can be bought for £19.99 a month on a non subscription basis (so only pay for the F1 season) which is £5 pound a week so can I go without that one extra pint, pack of cigarettes, BLT sandwich or whatever a week to watch F1. Yeah I think I can. I’m not happy about it in the slightest but I think for £5 a week I can manage. It’s going to be a shame to see the great pedigree of coverage from the BBC be somewhat cut short but Sky will never top what we have now the only thing that is making this seem a bit better is the possiblity of F1 in 3D sure I don’t have a 3D tv but wouldn’t it be awesome to head down to the pub and catch it in 3D?

    Which thinking about it F1 being on Sky might cause us all to come out of our little shells and venture to the pub for the F1 which could be quite a laugh, I mean I only ever watch it by myself (to everyone else in the house it’s cars going round in circles) So sod it lets get to the pub on Sundays and have some F1 banter with each other and I’m sure some good Maclaren, Red Bull, Ferrari competition with others could be fun!

    1. Freeview doesn’t have the Sky Sports option; that requires a specialist Sky dish and decoder box, which in turn requires a subscription.

      Also, good luck finding a pub that will broadcast F1…

  133. “…(It would be interesting to know from F1 Fanatic readers outside the UK how much they pay to see F1 races live.)…”

    I’m from Portugal and I’m paying (since 2010) 25.59 Euros/month to watch F1 (live). HD costs 27.99/month.


  134. Not too sure if anyone has covered this already as I have not read through all 350 responses yet, but I was having a look at packages that give you Sky Sports cheaper. BT Vision Unlimited costs £12.50 per month, and then you can add Sky Sports for another £12.50. So £25 for the whole package, whereas my Sky subscription costs me £21 for the basics per month and I will have to add another £20 to that if I want Sky Sports. So £41 per month with Sky, and £25 per month with BT… Time to leave Sky me thinks!

    1. Is that just Sky Sports 1, or are (some of) the other Sky Sports channels in there? It’s certainly an interesting proposition.

  135. Here in Lebanon, we are lucky to watch F1 for free through Abu Dhabi sports channel.

  136. I’m in New Zealand. We only have one paid TV provider, which funnily enough is Sky. There are also one or two resellers, of which I subscribe to one. TelstraClear simply because I already use their cable internet and my phone line rental is through them too. They resell all the various Sky packages, of which I receive through their Cable service (so no rain fade like normal Sky Satellite feeds).

    Anyway, here’s my costs.

    The base TV package costs $51.70 per month, and offers a selection of free to air channels and documentary, news, kids, food, music channels etc. Movies and Sports channels cost extra. So…

    Base Package: $51.70
    Sky Sports addon: $17.96
    Digital Upgrade: $2.02
    T-Box Decoder (so I can record the races, they are the middle of the night here): $14.95
    HD Ticket (to get HD content): $10

    so that’s NZ$96.63 per month or NZ$1159.56 per year.

    Personally, I don’t watch much on it outside of F1 plus the odd race in other series such as GP2, GP3, V8 Supercars, IRL, NASCAR, etc and Rugby. Other people in the house hold watch things on it though.

    But for me, that does seem rather expensive for F1 coverage. That includes all three practice sessions each GP weekend along with Qualifying and the Grand Prix itself. We don’t get the pre quali or pre GP buildup shows, or the interactive forum (sorry BBC, but I download them as there’s no other way for me to ever see that content).

    Pretty expensive really. My only hope is that if Sky are now producing the shows, and decide to also do buildup shows and an interactive forum type show, that being owned by the same people we’ll finally get that extra content broadcast. Fingers crossed at least huh?

  137. Bernie Ecclestone said in the Daily Mail 30/7/11 ‘If the BBC had stayed alone they would not have had the money to continue as they do now. It would have been like the old days-no build up and when the cars finish, the programme finishes. The lights go out and that’s it.’

    Well I would’nt mind the old days Bernie 5mins before and after would suit me just fine, I can go on internet for drivers interviews.

    1. Bernie hasn’t really caught up with the Internet.

      You make a valid point though.

      With that in mind the BBC could stream them all no-frills online. Sky wouldn’t like that though.

  138. I stay in India. We use Star Sports. We have to pay around 1500 rs (18-20 pounds) per month for all channels (not just Star Sports).

    I don’t understand the logic of 61 pounds per race. I mean, when you pay 610 pounds for Sky, you don’t get ONLY F1 on Sky, do you? You get Football, cricket and everything else, correct? So the actual F1 cost will be much lesser than 61 pounds, right?

    1. I don’t know the actual costs for Sky. But yes, if you already have Sky Sports then it would not matter.
      But the problem is that a LOT of people do not have Sky. They either can’t afford it or do not want it. So, if they want to see the whole season, they have to get Sky just for the Formula 1. Lots of people do not care 1 bit about soccer, cricket, tennis or whatever so if they get Sky for Formula 1 they will pay full package only for that.

    2. It’s less what one gets and more what one wants. For those not interested in the other stuff that comes with the Sky subscription, F1 is either £48.70 or £61 per race, depending on whether HD is chosen, for the non-BBC rounds.

  139. I think this kind of decision was inevitable given the cash-strapped times we live in. It could have been much worse, sold exclusively to Setanta or ESPN then we really would have been stuffed. To be honest I don’t really like Sky and their glamorous presenters, flashy studios and Hollywood-style screen graphics, but I have a Sky Sports subscription anyway for some years, for England Football and IndyCar, plus other bits and bobs throughout the year.

    Sky did a good job with A1GP when it was running. I subscribed to Sky’s F1 Digital Plus in 2002 and it was pretty good too, with proper multiscreen options for pit lane view, follow leader, follow midfield, timing screen, studio, etc. – so if we can expect that kind of thing for no extra cost (Sky just announced a price freeze for 12 months and channel package simplification) then I can’t really see any cause for complaint. They’ll probably enhance it with web stuff and iPhone / iPad apps like they have done for football too I’d imagine, and other tweaks the BBC have not done.

    I appreciate that many people who don’t have Sky Sports might now have to pay extra if they aren’t prepared to put up with just BBC highlights of the more tedious races like perhaps Valencia or Bahrain. But this is probably the future of sport and if you like F1, the Indycar that comes with your Sky subscription is well worth watching with many international and former F1 drivers like Sato and Wilson participating.

    1. It wasn’t inveitable. The government only needed to allow the beeb to use product placement and we would have never had a whiff of this deal

      1. No advertising of any kind takes place on the BBC because it’s publicly funded, regardless of whether it’s product placement or any other kind.

        1. Thats not really true in practice though is it Keith. Everytime i watch something on the BBC and a computer is involved, you can garantee it’ll be a Apple, they always very subtly get the logo in shot.

          1. We’re going beyond the realm of my expertise here (not to mention the subject matter of the article) but it’s certainly not something I’ve noticed watching the BBC generally. In terms of their F1 coverage, I remember when Jake Humphrey started using a tablet last year it had a logo on it but as I recall they taped it over it pretty soon after.

            And remember, product placement is where they’re being paid to put logos in view, which is not what happens on the BBC (as far as I know, again, I’m not a marketing expert).

    2. Ironically Setanta would have been better; you can get that for £10 a month with a compatible (i.e. slotted) Freeview box. ESPN would have been marginally cheaper because that would have involved buying one channel on Sky instead of between two and four, depending on clashes.

      If Bernie had worked out from the “hints” of his deals of the last few years failing due to high prices, he wouldn’t have tried charging the BBC so much in the first place. Neither would he have accepted this deal which will very likely cause worldwide F1 media prices to collapse in the latter half of the decade. Pay TV is quite clearly not the future of any international sport that wants either high audiences or a sustainable revenue stream. National-level sports can get away with it if and only if they have plentiful alternative streams of income such as local tickets affordable to the masses.

  140. There are quite a few comments about people wanting to withold their licence fee, or make a protest against the decision by not paying.

    I question how productive protesting about the BBC not being able to afford F1 by restricting their income even further would be.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely annoyed about this whole situation, but many people who complain about the licence fee seem to fall into the group of Little Englanders who object to anyone spending ‘their’ money on something that doesn’t directly interest them. The Licence Fee pays for radio as well, so if you want to listen to Five Live when you can’t watch a race then you have no justification for not paying (quite apart from the fact that half the races will still be live on BBC).

    1. If you don’t have any equipment to receive a TV signal you do not need a license. You only need a TV licence to receive ‘LIVE TV broadcast’.
      So No, you are wrong.

      1. That’s not strictly true. The Licence Fee also covers things like iPlayer. Anything that can receive a television broadcast basically.

        1. @AndrewTanner

          Sir, you are wrong. My original statement stands true “You only need a TV licence to receive ‘LIVE TV broadcast’.” So in fact you can view any recorded program on iPlayer without the need for a TV licence. However if you intend to watch the live feed on iPlayer you will need a licence.

          1. you need a TV licence if you have a device that is capable of receiving a TV or Radio signal…this includes a mobile phone,Ipad,PC,MAC,etc

    2. Radio hasn’t been covered by the UK TV licence since 1971 and neither are things like the iPlayer. Even though both are paid for by the TV licence. These workarounds do not function in many European countries, but they do in the UK so it shouldn’t be a surprise that many are at least proposing to use them.

      I’m not sure if the protests will work because they do not speak to the reason the BBC dropped the coverage.

  141. Probably the best article written on the subject so far, how the BBC thinks we’ll be able to avoid finding out the race result before watching the highlights in this crazy multi media age we live in is beyond me. Hence why those who can’t bring themselves to walk away completely will be looking for other illegal methods to see the races live. I wondered about finding a friend with Sky Sports to ask if I could use his Sky account to watch the races online, not sure how that works though or if thats feasible?

  142. In Poland – almost every cable channel company have Polsat tv in standard offer (so you can’t have a tv access without already paying for it) but if you’ve got tv antenna you can have it for free. No hd (have to pay for it about 40zl/month. 1zl=4euro and minimal salaries are 1200zl/month – officially) but it’s 100% accessible for free and without adverts in the middle of a race. That’s about races and qualies, if you want to see free practice and broader commentary, need to pay. The level of coverage is not as proffesional as one might want to, but they’ve got a lot to learn still.

  143. In Australia we receive the F1 telecast on Free to air in HD with the BBC commentary.

  144. I would actually be happy to pay for Sky, on the condition that I no longer had to pay for the BBC! I don’t even watch BBC tv any more, there’s nothing worth watching anyway except for the F1 coverage. I’m not paying for both.
    I think that we will look back on last year and think of it as the glory days. A tight championship, great coverage and record attendance at Silverstone. Watch all those slowly drip away as the sponsors stop supporting the smaller teams, who get less coverage in highlights shows, for the ever dwindling viewing figures. And fans losing the will to only watch half a season. So sad :-(

  145. I think you forgot another possibility. Just get satelite and watch the remaining races using a foreign broadcast. I don’t know about other countries but RTL is FTA so you can get that for free. Granted, is not ideal to watch F1 in German but with the help of this forum (and maye radio, sorry I don’t live in the UK) is a good option compared to those 610£

    1. Radio 5 Live will continue to do all races live, so yes, that is definitely an option.

  146. Toronto, Canada F1 coverage is free on TSN but they I believe purchase the feed from the BBC so I have not heard anything as of yet as to what will happen but I fear the worse.

  147. I live in Belgium and always watch F1 races on the BBC. It’s only regular and not HD because a subscription for all HD channels isn’t currently worth it.
    Sky is not available in Belgium (as far as I know) so for those 10 races I will have to watch on a local (commercial) but the commentary is absolutely terrible and every 20 minutes you get commercials stuffed down your throat.
    Very sorry to see this happening.

  148. Stuart Harrison
    4th August 2011, 13:47

    Your Sky fee is incorrect. Assuming Sky only broadcast on one Sky Sports channel (e.g. SS2), you can get away with paying £10.25 per month, a total of £123 per year or £12.30 per “exclusive to Sky” race (assuming a 10-10 split).

    That’s a far cry from your £61 per race!

    Regardless of the above I won’t be subscribing to Sky, but you might at least get your facts right!

    1. But as you say, you’re making an assumption. Based on the information we have at the moment, the figures I’ve given are correct.

      Accusing me of not getting the facts right when you’re the one leaping to conclusions is preposterous.

      1. Stuart Harrison
        4th August 2011, 16:19

        The reason I’m forced to make an assumption is that the facts aren’t available. As such, my “assumed” figure of £123 per year is no more or less valid than your figure of £610. Clearly we can’t both be right!

        Even if you took the Sports World subscription (SS1-4), you’re still only paying £240 per year, so it might helpful if you showed your working rather than just picking the most expensive package possible with Sky and using that as a headline – it’s precisely the sort of tactic I’d expect from the tabloid press.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing against what you’re saying, I just take exception with your assertion that it will cost people £61 per race next year. I think that figure is woefully inaccurate and doesn’t help the core debate.

        1. it might helpful if you showed your working

          I already have done, read the footnote in the article and refer to the earlier article and external link (something you have not supplied in your comments).

          1. Stuart Harrison
            4th August 2011, 22:05

            I had referred to the link and the previous article; that’s not showing the working, but here’s mine.

            After speaking with Sky, I’ve confirmed that new customers would have to take a Sky TV package (i.e. you can’t just get Sky Sports on its own – something I missed from my original calculation).

            The minimum TV package you can take costs £19.50 per month
            Sky Sports 1 or 2 costs £12.25 per month (£20.25 if you take both)
            If you optionally want HD, that’s another £10.25 per month.

            Hence the maximum you will pay is £50 per month for the full HD, full Sky Sport package, which works out at £600 per year (£60 per event if Sky have 10 exclusives).

            The minimum you’ll pay is £31.75 per month, £381 per year (£38.10 per event / 10 events).

            Existing Sky subscribers can have Sky Sports for £12.25 per month (and not have to take any TV packages), with or without HD; hence pay as little as £147 per year (£14.70 per event); or £270 per year to watch in HD.

            While the initial year might be expensive, future years are markedly less expensive.

            Can you clarify where your extra £10 comes from (i.e. the total of £610 per year)?

          2. £10 refers to the installation fee, which you have to pay as a first-time user. You don’t have to pay this if you already have a digital Sky installation. There now seems to be something about that £10 being offset against the first month’s bill. I don’t think that was there before, but it’s possible that installation is effectively free for both HD and SD.

            As a result, we’re now down to £47.70 or £60 per race for someone only going to Sky for the F1. It’s an improvement but not a big one.

            However, every year is the same price because that means the cost in month 1 (including the upfront fee) is the same as in every other month, unless Sky changes its prices. The basic packages and sports channel(s) still have to be paid for every month, even after the first year, which appear to be the only things billed now.

            Also note that at the minimum price Stuart Harrison quotes, one is taking a gamble that the race and other coverage will never be moved off Sky Sports 1 due to clashes. Whereas buying Sky Sports 1 and 2 together means you get 3 and 4 thrown in free, so you can guarantee actually getting all 10 events.

  149. What´s going to happen next year to British F1 Fans, happened to Portuguse Fans a few years ago, if we wont to watch F1 live we must pay something near 70£/month( at least).
    Last year i did that because i could watch live not only F1 but also motogp, indy races and nascar.
    This year i shutt down, it´s just to much, but i didn´t stop watching, there is something called internet that provides us the chance to still watch it.
    It hasn´t the quality of HD TV, but at least i still watch LIVE the sports that i like.
    That´s the route i´m expecting lots of British fans follow next year.

  150. Not sure if anyone has already mentioned this;
    sky sports play a whole lot of football at the weekend- surely more important to its business, so I imagine the matches will be on Sky sports 1 and 2, leaving F1 to be broadcast on 3 or 4, a more expensive package in total. Those hoping to watch the races on boxes with Sky sports 1 and 2 will be disappointed.

    1. If you’ve got 1 and 2, you should get 3 and 4 as well at no extra cost (something I didn’t initially realise).

  151. I live in Mexico and have watched almost every race since ’77. From 2005 onwards I’ve downloaded every race, from the Fox Sports, that Spanish Chanel, ITV and BBC feeds.

    What I do is I watch them online (lately vipstand.me works nicely) and then I download them on higher quality and to see what did I miss, because here most of the races are at 7am.

    The best show I’ve seen is for sure the current BBC setup, and I’m sad to see it gone one form or another. We don’t have advertisement, we have knowledgeable comentators, and so on… This is bad news for us, the fans, mostly for those of you that have to pay for this. For me that live overseas, things won’t change so much in regards of how we get our F1 dose: Either we watch the crappy Fox Sports live feed or we watch it live from whatever feed you UK guys are getting at the moment, or else skip those altogether and just download the race the day after.

    :( sad, so sad :(

  152. Spend £600 on SKY or go to a race, easy choice go to a race. Unfortunately I can’t afford either at the moment.

    Good bye to my record of only missing about 10 races in the last 20 years, it looks like I’ll miss that many next year alone. :-(

    Like when SKY took over the cricket and Rugby I’ll end up trying to follow it on the radio and internet… anything to get my fix.

    1. Yes, although going to Silverstone might mean they would have to stock up on the grandstands before being able to sell more tickets :-)

  153. Has anyone got a link to the official petition to get it debated in the House of Common?

    1. oops, was talking to the wife didn’t realise someone had posted above, Thanks

  154. Well after following F1 for over 30 years I’m about to call it a day. Loved the beeb coverage. No intention of stumping up for sky sports even tho I am a sky customer and no desire to watch half the season. So that’s one less customer Bernie, you massive pillock….

  155. I follow F1 from Malta, it is broadcast live by RAI in Italy where they also broadcast live GP2 races. It’s all free at the moment but as one broadcaster sees the other gaining more money than him they will soon follow suite. I just hope that they won’t do like the british, too expensive to watch football and now too expensive to watch F1…………………..sadness

  156. comcast plays games with the numbers, so an exact price isn’t discernible. based on my bill, i pay $80/month to obtain speed in standard definition – speed hd isn’t available to me, despite having the largest cable company in the most developed area of the country. i believe it would cost an additional $20/month to obtain speed hd if it becomes available. i don’t care about the other shows or entire channels that includes since if you want f1 coming out of your tv, at least $80/month is coming out of your wallet.

    $80 * 12 months = $960
    2011: $960 / 16 races live on speed = $60/race
    2012 (best case scenario): $960 / 20 live races = $48 per race

    for that $60/race, i get minimal coverage in quantity and quality, and i’m absolutely blistered with ads.

  157. My television provider in the U.S. is DirecTV (satellite) which I pay ~$70 a month for the middle package so I can get the HD SPEED channel that broadcasts, almost, all the F1 races live.
    The “almost” is in there because SPEED is owned by FOX (yeah, that scrote Murdoch) and FOX demands to show four of the F1 races on its own 2nd rate channel. This totally sucks because the FOX coverage is delayed. It also doesn’t include any post race activity except one edited brief comment from the winner and then, because FOX only allocates two hours to F1, it’s off to the next hour of Murdoch’s usual programming sewage.
    I apologize for my bitching like that about such trivialities, because you folks are getting royally hosed to watch the sport.

  158. I am from the USA and have a different view point. Before i say anything I would not pay $1,000 dollars for a few races like what has been announced, but on the other hand, you people in the UK have without a doubt the best F1 coverage on the planet.
    If any of you UK people were to come to the states and watch a speedtv feed of the race you would change your minds about paying the new price. I can guarantee watching a speedtv F1 feed would be the worst F1 experience of your life.
    Be grateful of the excellent coverage and intelligent announcers who bring the bbc coverage to you each race. And for those not into paying, the internet is made for these situations.

  159. Just for comparison, here in the Philippines I pay around 10 pound a month for my cable subscription which gives me StarSports where the F1 is broadcast. It is NOT in HD and there is around 8 ad breaks during the course of the live action.

    So, approx, 6quid a race…

  160. I believe it is also compulsory to have a sky box hooked up to a telephone landline which is another £12 to £14 standing charge per month to add on the cost of F1 on Sky

    That’s another £15ish per race, taking it up to £76 per race in total!!

  161. This is ridiculous. I can’t imagine how country like the UK, with such motor sport tradition, so many drivers currently starting in F1, one of the best GPs in calendar will loose FREE TV coverage?!

    In Poland it’s all free, even though without Robert number of viewers has decreased 4 times!

  162. In India, the Star Sports commentary and overall race programming may be far from satisfactory (a massive understatement) but at least I get to watch it for free once I’ve purchased a cable connection or a satellite DTH connection.

    In fact I get to watch F1, most NASCAR races, Moto GP, most World Superbike races, some V8 Supercar races and Superleague Formula live for free without having to pay for specific events, but only the ESPN Star channel package on the Airtel DTH service or the Asianet cable package.

  163. There are a lot of places in the internet where races could be viewed for free, find it and inform all your friends and F1 fans. Perhaps they will stop this ridiculous idea that we also have in Portugal. UK is now copying developed countries.

  164. I emailed FOTA to urge them to block this move – I got no response. The teams can sniff a bit more money, they couldn’t care less about the fans. It’s horribly short-sighted, F1’s popularity will be reduced in the longer term because of this deal.

  165. how many millions more pocket money will this earn bernie he should be ashamed

  166. The funniest thing i read was the very people who can’t afford sky should arrange a boycott of the companys that sponsor F1. Next time you are at Silverstone buy a programme if you can afford any of the products in there sky is’nt a problem.

  167. In Canada we can watch all races on TSN, which we have to subscribe to, but we get it with a package of other channels on satelite. Its not that expensive depending on your provider.
    The only problem is that we don’t get ANY pre-race or post race coverage, and that is something I would really enjoy.

  168. Just went through all these comments. The suprising thing is, there is about 10-15 comments that think its perfectly OK. And the 4-5 from PM telling us how his experience of Australian TV coverage sucks.

    1. Let me add, that where I live in the Czech Republic we get some 20 or more stations as “free to air” (you have a TV fee of about 66 EUR/year and must have either a digital TV set or set top box as all signals are digital only now, to save the broadcasters cost).

      F1 is shown on commercial station TV Nova, who are generally considered to do a fine job, there are even people who really love it. They normally show Qualli and the race and have about an hour pre/after race coverage, but count on the ad brakes to miss the best parts :-(.
      I must say, that from being used to better coverage, I find it hard to enjoy it on Nova.
      As I stopped watching TV here a couple of years ago, we watch a lot through the internet, but many sports are not available live that way, so I use streaming a lot.

  169. Chris Yu Rhee
    9th August 2011, 10:49

    So THIS is why Star Sports/Sky abruptly cut their broadcast in Korea…

  170. CAD $50.00 per race, in Vancouver. BC. The majority at 5am local time, with the few exceptions Montreal, Brazil, etc. and the Asian races in the evening, early morning.

  171. I had no idea pay-per-view was so expensive in the UK. I’m from Bucharest, Romania and over here F1 is broadcast on a cable channel which my provider doesn’t..well..provide. Luckily though, that particular channel airs online (totally legal and not breaking any copyright laws, of course..cough cough) so that’s how i watch the races. But afterwards i always download (again, totally legal and not breaking any copyright laws) the BBC coverage of the race because it’s brilliant! Sad to think that i’ll only get half the dose of Eddie Jordan and DC next year.

  172. the sky hd package is £10 on top of your normal fee. I have the hd package anyway so having F1 on sky there has been no price change for me…..I dont think we should be moaning about the price it will be to watch it on sky ,i think we should be moaning about the price of a normal tv licence… Lets have it right there is nothing on normal tv these days…

    1. on top of your normal fee

      If you’re already a Sky subscriber, which most people aren’t.

      The costs of subscribing are broken down here. For non-subscribers you’ll now have to shell out £363 for the ten races not live on the BBC. A lot of people are going to find that hard to swallow:

      Sky explain cheapest deal for F1 channel in 2012

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