UK to lose live free-to-air F1 coverage in 2019 with new Sky deal

2016 F1 season

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Live free-to-air coverage of Formula One in the UK will almost completely end in 2019 as Sky has announced a new deal to broadcast the sport exclusively.

The British Grand Prix will continue to be shown live on a free-to-air channel, a Sky spokesperson told F1 Fanatic, along with highlights of the races and qualifying sessions from the other rounds.

Sky, which first broadcast F1 in 2012, has signed a new deal running up to 2024.

The news signals Channel 4’s three-year deal as broadcaster, announced at the end of last year, will not be extended.

Sky will also begin broadcasting F1 in Ultra High Definition from next year.

Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone said: “I am delighted that we will continue to work together. Sky’s commitment to the sport and standard of coverage is second to none.”

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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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232 comments on “UK to lose live free-to-air F1 coverage in 2019 with new Sky deal”

  1. F1 seems DETERMINED to fail.

    1. Personally, I think that the sport failing is the only way to rescue it from Bernie, CVC, the FIA and the Strategy Group. They seem determined to destroy it.

      1. I’ve been saying since 2012. We all need to stop watching, it needs to fail so it can be revived properly. If everyone keeps going to races & watching races on TV, the money is coming in & they don’t think there is a problem.

        I’ve stopped watching & haven’t been to a race in 2 years.

        1. That is REALLY hard to do for myself and I guess others.

        2. The problem is that we love the racing, technology, personalities etc.

          The aspects that are wrong make the fun parts less fun, but for most of us the passion for motor racing overrules all

          1. Yeah, I dont know how I could just not watch, qualifying was a farce on Saturday, but I still got up at 4:45 am to watch the race on Sunday. Its the speed and the passion I could never give up on.

        3. Amen. I’ve watched perhaps the first few races of the last two years, and this year it’s unlikely it’ll sustain my interest beyond the second race. This from a hardcore fan of 25 years.

          1. I don’t see sky getting exclusive rights as anything to do with the races. The racing and f1 as a sport are as good as ever and somehow I will continue to watch but that doesn’t stop this from being a stupid decision.

            Short term this will make more money but long term viewing numbers will continue to drop and with them the sponsors will leave. It’s the casual viewers and new fans that will be lost, this isn’t a problem exclusive to F1, it’s more the changes in viewing habits but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to accept.

          2. there seem to be many long term fans in the same position and i think a huge part of it is the lack of live coverage. i find it really hard to get the same enthusiasm watching the highlights. i will try and stream as much as possible from dodgy websites, but that’s also very unsatisfying (poor quality, terrible adverts ruining it, etc, etc.) – it’s about the worst possible move in terms of disengaging fans.

            the same decision completely failed cricket and it will fail F1.

        4. Many people have tried the “stop watching” garbage. It seems to encourage the fools to do even more foolish things :(

        5. If people are going to the races and watching on TV then it is not failing. It’s just you don’t like it.

          This might actually really kill the audience though as there will be fans who simply cannot afford to watch on Sky so they currently watch half the races now they will watch 1. Exposure will go down and this may have an effect.

          1. Football stadiums are empty of local fans simply because of ticket prices yet footballers are bought for millions of pounds. As long as sky can pay enough for that the money cycle will continue, fingers up to viewers. They don’t matter as long as the £££ are coming.

        6. Whether you watch or not it makes no difference unless you have one of those boxes that track your viewing habits.

          1. … which is basically every digital tv box nowadays

      2. Well said sir, it’s about time these people think about the sport that made them, can also break them, greedy “little twerps” selfish, self effacing, ego mongers.

        I do not care if the current format survives of not,I’ll never watch it again and as for going to a race! we’ll be living on the moon first.
        Pay to view, no!

      3. My husband also calls BE the Poison Dwarf. If anyone gets the chance please let him know that this household will NEVER pay for Sky or another service like it – who wants to pay to watch more adverts? My friend took out a package when he retired so he could watch first class cricket but cancelled within a year as he couldn’t stand it any more. So that will be the end of F1 on telly for us after 40+ years, shame as it is a very good way to have a snooze on Sunday afternoons.

    2. Richard Harrison
      26th March 2016, 8:16

      At least we won’t see it fail 😂

    3. Daniel Ring
      24th July 2016, 14:42

      The commentry by ch4 is pathetic, it’s totally biased in favour of Hamilton..there is more camera coverage of the also rans than of the leaders..the amounts of time that we don’t see anything of them can be over 10minutes.

      1. Daniel Ring
        24th July 2016, 15:24

        As I said the coverage by ch4 is very poor. At the end of the Hungarian GP Susie Wolff was asked why Rosberg was so accepting of finishing third after being in pole & her answers as always are non controversial & clichéd…’he knew he had done his best’ bla bla bla’. Rosberg was obviously told not to try to pass Hamilton on the right circuit, remember he passed Ricciardo on the first lap. At no stage in the race did he attempt to put the frighteners on Hamilton. It’s not just her, Coulthard is the same with his biased commentary as far as Hamilton is concerned. Eddie Jordan is the most genuine but we hardly see him.

  2. So short sighted of Bernie and the big wigs. A stupid, stupid move.

    1. It is not short sighted. If people open their wallets and pay then they will continue to put things behind paywalls. They don’t care if nobody watches, just so long as the die-hards are prepared to pay ever increasing fees. So all those who subscribe, you brought it on yourselves.

    2. No no, it’s not stupid! It’s perversion at its peak. F1 cars are fast moving adverts if you look at it from marketing perspective. The logic behind pay TV is that I have to pay someone to put advert on my TV set for couple of hours. Utterly sick!

    3. It’s Bernie having an incentive to scuttle F1 and remake it in his own image (with FIA supervision) :( Not the first time he’s done strange things to remove a buyer from F1’s remit, or even the third, but it is the most blatant.

    4. Unfortunately that is a good move for him but not for the fans. This is set guaranteed income as opposed to somoe what discrepant and hard to predict year on year income which relies on viewing figures, if not for such deals. Deals like this are good for business but terrible for fans. I refuse point blank to support Sky and have in fact since they “stole” F1 from me I stopped my TV subscription, and watch Freeview, and closed my NowTV account. I know that is nothing to them but a point I have still very much so happy to continue to make.
      I am watching ALL races using alternative methods. Simple.

      1. machinesteve
        27th March 2016, 11:57

        The GPDA drivers discontented statement does not make a mention on Sky F1 news…it went up for a short while then mysteriously disappeared…..welcome to the future.

  3. Fitting that the article right below this discusses F1’s obsolete governance model.

    1. The irony almost makes me cry.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        23rd March 2016, 21:15

        This must the ‘clear master plan’ the drivers are looking for in these times of ‘decisive shift in the TV and media landscape’.

    2. Good timing… But paywall is well established…

      This is what pays the teams and alienates the fans…

      1. No, CVC pockets all the money from this deal.

        The teams will loose out fewer people will watch so it makes it far less attractive to sponsers, less money for the teams.

        This will lead to more pay drivers.

        The fans end up paying more for a lower quality product

  4. Woah! Now that’s a good solution to F1’s problems! If no one can watch the races, no one will complain!


    1. @fer-no65

      Haha, superb, that made me laugh!

    2. Very good! Although I’m doing that thing when you laugh and it turns into quiet sobbing…

  5. While I have Sky and enjoy it, this is a poor decision. F1 gone from having millions of people watching on ITV and BBC, to barely a million on Sky.

    Cricket has had a simliar effect, ALL live Cricket is on Sky, I told a friend about Joe Root and he didn’t know who I was talking about.

    I can F1 going a similar way.

    1. sums it up perfectly, yes.

    2. Remember the 2005 Ashes, when cricket was on 4 and everyone was talking about it? F1 live on the BBC was getting popular like that around 2010, I remember people enthusing about the Canadian GP who I thought would never watch it in a million years. Not much chance of that any more.

      Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. Who knows what state the rules of WWF1 will be in by 2019.

    3. So, no longer coverage from Fox?

      1. UK != USA

  6. This isn’t about failing – this is about a mature market being increasingly monetised. The people running F1 measure success by profitability, and the mature spectator markets are becoming increasingly monetised. Once that’s complete then they’ll look to grow that base rather than viewers who don’t pay directly.

    Then the other push is to enter F1 into brand new markets (hence all the tracks in new locations) with a view, over time, to monetising these too.

    F1’s owners are perfectly happy with fewer viewers provided more of them are paying for the privilege.

    1. It is a complete failure to see the big picture. The sport is funded by the viewing audience, either through TV subscriptions or through advertising and sponsorship revenue. The advertising revenue is what provides the teams with an independent revenue stream through their sponsorship agreements. If the audience is reduced, then the sponsorship revenue falls. The TV money goes to the commercial rights holder, so a deal with Sky benefits the CRH at the expense of the teams. Sky can generate more TV money than the free to air channels, so they take over the coverage. The teams suffer and the global popularity of the sport declines. Revenue for the CRH today at the expense of the future popularity and revenue streams of the sport. I’ll go watch something else.

    2. It doesn’t work like this. While they monetize the sport through PPV, they’re not going to be attracting any new viewers into the sport. But worse than that, they lose the majority of casual viewers. I used to watch all the races on TV, it was the highlight of my sunday. Now I barely bother to check the sports news to see who won. I never thought I’d simply not care, but F1 has just ceased to be an important sport in the last 5 years, almost entirely because of the level of coverage declining.

      Most of the new GPs are not bringing in new fans, they struggle to fill the venues; it’s just a vanity project for dictators. Meanwhile they’ve lost the french GP, a German one, maybe Italy and possibly even the UK.

      It’s not going to be easy or cheap to rebuild the damage done by just a few years of pay TV. I have a feeling the big teams that rely on advertising and exposure are concerned by the number of viewers, even if F1 banking the money are not. That could lead to a breakaway. If not, I expect something else to take the opportunity to come in and take over the free to air gap left by F1 – maybe touring cars, Indycar or Formula E. Huge opportunity now F1 is busy selling itself into obscurity.

      1. I couldn’t agree more with you Paulo. The only reason I got into F1 was because I could watch it every other Sunday on ITV, a channel everyone has. As a 4 year old that was the highlight of my weekend, I watched Cricket on 4 and ITV F1, and I am an avid fan of both. Like I said before there’s a generation of young people missing out on Cricket and not knowing anything about it, and the same will happen to F1.

      2. machinesteve
        23rd March 2016, 21:47

        This isn’t how you moneterise in today’s world – Bernie has a 1970s/80s model of economics. F1 needs to be free to view with revenue coming from advertising, merchandising and social media advertising. The races need to be the platform upon which the ‘apps’ operate. The pay to view theatre model is dead – there are other forms of racing that is free. F1 is now essentially dead just watch the smart teams begin to shift away…..of course the comspiracy theory may be that bernie wants to kill F1 and bring in a new premier brand GP1? which he can fully own and control again… he is going to live forever.

        1. Alternatively, a dual-layer free/pay model – where all races are available live on both free and pay platforms, but live practise (and possibly live qualifying) and enhancements like ultra-HD (that Sky is about to start trialling) are only available to the pay platform. Apps and other add-ons would be extra revenue streams for enthusiasts of both platforms (with a free, no-frills but functional live timing system to support online viewers who can’t run video of any sort – for people on very low incomes with low data reception capacity, that’s probably the best entry point in the 21st century). Free, low-quality mini-highlights shows (preferably with some sort of fair-use reuse permission) would be complemented by pay video of full races from as complete an archive as F1 can make available, and pay live streaming of events that might not otherwise be posted by the pay platforms (e.g. testing, and the FIA Gala).

          That “pay platform” could be via satellite/cable, online or a mixture of both (employing geolocking, for example), depending on what is available in different countries. That way, there’s a good solid introduction and a good place to make profits, all in one.

  7. David Hunter
    23rd March 2016, 18:04

    Urgh. So if I want to watch F1 on Now TV, for my only option I’m looking at about 20 races at something like £7 a race, £10 for a week pass should I want to follow practice/quali. So anything from £140 to £200 to follow this sport. Do they want fans? I know it’s a middle class sport but c’mon, you can’t just exclude a whole host of people by pricing them out of it. And hey if it was compelling viewing I’d probably pay that, it’s still much cheaper than actually getting Sky properly and paying for access to Sky F1. But shelling out £20-£30 a month during the season is not an enticing prospect when the sport is getting worse and worse, more artificial and convoluted, and taking place on so many dull tracks.p with too many ruinous rules.


  8. Is there ever *any* good news about F1 these days? Part of me feels like I might as well stop watching now, rather than wait until 2019.

    1. There was a pretty good race, and a successful test of F1’s car designs, on Sunday. It seems that some of F1’s powers-that-be would prefer us not to think of F1 as good in any way.

  9. I honestly hope that Sky goes bankrupt. They clearly only care about the money with their poor coverage. Whoever made this decision needs a punishment of some sort.

    1. This isn’t Sky’s fault, F1 put out a tender and Sky won. The problem goes back to F1 and those that administer the TV rights.
      Most F1 teams rely on corporate sponsorship to remain financially viable, but going down this path makes corporates less likely to want to sponsor an F1 team because they will equate less TV coverage with less brand recognition.
      By 2019 the price of watching F1 via the internet will have dropped, so it could be the cost of watching that way won’t be very high, nevertheless, corporations may not be convinced this is a good substitute for broadcasting via Free to Air TV.

      1. Brian Dayson
        24th March 2016, 13:13

        Sorry but it is Sky’s fault, Murdoch’s greed is infecting not just sport but every aspect of our lives. F1 is just a product to them, they really don’t care. And if any other motorsport gets popular enough, we’ll lose that as well – we’ve lost Moto GP and Supercross in the last couple of years, how long before we lose touring cars as well? This kind of thing can only be stopped by protective legislation, but you’ll never get that from a Tory government.

    2. Given the amount of dithering I’ve seen about other things this past week, I’ll believe Sky will have anything to screen when it happens.

  10. I’m a big f1 fan … Right now … But I’m pretty much done with it and I won’t spend extra money for cable TV programming to watch it. For anyone wanting to watch some real racing you can watch the whole blancpain series on YouTube, in HD for FREE and there are more passes and close racing in one lap than a whole weekend of F1.

    Count me as converted.

    1. While I would not count myself as converted yet, I will be going to the Silverstone round. It feels strange to have a year where I watch 3 series live and F1, which started it all for me and had my almost exclusive attention for 16 years, isn’t one of them. I hope it is possible to save F1, that someone can stop what appears to be the plan of certain powers-that-be. At this moment, I don’t know where to look for that hero…

  11. I really don’t get the complaining. In my country F1 has been behind the pay-wall for nearly a decade. And that includes ALL races, qualis and practice sessions. Nothing but the highlights are showed on free-to-air channels. And that’s how the business model works.

    I’m thankful for the change, since after moving behind the pay-wall the quality and quantity of F1 broadcasts have increased. When F1 was free-to-air there were ad breaks all over the place during GPs. I rather pay yearly fee than return back to free-to-air with ads and shorter pre-race shows.

    And to those who don’t want to pay: streaming isn’t going anywhere. I’m sure you can find free streams of live races in 2019 just like today.

    1. The quality on Sky is dreadful. Most of the Sky F1 team is terrible. Terrible commentary, terrible hosts and terrible pre-race coverage. And despite you having to pay for Sky, you still get ad breaks, everywhere except for the race!

      1. @ultimateuzair I disagree, I love the sky coverage & would go as far as saying that overall its the best F1 coverage i’ve ever had access to.

        1. Nobody’s ever said that before, and rightly so. Sky F1 is basically the Lewis Hamilton show. Packed full of cringeworthy interviews from the awful Natalie Pinkham, extremely boring and stupid talk from the dull Simon Lazenby, and pathetic commentary from David Croft. To top it all off, Johnny Herbert is irritating and Damon Hill doesn’t really make much of a contribution. The only decent person on Sky is Ted Kravitz. Even Martin Brundle has lost his touch. I actually hope that F1 as a sport will fail, so that things will change and things will be how they were supposed to be before. I also hope that Sky as a company will collapse economically so that they don’t go stealing all the sports and ruining them!

          1. Michael Self
            23rd March 2016, 19:24

            As an American who usually waits and downloads the SKY coverage… try watching a race on NBC Sports Network sometime to see what terrible coverage is. Its on pay TV AND (AND!!!!!!) we have to deal with 20 minutes of commercials per hour.

          2. @ultimateuzair

            Yes, british coverage was better than it is now. That said, you´ll still hardly be able to find coverage in any other language that comes close to it. I´ve tried all different german-language coverages, only ORF has comparable quality in commentary, but there´s hardly any pre-race or post-race show at all, all the others are far off. Italian RAI is an experience of its own, completely different mentality of what a good coverage is, and very much (expectably) a Ferrari-show. I don´t know how the Dutch coverage is now with pay-tv Ziggo-TV, but when it was free it was hardly better than german RTL (and me having a difficult time understanding the dutch language didn´t help, either).

            So what I want to say: on a global comparison, complaining about the quality of Sky-UK coverage seems very much like a luxury-problem. I still believe putting F1 behind a pay-wall is a wrong move (even in their own long-term economic profit), but the quality could still be much worse. Very much worse.

          3. I highly doubt it will fail in the short term, so keep typing away.

            At the same time, I think it focuses on British drivers because, guess what, its audience is primarily British viewers!

            Perhaps if you look around other networks you’ll see that (as someone who has already responded mentioned) that Italian F1 coverage is the Ferrari show, here in Australia, the #3 Red Bull driver is henceforth known as “Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo”. They brought it James Allen and Mark Webber for the Aus GP, but that was a one off. I’ll take Brundle, and I’ll put up with the other bloke.

          4. @RL This was the genius of the BBC coverage. As a public-service broadcaster with a general remit to be as politically neutral in its coverage as much as feasible, you generally got as much of the ‘whole’ picture as possible.

            Sky is just a constructed narrative-vehicle, like ITV was before it.

          5. Sky and F1 from 1 crusty old soon to be dead billionaire to another. It may get worse in a few years when Murdoch and Bernie are thankfully dead it will be Jerry Hall and Bernies daughter doing the deals.

        2. Paul Ortenburg
          23rd March 2016, 20:55

          I agree, In Australia we have the terrible Channel 10 coverage with ad breaks all over the place and nothing really shown outside the race. Same when it used to be on Channel 9. This was even before paytv was around.

          Now at least we have the choice for Foxtel (paytv) which takes the full Sky coverage without ad breaks during the main race (except strangely the Australian grand prix which has to show the channel 10 ads).

          Yes Sky is a bit Lewis focused(or any other British driver), a lot like this website. But even a British focused coverage (tv or website) is better than the alternative of just generally poor coverage.

          1. @Paul Ortenburg – We got ads during the Australian GP on Foxtel because Channel 10 is the host broadcaster and on the governments Anti-Siphoning List. I believe most home GP’s are shown on their respective FTA channel.

            I rather watch F1 with no ads and British bias than “watching ads with F1 breaks” that what we get on FTA (Channel 10 down here)…

            I can still remember a friend of mine who is a huge F1 fan came over to my place and watched the F1 (I believe it was the Belgian Grand Prix ) and he couldn’t believe all the coverage we were missing out on (all the pre-race, grid walk and post race)

            The only think I don’t understand is why Sky doesn’t show the Post race press conference with the three drivers (the one in the press room not on the podium)

        3. Neil (@neilosjames)
          23rd March 2016, 21:08

          @PeterG… agreed, I love Sky’s coverage.

      2. Sorry, but I cannot agree with your summation of the quality. I find it to be excellent.

      3. I enjoy the Sky coverage alot, the only time is when Crofty is on an off-day his commentating is painful to watch!

        1. David Croft sounds like a commentator from League Of Legends games on Twitch Tv. Don’t like to be harsh but he has the voice of a hyperactive 16 yr old lad. His shouting into the microphone is unbearable.

      4. I agree with Uzair Syed. If it was being produced by Whisper Films I might consider watching it beyond 2018. But I just can’t stand “Crofty” on Sky and his whole “Smashy and Nicey” approach, and I haven’t really warmed to the rest of the team. It’s possible I might continue watching but it won’t be with enthusiasm or enjoyment. It will be like a horrible addiction where you really hate yourself.

        1. @f1antics

          Haha! My sentiments exactly!

          I know that commentators always split opinions. One man’s Beef and Gravy is another’s Mars Bar. So, I realize that my next comments could very well be my own neuroses, but, after so many years of having to listen to his constant stream of what sometimes seem to be entirely random sentences, as his co commentators words just bounce in to nothingness, rebounding off his ego, but… BUT… Hearing him refer to himself as “Crofty” just instantly gets me worked up. I want to bend his fingers back, or commit some other entirely harmless act of childish banter. Mini-pinch?.. Dead Leg?.. What ever it takes, really… Just make it stop…

          Hill and Herbert… I grew up watching these guys battle it out with their contemporaries. I think Hill is a legend. I really liked them both, honestly. I had pictures on my wall of them, as well as other drivers. They were great! I have nothing but respect for their respective achievements. They seem like really nice people too. So much so that it pains me to critique them, but they just don’t engage my brain. With all due respect and admiration, they made far better drivers than TV personalities.

          At the very least, David Croft has to go. He’s always been like a 9 year old kid after a pint of [insert sugary pop brand here].

      5. Have you ever tried watching American coverage? Ads everywhere but the race is how it should be. American racing coverage has always had ads interrupting races. There’s good reason that I switched to torrenting British coverage after 2009 when I first started following F1. I always grab Sky because theirs is the best I’ve seen of English speaking broadcasts.

        Honestly I wish American television was as into racing as the British are. You can catch a few major races on free to air tv, but if you’re not into NASCAR, good luck catching anything but a smattering of Indy car races. Otherwise you’re paying gobs of money for higher end cable tv packages and only getting to see the races themselves. The fact that sky covers quali AND practice is unheard of over here for any racing series other than NASCAR. Once I got an invite to a private torrent hosting site aimed specifically at racing, I was finally free of the need for cable. And truth be told, that’s the only way to follow certain non-American series because there just isn’t coverage even on high end cable.

        So when people say “there’s ads everywhere but the race and we have to pay for it” I laugh because my whole life it’s been worse than that. Do I agree with them moving to paywall TV? No. But man I’ve seen much, much worse. Be glad they aren’t interrupting the actual race…


        1. private torrent hosting site aimed specifically at racing

          Don’t suppose you have a spare invite?

        2. I watched the St. Pete Indycar race (i think it was ABC/NBC coverage?)
          Horrible – ad breaks LITERALLY every 3-5 laps

        3. Here in the USA it’s NBC Sports (NBCSN), a cable venue which is atrocious. They treat F1 like NASCAR or golf or (even worse) American football. There hasn’t been any air broadcast for a long time.

          Personally I’d happily pay for livestream SkySports (or even the raw world feed), as I do for WEC and WRC, both of which are doing a reasonable job. The price is about $50 USD per season, which I’m happy to pay. IMSA (US sports car racing) does a partial livestream for free, but NBCSN seems to have sucked up important race segments which I recall have been free in the past, for example the start and finish hours of the Sebring 12 Hour last week.

          There’s a lot more to say on this topic, but suffice it to say that if CVC/FOM wants to make it increasingly costly and difficult to watch the series (let alone attend an event), well there are other racing series which remain accessible and interesting, even for us Americans. WEC, WRC, Blancpain, IMSA… all are offering better viewing venues.

      6. Sky is awesome, we have free to air here, yet I stream sky to get good commentators.

      7. The Sky coverage is fantastic, as other Australians have commented compared to the previous free-to-air broadcasts it doesn’t even compare. If i didn’t have to pay for Foxtel I wouldn’t but when I watch the next practice, qualifying, race coverage I’m reminded of why I do.

        Having said that I will always be ‘hoping’ that F1 does offer a direct premium streaming service so I can at least cut down on the overall cost of accessing premium F1 coverage. One can dream

        1. I wish they would too, but livestream would have a (perceived) serious impact on the narrow and short-term revenue objectives of CVC/Delta Topco, not to mention local race promoters. As Luca Montezemolo says in this month’s Motor Sport, CVC doesn’t “…know anything about F1. Their approach is just that of speculation, to make money.” At the moment it’s in their short-term financial interest to suck as much money as possible out of the current country-broadcast/dictatorship racetrack/publicly-funded model as possible. However it does make the entire FOM/CVC enterprise almost unsaleable. Claims that FOM is worth “$5 billion USD” are preposterous. More likely is that when livestream becomes inevitable, they’ll dump FOM on an unwitting public stock market.

    2. People are complaining because we had good coverage up to 2011 and we have a TV license fee to pay of about £12 a month to start with before adding any subscription package on top of that. If there was a £5 a month netflix type gig I’d be tempted to just suck it up and pay, but a full Sky sports package full of things I’ve no interest in watching? They can go to hell.

      I love F1, but not enough to pay the cost of the package you need to watch it.

      So we’re complaining because the price to legitimately watch it isn’t comparable to the quality of the product. And we’re concerned because the UK will now see a decline in it’s fan base as exposure is reduced, which means the sport we love is ultimately dying and for no good reason other than the people in charge being absolute dinosaurs failing to keep up with modern media distribution practises.

      1. RaceProUK (@)
        23rd March 2016, 19:09

        What makes it even more absurd is eight of the current F1 teams are based in the UK

        1. So true. So so many people invested in F1 in the UK. The Government need to step in like they do with Wimbledon, FA cup final and other important national sporting fixtures ensuring they remain on free to air TV.

        2. @raceprouk And with the UK fanbase gone, so will the drive from the next generation of mechanics and engineers to be a part of the sport. The teams will simply run out of new talent as people refuse to care about the sport.

          More and more sponsors will drop off the cars, meaning the teams are more reliant on TV money that simply isn’t growing. As F1 Broadcasting Blog said, this early long-term sweeping and likely expensive grab by Sky was to keep BT Sport at arms length, not draw in new people as ‘the only home of F1 in the UK’.

    3. How can you not comprehend that people who didn’t have to pay to watch half the races live previously would be annoyed that it is no longer an option. Really?

    4. Apex Asassin
      24th March 2016, 0:20

      you are confusing free-to-air and free tv channels.

      free-to-air means the local national broadcaster, say NBC for example, doesn’t pay FOM for the right to rebroadcast their live feeds (no other feeds or broadcasters are allowed so everyone, everywhere watches the same audio/video. Commentary is not included.). NBC shows all but 3 races on NBCSN or MSNBC channels which are not on “Free-tv”. The only way to get those channels is to pay for them. And as stated in a soon to be moderated other post, NBC (which is Comcast btw) then has the audacity to show ads during Quali and the Race! Grievous!

      Other places/nations are truly free-to-air where the country/broadcaster doesn’t pay the FOM and the viewer doesn’t pay the [re]broadcaster. This is most common in nations where there is an emerging economy that is likely to spend a large amount on F1 related products, like automoblies and pricey hats. See China.

      1. RaceProUK (@)
        24th March 2016, 12:58

        free-to-air means the local national broadcaster, say NBC for example, doesn’t pay FOM for the right to rebroadcast their live feeds

        What utter rubbish; it’s clear you have no idea how this works at all. It doesn’t matter who the broadcaster is; they all pay for the rights.

    5. Most people don’t start watching new series through illegal streams, since these usually require effort to find (Contrast officially-sanctioned free highlights/races posted to video sites or otherwise made freely available online, which have some success, especially for series that wouldn’t be able to get coverage through mainstream TV channels). Also, lots of people don’t yet have good enough broadband to watch the illegal streams, or fear the risk of losing their internet connection (which is possible for those caught repeatedly viewing illegal streams of anything, at least in theory, in the UK), or are just plain accustomed to obeying the law and/or respecting intellectual property rights. For many reasons, moving something that was free behind a paywall is a problem.

      Many countries have indeed faced this problem for a long time. Some of them have also seen improvements in the resulting product. I accept this, just as I accept some people enjoy Sky Britain’s version of F1 more than BBC and/or Channel 4*. It does not avoid the fact that F1, by going completely behind the paywall in one of its biggest markets, is throwing away about £40 m for no obvious gain. The previous change could at least be said to increase profits, but I don’t see why Sky would come close to increasing its offer by £40 m considering that it has no clear route to breaking even with the current arrangement. (Sky may have reasons to use F1 as a loss-leader, which is why I do not blame Sky for doing this. I don’t understand what those reasons might be, but in the face of Bernie’s inexcusable behaviour I’m willing to focus my ire on him and give Sky the benefit of the doubt from a business perspective).

      * – I got to see qualifying and the race on Sky last weekend as my parents got given Sky Sports free for 3 months. I found it pretty terrible, though it didn’t exactly have great source material to work with, so I’m not ready to deem that a fair comparison with the BBC coverage I enjoyed in previous years. I plan to watch Channel 4’s version of the race later today, so obviously cannot compare it to either Sky or BBC yet ;)

  12. We may as well rename F1 to A1GP, as it will have just as many UK viewers.

    1. Apex Asassin
      24th March 2016, 0:23

      F1 won’t even notice.

  13. It was inevitable, The day the BBC sold out to Sky this was always coming.

    1. RaceProUK (@)
      23rd March 2016, 19:08

      The BBC didn’t sell out to Sky; Sky simply offered FOM a better deal (for them)

      1. Not so. The BBC initially sold on it’s own contract. Now, Sky has a contract all of it’s own…

      2. Yeah the bbc did sell out to sky. The bbc had a long term contract but had overpaid to get it from sky and done a deal with sky to help bail them out

        1. RaceProUK (@)
          24th March 2016, 0:14

          A deal that wouldn’t have been necessary if the BBC’s funding wasn’t being squeezed into nothing. It’s hardly selling out if the alternatives are either bankruptcy or dropping F1 completely.

          1. They could have dropped Wimbledon and other minority sports they show, people in the UK only watch tennis for Wimbledon and F1 audience would be larger over a season than Wimbledon. They could have dropped Eastenders (too much to hope for). Paying millions in wages for some 2 bit talk show hosts…..

          2. RaceProUK (@)
            24th March 2016, 19:09

            The cost of covering Wimbledon is far lower than covering F1; it’s one location, once a year, in the city where BBC HQ is located. And EastEnders isn’t that costly to produce either; cancelling them wouldn’t have saved enough to fund the F1 coverage.

          3. @raceprouk

            At the time, the budget wasn’t being overly slashed, but this was a cut back they chose to make.

            Amongst mutterings of a snub of a credible rival bid from C4 (in an attempt to not see viewers shifting their attention to another free to view channel), the matter was even discussed in parliament.

            Many argued that the substantial viewing figures that the Beeb had built up more than made up for the outlay of budget for the coverage. But, alas, here we are…

            Any idea of a world stream being available in the UK has probably gone up in smoke too. Sky doesn’t do competition…

          4. @markp The BBC wasn’t being allowed time to adjust to the drop in income that hit it; it was an “effective immediately” thing, which pretty much forced it to drop anything it was able to renegotiate. F1 was easier to renegotiate than Wimbledon because the LTA basically doesn’t do renegotiations and knew it would have trouble convincing other broadcasters to share the load. Bernie, on the other hand, was quite happy to let the deal happen provided he and CVC made money from its movement. (Note that if Bernie/CVC had wanted to, it would have been quite entitled on making BBC pay for the contract whether it screened anything or not).

            Eastenders isn’t even in the sports budget; it’s in drama, which is a protected department. If the BBC cut Eastenders, even had that been enough money to save the F1 coverage, it would be obliged to put the money into another TV programme that was classed as a drama (whether that was a new soap, extra Doctor Who episodes or live broadcasting of a play). F1 is firmly classed as “sport” in the TV lexicon and therefore would not have been eligible, even if the BBC had attempted to pretend otherwise. (Maybe if they were paying for the team boss meetings to be televised, that trick might have helped ;) )

            Talk shows are in various categories, but if they were in current affairs (as most of them are), then that also wouldn’t have helped as current affairs are also a protected department.

  14. I find Sky’s coverage to be completely awful. F1 really could have done with trying to increase interest in the UK, yet this will only achieve the opposite. One predetermined FTA race a year. Appalling.

    It was bound to happen, however. It was just a case of when.

  15. This is a fantastic decision. Truly wonderful news. I was only saying to a friend the other day that there just isn’t enough competition for F1 coverage in the UK…

    This post was brought to by todays letter ‘sarcasm’…

    And the number equal to, but not exceeding, the cost of a Rolex (TM) wrist watch.

    1. @andybantam
      I love the Sesame Street analogy. I can only agree that F1 is indeed run by muppets.

      1. That “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12” tune was inspired by the investors in F1 doing a future head count of the veiwers…

        Note – If you have no idea what that tune is, do a quick youtube thing.

  16. I’m not sure if it was just me but there was no race control feature on the iPad app this year which I used to really like for the multi camera options and highlights. Maybe they are just slow at getting it working or I need to update the app but if it’s actually been removed then this news is really disappointing as it looks like they are stripping the coverage back rather than improving it. Ultra hd sounds like a step forward but this is a natural progression for all film and sport so it’s not an investment for just f1 like the race control was.

    1. @f190 the race control stuff on the ipad app was working fine for me all weekend.

      1. Thanks @gt-racer Its good to know it’s still available. I might just need an app update because I didn’t see it last weekend.

  17. I don’t care … I refuse to pay for ANY Sky subscription, and I will continue watching F1 through other (perfectly legal) methods :-)

  18. A quick point of clarification: Sky’s press release states “Free to air: The Formula 1 British Grand Prix, together with highlights of all other races and Qualifying sessions, will be shown on a ‘free-to-air’ basis.” This obviously makes no mention of whether the race would be shown live. From contacting Sky I understand it will be.

    1. Autosport have said in their article that: “Only the British Grand Prix will be shown free-to-air, either via one of Sky’s free channels such as Pick, or by one of the BBC, ITV or Channel 4.”

    2. Agree. To expand on this point, Sky showed two NFL games from the 2015 season on their ‘Pick TV’ channel. Presumably F1 will be shown on this channel (or equivalent) or their new super duper Mix channel if available on Freeview.

    3. Duncan Snowden
      24th March 2016, 12:24

      And nobody will care, because we’ll all have stopped watching. This is absolutely no consolation at all. In fact, it’s more a case of rubbing it in. “Hey, remember that motor racing series you used to watch? Look, it’s still going! And you have no idea what’s going on any more: who the top drivers are, what rules have changed, or what the best strategies are these days! Sucks to be you, eh?”

      Screw ’em.

      Formula 1, 1950-2018. R.I.P.

  19. Another nail in the coffin for F1’s long term popularity in the UK. Of course Ecclestone doesn’t care about the long term success of the sport as he won’t be around then, as long as he can squeeze as much money from it now as possible.

    I don’t know the details of the TV industry but it seems early to be signing the contract for 2019 to 2024 when you consider that Channel 4 have only just taken over the free to air rights, you would have thought F1 would have waited and seen how Channel 4 performs over the course of its first season to at least getting a bidding war going.

    I have followed F1 since 1991 but I don’t have Sky and have absolutely zero intention of ever getting it, with the current deal I always try to avoid the results of qualifying and the race when it is highlights only and have been successful 99% of the time.

    However if the quality of the on-track action does not improve by the time this deal comes into effect I will probably not avoid the news, and then I can easily see it be the case of not bothering watching the highlight at all if the race seems boring or I have other things to do.

    1. F1 Broadcasting Blog speculates that the early signing was a board-level panic move to prevent BT Sports coming in and making an offer.

      1. @optimaximal would not surprise me as the general feeling within the broadcasting industry was that the next tv contract would be between sky and bt.

        bt are heavily investing in motorsport, they already have deals to show quite a few categories & are apparently keen to grab more, having f1 as the centerpiece of there motorsport coverage would have more than likely been a key goal.

  20. It’s a misnomer to call it Formula One Management.

    Clueless TV director, a website and app that can’t even fit all the timing on one HD screen, can’t show the driver tracker without a third device, doesn’t make the onboards recordable or show them, doesn’t show when drivers are deploying ERS, keeps GPS secret…

    Now this. Why would anybody sponsor an F1 team for 600k UK viewers? I’m just waiting for my legacy Sky deal to be withdrawn and then I really doubt I’ll be paying the new inflated price.

    1. Oh I forgot FOM making sure nobody else promotes the sport with any free video on that interweb.

    2. ‘Why would anybody sponsor an F1 team for 600k UK viewers?’


      1. Duncan Snowden
        24th March 2016, 13:29

        As I said a week or so ago, Bernie sees this as a feature, not a bug. If the teams can’t attract sponsors, they’re more beholden to FOM’s handouts for their income.

        And if this move doesn’t wake them up to what I pointed out in that comment – that they’re actually in direct competition with the commercial rights holder who’s supposed to be acting in their interest – then they deserve all they’re going to get.

  21. I’m utterly defeated.

    Sky, you have hurt my heart with this.

  22. I actually heard that this was likely about a week ago but was asked not to say anything because the deal wasn’t finalized.

    Just a point, There may well be an alternative to Sky by the time this deal goes live because i’ve had it confirmed to me that FOM & TATA communication are heavily investing in streaming content, They have been trialing various delivery methods & I’m hearing that app developers with experience in working with live streaming content are been brought in.

    1. Oh also Sky are launching a FTA sports channel (Called Sky Sports Mix) later this year & it will include F1 content both live & recorded.

      1. I thought Sky Sports Mix was only available to basic Sky subscribers? i.e. like BT Sport Showcase, but only with people who have regular Sky TV (Not Sky Sports)

        1. @fomfan So it is, Seems I mis-read something so thanks for correcting me.

          1. Do you know if the 4k World Feed FOM will be producing will be separate from the current 1920×1080 world feed, or will the 1920×1080 world feed simply be a downscale of the 4k feed?

          2. @fomfan They will almost certainly produce a single world feed broadcast as they do currently all shot in 4k but will then offer the non 4k broadcasters a down-scaled HD feed.

          3. FOM Fan (@)
            24th March 2016, 7:34

            That’s a good move IMO. BT do a seperate 4k feed with their football matches for their Ultra HD channel (And motoGP did a seperate 4k feed for their one-off British GP broadcast last year for BT)

          4. FOM Fan (@)
            24th March 2016, 7:36

            (cont…) but IMO I’ve watched both on a 27″ 1920×1080 HD TV and they look fine, the 4k one doesn’t look too distant or anything – personally I prefer the 4k feed they use for football matches anyway. And it’s more confusing if they were to start producing 2 feeds again.

  23. I don’t blame Sky. They’re a commercial entity that see a chance to get a return on investment.

    I don’t completely blame the F1 rights holders, they’re stuffy old men incapable of grasping modern media distribution models and strangling what ever profit they can from what they have before their contracts with Satan draw to a close. They don’t care in the least if F1 is popular in 10, 20 or 30+ years as they won’t be around to profit from it.

    But I do blame the BBC. They’re an institution trusted with license payers money to deliver quality TV material. Not just popular, but something which enriches the nation. People are inspired by F1, the best engineers and the current best driver are British. I know people in many different professional fields who strive to be the best at their field in the hope a job opening comes up in an F1 team and even though they aren’t going to be in the spotlight, may get to be involved in something they have a passion for.

    F1 is the pinnacle of sporting technology, our country has an incredible legacy in it, and our publicly funded television company should celebrate that and provide coverage of it.

    1. Yeah but we needed more “talent” shows, dancing and celebrities. I just don’t see how F1 fits into my busy tv watching with all that quality programming….

      I am glad I don’t pay TV license anymore, only Netflix and Amazon prime, and catchup tv, means I get much better all round broadcasting

    2. Wonderbadger
      23rd March 2016, 19:35

      Unfortunately blaming the BBC in this instance isn’t really fair – the revenue they get from the TV licence has dropped drastically due to the governments inability to pass into law that live streaming and using iPlayer requires a TV licence. That means far fewer people pay it and their available spend has reduced. Its another case of rich powerful people not giving a damn about the rest of society while they sit in their ivory towers having a competition to see who can create the most dumbass idea.

      1. Yeah but the bbc picked the easy option to save money by ditching f1. They could have saved so much more by getting rid of the bbc trust and the thousands of useless people who work their and don’t do f all. Plus they spend hundreds of millions building a new base in Manchester and paid their employees bugs sums to move up there. The ones who didn’t move get to take 1st class rail travel and taxi all on the BBC’s. They are a useless company that needs a complete overhaul

        1. The BBC had to “pick the easy option” as they were not given time to wait for any of the harder options due to the immediate effect of the relevant reduction in income. The sale wasn’t prompted by the switch to iPlayer (which was gradual and mostly effected later in the decade) but the immediate decision in 2011 by the government to reduce its funding of the BBC. (I’m not sure I saw any appetite for the option @ads cited though, which is itself telling…)

    3. Steve D (@)
      24th March 2016, 9:18

      I think the BBC are in a difficult position. Bear in mind that their funding has been frozen for 6 years. In a world where costs are only going up, it’s not surprising that they have run out of options in terms of showing live sport. When competing with commercial entities who make vast sums of money, FTA coverage of all sports is only ever going to last so long, without significant license fee increases.

  24. Luke Harrison
    23rd March 2016, 19:02

    I always find the outcry to stories like this hypocritical if i’m honest.

    Firstly, people talk about the distribution of wealth in football and how it should be like that in F1.

    The wealth in football nearly all comes from TV money, the vast majority of that money? Comes from subscription based TV services.

    Secondly, people complain that the teams don’t have enough money and have to pay pay drivers – more money coming in from TV deals, more money into the teams, less pay drivers.

    From a share holder point of view and for a lot of the teams, F1 is about business. This sort of thing makes them money. It’s why the teams aren’t opposed to racing in half empty tracks, because the majority of the audiences watch from home.

    While i agree, the governance at the top of the sport is in dire need of a shake up, these sorts of moves – if funds are properly distributed – should actually help the teams survive. Because without them – not the fans – we won’t have a sport.

    1. While I do agree with your point in principle, the domestic tv rights for the Premier League were around £8 Billion, I dont think this TV deal got near the £100 Million mark, surely this is just a drop in the ocean for F1 teams

    2. Well said Luke.

    3. “If funds are properly distributed” but of course they are not and that negates your otherwise sensible but shortsighted comment.

      1. Luke Harrison
        23rd March 2016, 22:07

        A change in leadership could result in a change in funding.

        And the argument is far from short sighted. Surely its the opposite especially with long term funding.

        Regardless of whether the teams get 40% of the revenue or 100% of the revenue, the more revenue that comes into the sport from items such as television the better. And the unfortunate truth of the matter is, these subscription based services are able to offer formula one a much larger sum of money.

        That’s why, in the grand scheme of things the smaller audiences Sky bring to the table isn’t bad for the overall health of F1 because F1 – as a business – finds itself richer.

        Surely the the fact the grid is still relatively healthy in terms of numbers, with a comparatively smaller amount of sponsors actually supports the case that money is coming from somewhere. If it ain’t people paying the teams it’s that their slice does support them.

        Again, i’m not arguing that the way the funds are distributed is correct, but, Subscription based services offer the sport a more sustainable lifeline in regards to cash flow

        And as other people have pointed out in this thread, F1 isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. The same as all sport.

    4. I don’t see the hypocrisy. After all, the source of money does not affect how it is distributed, nor does a series which can be more effectively shown on multiple channels (which for anything longer/more frequent than an Olympics, pretty much requires pay TV) necessarily face the same degree of downside of one that can be and is effectively shown on free-to-air TV. Had all summer-season international motorsport series been under the same commercial direction, and been similar in perceived importance to the public before the proposed placement behind the paywall, then that would be a better analogy to Premiership football.

      In this case, pay TV has taken away money from the teams, rather then added to it, as the sponsorship most teams depended on also depended on numbers of people seeing the sponsorship logos. If F1 visited the same tracks every two weeks, and priced tickets so that lower-middle-class people could plausibly go to all their “local” races and working-class people at least a few rounds, that problem would not have happened because there would still be a large core of fans who would see the logos (whether those were on the home side at a given venue or the opposition’s). This is another advantage football – at all levels – has over F1.

      The grid looks healthy, but over half the grid is seriously in debt. The money is coming from the banks at the moment, and it wouldn’t take much to snap the system completely. This could well be the snapping element, if nothing comes sooner.

  25. Watch it in the pub.

    1. At 0430 am ?

      1. They pass laws so we can stay in the pub till 1am on the queens’ birthdays…..
        Why not allow some to open early….or stay open late for F1 races?

    2. Assuming you can find a pub willing to do that. In my hometown, two pubs showed F1. One closed partway through the year and the other one only showed Britain and Hungary…

  26. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    23rd March 2016, 19:10

    With the BBC dropping support I suppose this was inevitable.

    Even so it’s a terrible shame. How the sport intends to gain new fan or reinvigorate older ones when they intend on barring the sport behind paywalls I have no idea.

    As people have said, it’s a short-term narrow-minded idea that stands to make a lot of money at the expense of the sport’s popularity. I struggle to get my friends in any way interested in F1 and this is another reason why people that aren’t interested in it will never become interested.

  27. I stopped watching MotoGP When it disappeared from terrestrial television, and the same will almost definitely happen with F1 in 2019. I can categorically state that, given my spending habits, there is zero chance of me purchasing a subscription package.

    I’m a 20-year fan. Unfortunately, that fanaticism will simply cease to be.

    1. @newfangled not much of a fan then really…

      1. Because he might not be able to afford to watch it? Well that makes sense.

        1. Apex Asassin
          24th March 2016, 0:29

          because he isn’t willing to pay for it or follow it through other means.

          where i grew up there wasn’t f1 coverage so i read about each race a month later in a magazine.

          for years.

      2. Not exactly fair. Moto gp is on bt and if you want bt I believe you either need to pay for a sky tv box plus subscription then pay for a bt subscription or get bt broadband deal for free coverage of BT sports. Either way it’s a alot of money to spend for 1 sport.

        1. Or you need Plusnet broadband and get a top-up. I can get it for £17 a month plus line rental, and that’s only because I have a premium fibre package – it’s theoretically possible to get it for £12 a month plus line rental. In practise, I don’t do that because I don’t have a TV license, which is kind of a prerequisite, plus they show MotoGP in my local gym. (They have Sky as well, so if this plan ends up happening, I will be watching F1 in the gym too…)

      3. I couldn’t justify spending an inordinate amount of money for one motorsport category then, and I can’t justify spending an inordinate amount of money for another motorsport category now. If you have bottomless pockets, fine, but claiming I’m ‘not much of a fan’ because I can’t afford to pay an overinflated price tag after I’ve never missed a live race (or, more recently, a terrestrial highlights package) in twenty years is preposterous. Think before you write next time.

        1. I agree completely.

          I’ve followed F1 since I was a wee small child, it is also the only sport I follow. There is no way I can justify £20 a month for two/three races a month and not even in HD (I’m a Virgin customer, and Sky do not deem it appropriate to allow us to watch F1 in HD!)

      4. @psynrg
        By not paying he is doing something, by paying you are just feeding the beast. Common sense dictates you don’t reward extortionists. The wise thing is to boycott F1 for however long it takes. It is ignorant people who pay and continue paying.

  28. Haha! F1 viewership is in decline, so… let’s give people in the UK another reason to completely tune out! It’s like you poor people are now dating a gold-digger. F1 clearly doesn’t give a damn about you unless you keep giving money to it so it can continue to swim in garish and tacky wealth. The question is: if it has zero loyalty to you, why do you continue to have any loyalty to it? You’re being played like that poor, middle-aged sap whose trophy wife dresses him and only sleeps with him if he buys her a Porsche. As a concerned son (I’m Canadian), I advise a divorce, or perhaps look into a neat little tool called ‘torrent downloading’. :)

  29. I think F1 is pretty much finished as a mass viewership sport. The constant rule changes, the TV rights, the move away from traditional circuits. I can’t see too many casual viewers tuning in on a Sunday if they can’t access it, or understand what’s going good on, or enjoy it just on face value.

    The decision just wreaks of pure financial gain at the detriment of fans, teams, and drivers. The irony of the drivers releasing their statement earlier, and FOM putting out this statement can’t be put into words.

    I’ve never been one to want to get involved in the Politics are the top of the sport, but I now think it’s time for significant change at the very top of F1 or otherwise this sport is dead.

  30. I’m from Canada and we get F1 through TSN buy it was for the first time done with the Sky team but still through TSN. Does anyone know what will happen to F1 over here? This has me baffled.

    1. TSN will most likely stay with Sky and piggyback off of them into the future. I just wish we got all of the sessions, not just Practice 2, Qualifying and the Pre-race, Race and Post-race

      1. Apex Asassin
        24th March 2016, 0:25

        Have a Canadian team. Haas appears and now I’m told NBC has FP1 and FP3. They used to only do that for the USGPs now it’s all races.

        1. I wish we had a Canadian in a competitive seat. Or any seat lol

      2. I know, all 3 practice sessions would be awesome and more pre and post shows. TSN 5 had all the race day coverage you could handle in Australia.

    2. TSN has always bought coverage from someone else- remember the Gerry Donaldson/Vic Rauter intros then the sudden switch to the “race team” coverage? Personally I am quite happy to have the Sky team this year as having to listen to another year of DC blather on about how bad Maldonado is, dirty air and concertina effect made me cringe. It was nice to hear Ted Kravitz again- it was a good time back a few years when he was on with ITV (which was who TSN bought coverage from)… If Sky started asking too much money I am sure NBCSN would step up- or some other English language broadcaster…

  31. It’s always mystified me why so many believe they are entitled to watch F1 on TV for free. Despite it costing a small fortune to attend. As well as the obvious fact that it’s one of the most costly sporting events in the world.

    I was never comfortable with the license fee going towards bringing F1 to the BBC. I support the TV license and the BBC, but it should not be used to finance the pockets of the stinking rich circus of F1, nor any ‘premier’ sporting event, apart from national interest events such as the Football Euro or World Cup or the Olympics etc.

    F1 is about as commercial as it gets. So why have this expectation that it should be free?

    I love F1; I really don’t mind paying for the privilege to watch it.

    1. It could be be free @psynrg because F1 is a marketing medium. That’s why it used to be free.

      And it’s more effective as a marketing platform obviously with a large number of viewers watching it, free, than with a small number paying the hefty subscription.

      Also when it’s free with a large audience there are more sponsors for independent teams, making them less dependent on Bernie’s controlling handouts.

      Plus a lot of the money goes to people who get the money because they have money, and we don’t like that.

    2. £144.50 a year in license fee isn’t free. For that I expect some content I want to watch and F1 was the last thing left.

    3. It was actually part of the Concord agreement that “The Commercial Rights Holder may not permit Formula 1 events to be shown only by pay television in a country with a significant audience if it would materially adversely affect audience reach in that country.” (from an Autosport report in 2011 when the BBC/Sky deal was announced – the teams were not overly impressed back then!)
      I’m not sure if that is true of the current agreement (wasn’t it renewed a couple of years back?), so the above statement may well be null and void.

      I accept that there is an argument that the BBC is not Free to Air as you do need to pay a TV licence fee, however I prefer that to having adverts liberally sprinkled over live coverage (and good on C4 for not doing that!)

      1. There currently is no concorde agreement, Bernie has been doing individual commercial deals with each team since 2010 I believe.

        But even if there was still a concorde agreement as i understood it at the time the wording never specified between live or highlights so even if every race was exclusively live on Pay-TV with only a highlights package shown on FTA that would satisfy the wording of the concorde agreement.

    4. Welcome to the 1980’s!!! The thing is that modern “tech” monetizes viewership not through paywalls but instead through advertising and other corporate channels. Look at Facebook, Google, Twitter etc… all make revenues that are many factors larger that the piddly F1 circus and you pay nothing to use them. They make their money because they have millions of people using their free services and they monetize that. Anyway- there have been plenty of sports that have gone down the same path of paywalls etc. before- and ALL of them suffered greatly for it.

    5. Having an expectation that F1 will look after its overall commercial interests is why I expect there to be a free version of F1. It’s not even like there’s a choice: in an all-pay world, there’d still be illegal streams, because that is the way of the internet, unless the commercial plan is to have nobody want to watch.

  32. Is the future pay-per-view? This may not be very popular but I think it is. But on TV? No.

    MotoGP, WEC and WRC now all have an online subscription services where you can pay a decent price to watch live coverage of the sessions. The key thing here is that you’re paying for what you ACTUALLY WANT to watch and not all the other stuff that comes with the hefty price of Sky TV.

    I’d happily pay a reasonable price to watch F1 but what I don’t want to do is pay out a lot of money for all the other TV shows and stuff that I’m not the slightest bit interested in. (And that’s even before I think of the idea of putting more money in Rupert Murdoch’s pocket.)

    I think this news probably means we won’t see anything like a dedicated F1 subscription service in the future and it’s F1’s loss as more and more people will just turn to illegal streams instead.

    1. @tommyb89 This is an extremely valid point. Online is the way to go.

      As well as those you’ve listed, IndyCar, IMSA and NASCAR throw their races up in full on YouTube too. Now, I know they may not make any money from me watching them on YouTube, but just from seeing their races pop up on my subscriptions, I have watched more NASCAR and IMSA races these last two years in particular than ever before. Now I actually care about those series and would consider making an effort to watch them in future, whereas before I did not.

      Not seeing the potential in online to grow the audience for F1 is the single most baffling thing about the current broadcasting strategy for the sport.

    2. @tommyb89 I agree & its an argument I have been making for some time.

      The future of sports broadcasting is online subscriptions be it via a netflix like package that acts as a portal for various different sports or individual direct from the rights holder services like we see with WRC, WEC, MotoGp etc..

      Youtube is a model but I gather that advertising revenue is a declining thing on that platform, Although I believe google are working on implementing some sort of subscription model into Youtube which may make it a more viable option for those who want to stream via a subscription model but don’t have the in-house infrastructure to do it themselfs.

  33. I realize this isn’t going to be popular in here, but as an American who has no choice but to pay to watch F1, all this gets from me is a shrug.

    I understand that many of you pay licensing fees and various taxes to subsidize free-to-air television channel, but the reality is that Formula 1, even in its most popular locales, is a niche product aimed towards and consumed by only a fraction of the population. It seems unfair to the non-f1 watching populations in your countries to expect a state-run programme will pay for F1 licensing fees at all simply because those consuming a product (F1) don’t want to pay for it.

    The nature of media has changed significantly in the 21st century, advertising dollars aren’t what they once were, and the nature of advertising has changed.

    The reality that everyone in here is going to have to face at some point or another is that watching Formula 1 on your television via free-to-air or through a paid cable/satellite service isn’t going to be an option in the near future. Sooner rather than later, in my estimation, F1 is going to stream its content live on its own without any television intermediaries at all.

    I realize that television is expensive (again, as an American, if I want it at all I have to pay for it, period), but if Formula 1 being free to watch is the only reason you’re watching then I really have to question why you’re watching, other than to kill time with something that happens to be on television and free. You’re consuming a product, and the presentation of that product has a cost, regardless of what your historical norms are.

    1. Personally I would rather pay FOM a straight fee to stream the races, than pay over £1000 – $1400 a year to watch F1 through a Sky package I watch nothing else on. It may be a shrug to you but to me, at heart, this is a sport that is British, and had a growing British audience right up until the point it went pay to view. The lack of money F1 was earning thanks to airing free to view F1 was moot. This is a travesty at best and in the end Bernie, FOM and CVC will be left with an embarrassment like Saturday’s qualifying but on a scale that will destroy F1 for good.

    2. We don’t watch it free, we pay a tv licence to view the ‘free’ television. F1 used to be something I could discuss with and talk about with friends, over time, less and less people are watching it to the point where is a niche sport. Britain is F1, pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation is our main export. Future generations won’t be aware of F1 and its history, This isn’t the death of free television, it’s the end of a national way of life.

    3. The thing is, @bob-loblaw, F1 is a niche in the US, but in the UK it has been much more mainstream for a long time, with everyone able to turn in and watch, and talking about it after a race. That is less and less true, which seems like wasting a very big audience.

  34. ‘F1 loses most British fans from 2019’.

    Sorry Bernie, I’m stopping. Thank you for f_ing up the sport we love.

    Sincerely. Most of the fans.

  35. Well done bbc. The shady deal with sky got sky in the door and once in bernie would never be able to turn down their big piles of money. I feel sorry for DC he turned down a job on top gear for channel 4 and their f1 coverage and has been truly shafted. I don’t understand how they couldn’t have carried on the way it is with sky getting all 21 races and channel 4 getting 10 live races plus highlights. If f1 is the only sport you watch how can anyone in f1management expect them to pay the amounts of money sky want for a subscription. Once again bernie and the cvc filling their pockets while giving fans the middle finger.

    1. I was looking forward to channel 4 live coverage but am now left with a sinking feeling.

      Football, cricket. .. and the dwarf is concerned about viewing figures? No. It’s being paid by costing a lot for the few.

  36. Slow… Clap… /sarcasm

  37. And I’m out.

  38. All this will do is increase the number of Live Feeds showing the Sky F1 channel illegally.

    In my honest opnion F1 is actually more exciting race by race than it was 10 years ago. However the drivers have become soulless, as bad as Pastor was at least he brought something different. I did notice Max had a rant in Australia and everyone slated him for it and implying he should be a professional obedient boring racing driver. At least he showed some passion! Formula 1 drivers have become to boring, the rules have become to bureaucratic, the cars are almost identical as theres no way to differentiate, the tracks are generic and when you actually turn up at a race you cant get anywhere near the drivers or the teams. Why would a casual watcher bother? I always say to anyone who is interested in motorsport in the UK go and watch the BTCC, its free on TV, you can go to more than 1 race a year, get up close to the drivers and actually watch exciting motor racing!

    F1 quite soon will only be watched in the UK by the hardcore fans. These are the people who actually are committed to the sport. Bernie knows these fans won’t leave. I will likely to one of these and I can’t understand why?

  39. By 2019 there is a distinct possibility that it won’t simply be a case of FTA vs Pay TV. There will be further streaming options available, both legal and not. It could therefore be Sky TV vs Amazon/Youtube for all we know. Or (less likely) direct streaming from F1 themselves. And with the Sky deal running to 2024 I think that is even more likely that alternative viewing sources will be around. Just a thought…..

  40. This was always inevitable. And with the way F1 is headed I don’t care. I’m sure i’m not the only lifelong fan who is feeling the same way about the state of F1.

  41. It will also mean that Australia will no longer have Free-To-Air coverage also as we here have taken channel feed from the BBC and now Channel 4 for the last few years. Dark times indeed.

  42. BTW the Sky deal is £50m a year from 2019.

    1. Have you had that confirmed? I see it mentioned in The Times also. It seems incredibly cheap for exclusive rights especially when it comes with the certain reduction in viewers for the sport. As it stands Sky are rumoured to be paying £45m/year & Channel 4 £15m/year so I would have expected this new deal to be close to £100m/year to make it worth FOM’s while.

  43. machinesteve
    23rd March 2016, 21:50

    I subscribe to Sky for the F1 (stupid me throwing £40 at that!). My son used to watch every race with me – loved F1. He is at University now, can’t afford Sky, never watches (meh its boring and too expensive anyway)….he is into cycling now big time….and so are the advertisers.

  44. FOM stated explicitly a while ago that they wanted Formula 1 to become a “premium luxury” product. The middle classes and upwards won’t buy your wares unless it affords them some sort of exclusivity and status. I predict a sharp increase in ticket prices and a concerted effort to get rid of the classic venues in favour of more glamorous locations.

    It’s just another sign of the way the world is going. I’ll continue to watch F1 in HD via illegal streams and I’ll take my money (for streaming AND race tickets) to the WEC.

  45. “Sky’s commitment to the Sport and standard of coverage is second to none [except C4].”

  46. That’s the death of F1, I only hope that a breakaway formula is created that manages to take as much talent as possible with it

  47. here’s an idea, we all boycott watching the next F1 race, get it going worldwide, send sponsors into a mad panic. it’s the only way to send a message to the F1 dictators that they cannot continue failing the sport we all love.

    1. I’d actually be up for campaigning this @emu55

      We can use the hashtags #YourSportNoSupport and #BernieMustGo

  48. The Conservative Party in the UK are closely allied with Rupert Murdoch because The Sun newspaper, which he owns, is read by highly valued indecisive voters. The Conservatives have reduced the money available to the BBC, by freezing the TV licence fee, and the BBC has subsequently lost a series of TV rights deals, mostly to Sky. Murdoch papers run stories favourable to the Conservatives and they provide legislation that is favourable to Murdoch’s businesses. Max Mosley was against Sky gaining the F1 TV rights. Murdoch’s now defunct sunday newspaper, the News of the World, exposed Mosley’s use of prostitutes in a sadomasochistic orgy, and he was forced to step down as President of the FIA, removing a key barrier to Sky’s purchase of the F1 rights.

    1. @xenon2

      the News of the World, exposed Mosley’s use of prostitutes in a sadomasochistic orgy, and he was forced to step down as President of the FIA

      Mosley won a vote of confidence after the News of the World story. He later decided not to stand for election at the end of his last term. It’s not correct to say the News of the World story forced him to step down.

  49. Well that will be it for me & F1. The races have got increasingly boring & predictable, with only the odd delightful exception. I’m certainly not paying £25 a month (or whatever it is) to Rupert Murdoch for the privilege (especially as my football team will be long gone from the Premier League by then – and come to think of it, there are similarities between Mike Ashley & Bernie).

    Cricket has shot itself in the foot by going pay only & F1 will do the same.

  50. an unconcerned fan
    23rd March 2016, 23:28

    Who cares? BBC coverage was bad and was progressively getting worse. I swear their show was more effeminate than women’s water polo (which I also like). Furthermore I don’t believe any state owned broadcaster should pay for sport programmes unless it’s a very special case like the Olympic Games.
    I don’t even own a TV for years anyways. I don’t understand how you brits can put up with having to pay for a licence just to own a TV, not to mention all the craziness that comes with maintaining such a system. BBC is seriously bloated and its consumer base is ever decreasing. Letting F1 go was a sensible decision which should’ve been made sooner.

  51. If you cant afford £20 a month to watch F1, you sure as hell cant afford a TAG watch, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Merc, Martini regularly, etc.. Marketing is about targeting an audience. Making them pay to view is an excellent filter. Why market to people who cant afford your products?

    1. This is why almost all the every-day sort of brands are gone. And this is why teams aren’t making money.

      The marketing follows the exposure, not the other way round.

    2. Hi, Bernie.

      1. I can afford more than £20 a month, but I refuse to be eye-gouged by Sky and Bernie…who have plenty of money coming in from advertising etc. I will spend my money watching ‘live’ motor sport at a venue instead. The racing is normally better and more interesting in any case + you get fresh air and sun too!

        Enjoy your Martini and driving the Aston… :)

  52. For many seasons of F1 all I had was radio, a couple seasons there was only a cross boarder live tv broadcast in french…….that sucked too. I can go a few years without live F1 and just hope they join the internet age soon.

    BTW I might pay a hundred pounds for a seasons pass on NOW TV, but no way in heck am I getting SKY TV just to watch F1. FreeSat plus Apple TV is more than enough boob-tv than most people should pickle their brains with anyway.

  53. It’s a shame, but I’m becommig numb to bad news like this. I’ve given up the fight.

  54. I’d love to here the teams and drivers views on this, but they’re likely as gagged now as they were back in 2011…

    Toto Wolff extolled Mercedes expenditure vs. marketing exposure the other day – how much of that was from exposure per channel (pay TV, FTA, streaming), I wonder.

  55. Bernie and his partners are killing Formula 1. Yes, they are very rich men…but a bunch of gangsters.

  56. Hate poison dwarf! And I’m not even from the UK. But UK is vital since it’s the heartland of F1. How on earth F1 is gonna attract sponsors with this kind of mind boggling short-sighted idiocy?

    I’m afraid the best thing that could happen to F1 right now is its death. From death there could be a rebirth. Now it’s barely a pathetic zombie-like F1 existence lead by the vampires of CVC, impotent FIA under its worst ever president(and that’s saying something!) and of course the once great poison dwarf who had lost the plot years ago. With such a leadership, F1’s heading toward disaster and it needs a cataclysm to save it from itself

  57. Good thing that we have been paying for F1 since I first started to follow the sport. Doesn’t hurt that much now as it has become an essential part of life :)

  58. I started watching in the mid 60’s. Back then I delivered papers that occasionally had the practice times, the Sunday Telegraph was the best I recall. On race day you were lucky if you saw the winner cross the finish line on the TV news, a proper race report had to wait for Thursday and Motoring News. The sport only made the tabloids when there was a death, Jim Clark had the whole front page, others made do with a footnote on the sports pages.

    My viewing experience has improved year-on-year until a few seasons back when the BBC ceased to show all races live.

    As I understand it, there will still be highlights programmes on FTA, but if it’s like ITV4 showing motoGP, it’ll be a pain because it means trying avoiding finding out the result for maybe days after the event. Perhaps the biggest loss will be all the spin-offs such as this website, I won’t be coming here after practice finishes because I won’t want to know the quali or race results.

    People have commented on the cricket going to PPV TV, but earlier still boxing disappeared from our screens. I used to have a passing interest in this, but now would be hard pressed to name any of the leading fighters, only those who actively court publicity such as Tyson Fury, but I’ve never seen him throw a punch, recorded, live or otherwise. I can easily see F1 going the same way, especially with the Green blob lobbying to have motor racing restricted.

    Already, progress of the motoGP championship isn’t well known outside real enthusiasts, one day soon F1 will be the same, likewise new fans won’t be so easy to find.

  59. Viewing figures will of course drop, which will then inevitably be used by the usual suspects to hack at whatever their particular grievance with the sport is (usually how it isn’t like in the olden days..), just like was done when the global figures dropped following the move to Pay-TV in other big countries.

  60. I had hoped Bernie had leant his lesson seeing how the viewing figures have halved since sky got all the races live, he has either lost it or as some people have suggested he wants it to fail to restart a new formula with decent sounding engines etc. I watch the live races now on channel 4. Most proper fans understand the sport like watching how the race develops lap by lap and trying to guess what will happen, I can’t be doing with highlights, I simply go online and see who has won and that it. I also used to watch the entire weekend now I never bother with qualifying and if it’s a choice race or day out with the family we go out which was never my choice when followed every race. I used to have sky family pack but cancelled everything in protest, if other also did this sky would loose money and would send a clear message

  61. We lose live free to air. Does this mean we will finally get a streaming service we can watch? Come on Amayon, Netflix, youtube…

  62. This is meant to take effect three years from now. It is not unlikely that a different deal will be made before then.

  63. This new disappoints me massively. Sky may have more coverage, but the general air of sensationalism makes it near unbearable to watch at times, not helped by the haphazardly picked dull presenters who joined those Sky poached from the BBC, who were worth a damn but seem to be getting ‘infected’ by their dullness, for lack of a better phrase. I always preferred the BBC’s coverage because it didn’t bog itself down in a lot of unnecessary guff while trying to impress.

    This will only benefit FOM in the short term and will see a long term drop in TV viewers, which seems to be the only fan based statistic Bernie understands. When he sees them plummit he’ll likely come up with some sort of knee jerk ‘solution’, which will be the only interesting thing to see from this.

    I am, however, rather amused that they’re permitting 1 race to be shown live on ‘free-to-air’ TV, just to placate those who’d point out that F1 needs to be on free-to-air TV where possible, unless that part of the Concorde Agreement was quietly tipexed out.

  64. Nothing in life is free….but when the whole sport is a continuous advertisement for a multitude of companies and products, racking in millions of revenue, paying to watch F1 is a bridge to far for me.

  65. Oh well more weekends free then.

    More time to develop hobbies and interests other than F1, definitely not morris dancing.

    Cannot say I am massively disappointed, since I have only been able to watch half the races live for a while now, my interest in F1 has been waning.

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

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

    I will not miss a race, but I will no longer pay the Murdoch family for the right.

    I expect I will still be a fan at the end of the season if the racing is good and the politics are tolerable, but I don’t love the sport the way I once did . . it has turned its back on me and that’s not something that is easily forgiveable.

    1. I’m 34 and i feel exact the same waY.

  67. dannie darko
    24th March 2016, 12:27

    Bernie sold his soul!

  68. F1 is no longer a sport. It is a business 100%.

    It prostitutes itself for money. The greed of those within it are the architects of it’s decay.

    The FIA are culpable in the same way the IOC and FIFA have been in the recent past.

    We need a new organisation to run the premier category whose actions are totally focused on the sporting aspect and the popularity and good name of the sport.

    Enough money to run the sport can be made from advertising alone. There is no need to fleece poor people whose only pleasure in life is to marvel at something they find truly awesome.

    Change is in the air.

  69. If deals like this keep being made throughout the world then it will surely kill F1. In the short term, fewer TV spectators will mean less sponsorship for the teams and therefore almost complete reliance on money made from these pay TV deals. In the long term, when the TV contracts run out and aren’t renewed (which will happen if nobody is bothered to watch because of the cost of the subscriptions) it will mean virtually no income for the teams, primarily the independent teams, at which point F1 will be to expensive for its own good because a lot of teams will rapidly go out of business due to being unable to afford the astronomical costs of running such sophisticated cars and the expensive facilities needed to run a team.

    1. * too expensive

  70. The Sky Sports F1 channel needs to be made available on the BT TV platform.

    For a Sky TV customer to watch the MotoGP / Rugby Union / Champions League on the Sky Digital Satellite Platform they can do a monthly add-on of £19.99.

    For a BT TV customer to watch the F1 on the BT IPTV Platform… it’s not possible.

  71. rockriverarms
    24th March 2016, 17:57

    and they wonder why viewing figures are falling.

  72. Is Sky money going to pay for the shortfall of sponsorship tariff the teams will no doubt endure after another viewing figure collapse?

    Just a thought…

  73. I have been watching F1 for 30 years at least since I was a child. Never miss a race. I don’t have Sky and don’t need it. I don’t see the point in paying £30-£40 for TV. i therefore won’t be subscribing to Sky TV and Sky Sports on top to watch F1. I’m sure there will be millions of others who won’t be either. Viewing figures for SkyF1 is lower than F1 on the BBC. But it or now channel4 doesn’t pay as much as Sky. As usual it’s money and sod the fans. I will miss F1 deeply but I’m not getting Sky

  74. Kurt (@dangerpaws)
    25th March 2016, 0:39

    Sad news indeed. I feel sorry for all the fans in the UK who won’t be able to watch/afford the races anymore!! I’ve learned to just accept the Paywall here in The States. Only 2 or 3 races a year are on “Free” TV….and with LOTS of commercial breaks too! :(

  75. It happened here in Australia & now it’s happening worldwide. Hopefully by 2019 there’ll be an alternative for those in the UK to be able to watch F1. A disgusting move!

  76. It’s a total disaster. I’d be more tempted to get it if F1 wasn’t trying its best to be a game show but with the state it is currently in, they’ll never get my money. A total waste, needs to be a boycott.

  77. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    10th July 2016, 9:50

    I’m not at all happy that this is going to happen. From the few times I have seen it on Sky, their coverage is hardly any better than Channel 4 or the BBC. What I find most difficult is that I was used to the BBC. Since I have watched a few on Sky, I haven’t been at all impressed with the amount of adverts they have. The amount of times they say try to make it sound like ALL the live F1 coverage is uninterrupted when it turns out there is still loads of adverts other than during the race. I can somehow accept adverts on Channel 4 as that is totally free to air but the amount you have to pay for Sky it silly in my opinion. I also really don’t like that you have to buy it as a bundle. I don’t want Sky Sports 1, 2 3 and so on. I just want to view the F1 free practice, qualifying and the race. Not even the 24 hour pass will do that. I can’t imagine that many people would make 24 hours use of watching 6 channels at once so IMO, I think it is a pretty silly offer. The other options such as a week or 30 day pass are far to expensive. I wouldn’t actually mind as much if there was a much cheaper option of just viewing one program from one channel that you pay for individually.

    I hope Sky F1 will improve a lot if they are taking over in 2019. I think that the coverage before and after the race is actually better on Channel 4. I also think the practice sessions are better on Channel 4 as they don’t go off topic anywhere near as much as Sky. I blame Crofty for this. Seriously though, he does start talking nonsense simply too much of the time. I did find it quite entertaining when Di Resta was there though as he got back at Crofty whenever he did this. It also is better when Brundle is there too. During the race is one of the few times I think the Sky coverage is better. However, I still always will watch Channel 4 whenever they are doing the live coverage.

  78. 2018 will be the last time I will be able to watch F1 if sky have sole rights, after 30 year following F1 it will be taken away.

    1. Get a satellite dish to 19.2 East and watch all the practice sessions,qualifying and races for free as it is shown free to air in germany.

  79. You can still watch all the F1 races,qualifying and practice session on RTL television free to air till at least 2020. All you need is a satellite dish pointing to 19.2 degrees East so you can either 1. Get a satellite technician to move the dish for you or look into how to do it yourself.
    2. Have another satellite dish installed pointing to 19.2 east and just switch the cables over to the freesat box when you switch from one satellite dish to the other.
    3. which is the option that i went along with a few years back when we were all told that not all of the F1 races were going to be shown on Channel 4 any more is to get a motorised satellite dish (I picked one up for £100 with cable and freesat box) get it installed and watch not only all the F1 races for free but all the winter sports which are free to air on Eurosport deutschland ( You will have to pay Sky to watch Eurosport 1 and 2 otherwise ). All the big boxing matches which are on RTL television for free rather than paying box office fees to sky so the motorised dish pays for itself in the long term.

  80. long time F1 fan who went to events not turned off the sport – yet again money spoils the fans enjoyment!

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