Formula 1 enthusiasts in the UK won't be able to watch the majority of race on free-to-air TV from 2019 after Sky ties up exclusive rights
Matt Burt
23 March 2016

The majority of Formula 1 races will not be broadcast live on free-to-air television in the UK from the start of the 2019 season after Sky Sports secured an exclusive deal to show events on its subscription channels.

The new agreement between Sky and Formula One means Sky Sports will be the home of Formula 1 in the UK and Ireland from 2019 to 2024 and will offer live coverage of every grand prix.

This year Channel 4 has started showing Formula 1 on free-to-air television for the first time, taking over from the BBC in broadcasting live coverage of ten races and showing highlights of the other 11.

That deal runs until the end of the 2018 season, and it remains to be seen whether Channel 4 will be willing to show highlights when Sky’s exclusive deal begins the following season.

Sky has vowed to show the British Grand Prix live on free-to-air television. It hasn't gone into specifics of how it will be shown, but Sky owns a number of 'freeview' channels. In addition, two other ‘prime time’ races will be shown live on a new channel called Sky Sports Mix, which will cover a variety of key sporting events and will be made available to Sky customers at no extra cost.

Sky said it will also offer highlights of all other races and qualifying sessions for free. Most races, however, will be out of reach for UK-based enthusiasts unless they have a Sky subscription.

Sky Sports began showing live Formula 1 on a dedicated channel in 2012 and has a commentary team that includes former racers Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and Martin Brundle. From 2017 every race will be broadcast on Sky in Ultra High Definition.

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23 March 2016
Just the boost F1 needs in the UK. I assume by being accessible to fewer people the series will go from strength-to-_strength, just as it did for the WRC?
  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

24 March 2016
BriMarsh wrote:

Just the boost F1 needs in the UK. I assume by being accessible to fewer people the series will go from strength-to-_strength, just as it did for the WRC?

Exactly! Bernie and teams worried about popularity and making it more relevant to many more people. Only for the rights to become even more restricted!

23 March 2016
"Sky said it will also offer highlights of all other races and qualifying sessions for free"... Sky has just informed me that my (non sports/films) subscription is going up from May, so just how free is free, there is no competition to SKY in the UK.

23 March 2016
In previous years I always dragged myself out of bed to watch the season opening Australian Grand Prix live, more recently paying Now TV for the privilege as I don't have Sky. This year, I just couldn't be bothered after the predictable tedium of last season. Mercedes' dominance, fragile tyres and fuel saving(!) does not make for interesting, combative racing. We need to see drivers pushing themselves and their machines to the limit, otherwise F1 will continue to haemorrhage audiences.

24 March 2016
I'd rather sleep with Murdoch and Jerry than give Sky money. Can someone remind me how much it is to watch F1 on SKY for a year, I just wanna be angry today! p.s. I hate Bernie and his crap ideas too!

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

24 March 2016
Formula one gets more boring every year. After this genius tactical move it's dead to me forever.

Guess Bernie wanted one more big payday to pass on to his lovely children.

24 March 2016
Well that's it!, after following and enjoying F1 for over 55 years through written media, TV, online,basically any means available I have decided no more!
This deal with Sky arranged by Bernie on behalf of his totally uninterested Paymasters is a final step too far for me, and no doubt many other fans of long standing.
Cheap stunts such as agreeing the new tyre deal with a staged handshake in front of the cameras,coasting to save fuel, tyres to weak to stand flat out all out attack driving by probably the best drivers in the world,DRS flaps to stage overtaking manoeuvres etc are just some examples of the cheapening of the once great spectacle that was once Grand Prix racing.
Well Bernie if Channel 4 attracting 2.7 million viewers and Sky attracting 400,000 doesn't tell you something pretty fundamental God alone knows how you make your other business deals add up.

25 March 2016
Goodbye F1, I hope MotoGP learn from this and don't go the same way! :-(

25 March 2016
Big implications...So F1 will go the same way as Cricket, Football, Golf etc. All the sports which have gone to Sky seem to end up over-funded, with an increasingly narrow pool of elite talent, a rapidly declining mass-audience/interest, and long-term consequences for the sport at a grass roots level, to the extent where our performance at international level is no way proportionate to the 'resources' thrown in. I'd bet that we will not have a UK-grown motorsports industry in 20 years time, what's left will just be effectively a fascade for the old boys network and a glorified marketing suite.

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