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Bye bye F1

No more free to air Formula One from 2019:
Humphrey The Pug

I don't really understand how it can be viable for F1 and Sky; from what I can gather, the viewing figures on Sky F1 in the UK are around 200k per race. plus you lose the casual viewers too.
Twelfth Monkey

Better to have stopped three years early, it seems.

I can't see how it'll work either.  It's not as though it's been edge of the seat stuff for a long time.
Bob Sacamano

Last knockings of the sport, I'm afraid. It'll become very much a niche sport where the general public don't know the drivers - boxing has become much the same.

Sad to say I greet this news with almost total indifference.

Sniff Petrol wrote:

Yesterday the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association wrote an open letter to F1 bosses pleading with them to avoid poor commericial decsions that will damage the sport. Hours later Sky announced an exclusive rights deal in the UK, ending free-to-air F1 from 2019.

Now the reverse psychology wing of the GPDA has issused another letter, this time begging those in charge of the sport to ‘please continue with short term greed until there are literally no fucking fans left’.

The letter also urges F1 bosses to ‘introduce lots of extremely contrived rules that do nothing to improve the sport but look utterly desperate and completely ignore the basic problem of how sodding boring it is’.

The signatories of the letter also say they want to ‘encourage new tracks and new ideas, but these must NOT prioritise interesting racing above the vital cause of making cadaverous old shits even richer’.

Finally, the letter implores F1’s governors to ‘actively shun social media and other technologies because if you just ignore things they always go away and definitely don’t make an entire sport look like an outdated old farts’ club that won’t be happy until literally everyone who was once interested in F1 has given up or died’.

Interestingly, the strongly-worded letter strenuously avoids naming individuals, although it does make several mysterious references to a ‘spiteful, greedy microtwat’.


I watched the highlights and struggled to get into it.

The trouble with only having highlights on hours after the event is that you have to walk about until it's on without watching any other TV, listening to the radio or talking to anyone else who might have Sky Sports in case you hear the result beforehand. It's boring enough already without having to watch it knowing which Mercedes won this week.
Big Blue

The Social Media and broadcast rights issue is where F1 is so bollocks. Yes, I have to pay for MotoGP app but i can watch it whenever and in whichever country I'm in, unlike SKY whereby the app doesn't let you roam.

F1 thinks everyone watches races only on a TV, sitting on a sofa and sells its rights according to this idea. It doesn't even have the gumption to stream from its own fee-based platform.

In three years time the rules will be so constricted that it will be more appealing to watch the races via semaphore anyway.

I think this is going to see the speedy demise of the sport from the very nation that develops and designs the majority of the cars on the grid. What a shame because a lot of expertise will potentially be lost from the UK.

I really can't see the commercial case for Sky either since there are an enormous number of F1 fans who won't/can't afford Sky F1. Just to cover their costs the subscription is going to have to increase.

I fear for sport in general when the crazy Sky bids dry up because many of the sports have now increased their expenditure to meet their Sky income. When TV advertisers finally waken up to the fact that a very large number of people record the programmes and then FF through the adverts Sky can only increase its subscriptions or reduce what it pays. It is as inevitable as the rain in Glasgow.

It might boost the sport’s coffers in a black and white fashion, but the reduction in viewers and general accessibility of the sport will be most unfortunate. For a peak time Grand Prix Sky will get around 800,000 viewers if they are lucky. This is well short of what the BBC used to get and looking at what the Australian GP highlights got on Channel 4, Sky will be well short of Channel 4’s live GP’s. F1 and motorsport generally will never have the mass appeal of football, however, the Canadian GP got 6.4 million viewers on the BBC last year. Make it accessible and I believe people will watch.

This is further supported by the viewership of last year’s Formula E finale, shown on ITV1 for the first time. That got 1.2 million viewers, way above anything saw previously on ITV4, and it was only behind BBC 1 F1 coverage for motorsport viewership in 2015. F1 going exclusively behind a paywall is a massive opportunity for lesser championships IMO on free to air channels. What about live motorsport once again on the BBC; why not? The BBC didn’t reject motorsport when they dumped F1; their reduction in funding for sport meant that F1’s fee was too costly.

I don’t think WEC or other endurance racing would appeal to the likes of the BBC, due to the length of the races and the very limited appeal. Would the BBC show a race for six hours? Despite what the endurance-only fanatics like to preach, WEC isn’t growing outside its pool of dedicated viewers.

Sky’s F1 coverage is generally excellent, but I have noticed a reduction in on-screen personnel and there is a rumour that the F1 channel will be dropped. I don’t necessarily think dumping the F1 channel will be such a bad thing; it is filled with repeats and during the week it really does look like a redundant channel. However, Sky has already illustrated their disinterest with other motorsport, are they cutting corners with their almost sole motorsport offering? I shall and wait and see if they continue to show to GP2 and GP3 at the very least…

Generally it saddens me that F1 will only be broadcasting to the preached and converted from 2019, not wanting to grow its viewership and make new F1 fans. I believe terrestrial coverage is what initially made a lot of people love F1, the power of accidental viewership is something that the sport will suffer from in the longer-term.
Twelfth Monkey

If the power were mine, I reckon you would be a good candidate for Bernie's job...

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