F1 Sky Sports

Yesterday it was announced that from the start of the 2012 Formula 1 season, the BBC and Sky Sports will share race coverage. This has come as quite a shock to fans as F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone stated earlier in the year that Formula 1 would stay on free to air. Final details are still being discussed but at this stage it appears that the BBC will still show around 50% of the season live, with the other 50% of the season being shown as highlight shows after the race has finished.

BBC and Sky to share F1

Yesterday it was announced that from the start of the 2012 Formula 1 season, the BBC and Sky Sports will share race coverage. This has come as quite a shock to fans as F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone stated earlier in the year that Formula 1 would stay on free to air. Final details are still being discussed but at this stage it appears that the BBC will still show around 50% of the season live, with the other 50% of the season being shown as highlight shows after the race has finished.

BBC will continue to have live, 5 Live coverage at each race and other web based coverage. Sky will show all of the races on their Sports channels as well as covering qualifying and practice sessions. Sky have said that they will not have any adverts during the race, these will presumably be aired during the build-up and after the race. At this stage we do not know what races the BBC will get but they have confirmed that Monaco and Silverstone will be amongst the line-up. We presume the current BBC presenter/pundit line-up will stay but Martin Brundle is believed to be out of contract next year so possibly could make the jump across.

Why has this happened? Well you may have heard about the licence fee freeze. This has caused the BBC to cut a lot of spending from it’s budget with other sports moving to other providers aswell. To avoid losing F1 completely, the BBC made a deal with SKY to share the coverage for the next 6 years, effectively halving their costs. BBC Sport director Barbara Slater said:

“We are absolutely delighted that F1 will remain on the BBC…. With this new deal not only have we delivered significant savings but we have also ensured that through our live and extended highlights coverage all the action continues to be available to licence-fee payers.

Sky Sports’ managing director Barney Francis added:

“This is fantastic news for F1 fans and Sky Sports will be the only place to follow every race live and in HD…. We will give F1 the full Sky Sports treatment with a commitment to each race never seen before on UK television.”

By full Sky Sports treatment we can only assume he means over the top analysis from poor pundits sat in a Studio no-where near a race. Though would we be dreaming if wwe mentioned 3D…

What does this mean for fans? Looking at Sky’s current deals for HD coverage, you would have to spend £50 per month to get their basic package plus sports and HD. Thats £600 per year extra for anyone like me that does not already have a Sky system. Of course there will be many F1 fans who already have Sky Sports but this will no doubt give Sky increased revenue. There has been huge outrage from fans across Twitter and other social networking sites, some saying they will stop watching F1 in 2012, others have started petitions and/or criticising those who have accepted that this is the way it will be.

My thoughts on this are that it was inevitable. I do not want to spend an extra £600 per year on Sky but then I will be getting a lot more on top of the F1 coverage. Rather than moan about this and give false threats about not watching F1 I will be simply accepting that this is the way that it will be for the next few years and adapting to the new format. Overall though, following the move of the WRC to ESPN this year, it is a kick in the teeth for us, motorsport fans. Let us know your thoughts

Guest post by David Tillyer. GRIDWALK F1 News

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