Set for Sky
By Alistair Charlton. Photoc: © Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool The BBC and Sky Sports are to share coverage of Formula One starting next year, meaning that for One will not be shown entirely on free-to-air television. The announcement, made by Bernie Ecclestone before the Hungarian grand prix, will mean that from 2012 to 2018 Sky Sports will show every practice session, qualifying and race live – and without adverts while the BBC will show half of the races live, with extended highlights of the remaining ten races. Of these ten races the BBC has
to match the current BBC ratings. Some fans are outraged at the prospect of shelling out around £700 per year for a Sky Sports HD package to watch the whole race, when previously all they needed was a TV license fee. However, Bernie
The BBC highlights shows will be around 75 minutes long and broadcast at 5pm or 6pm on the Sunday of the race. This is primetime television - as opposed to the usual midday to 3pm slot for live races - and could gain viewers who
super for Formula One. It will mean a lot more coverage for the sport.
television during the day.
coverage on two different networks now, so we get the best of both worlds.” BBC Formula One commentator Martin Brundle said on Twitter that he was “not impressed” with the announcement and suggested
British and Monaco Grand Prix it be held in Brazil. Despite losing half of the live coverage, the BBC has lengthened its Formula One contract, which was set to end in 2013. Formula One thrives on money paid by sponsors, and these sponsors need the publicity a large television
in ratings, as races currently receive 6-7m viewers and Sky only has 10m customers in total. Formula One cannot possibly take a 70% share of all Sky content, which it would need (.?@KBO%7K=KIJ(&''
in Hungary that he and cocommentator David Coulthard will be in the job centre next year. While the BBC promises to broadcast half of the season live, this will not mean showing every other race because of their promise to show the British and Monaco events and how the 2012 calendar has been arranged. Those two races are over a month apart, so BBC viewers will get Monaco on May 27, then no live races until Silverstone on July 8.
Despite the negative reaction from fans, there is good news; of course those who already have Sky Sports will get full Formula One coverage,
making the sport more social than ever before. It also means the BBC, who were not expected to bid again for F1 at the end of their contract in 2013, can now retain a share in the sport until the end of 2018. Some fans may well feel that they have been cheated out of the sport they love, and many will have reservations against giving money to Sky and News Corporation, but with the BBC looking to limit its spending - which could well have meant terminating Formula One coverage entirely - and Sky having the resources to give Formula One the quality coverage it deserves, the shared broadcasting may well
Sebastien Buemi lines up at the back of the grid during the the Grand Prix of Hungary 2011 in Budapest, Hungary on July 31st, 2011