Why I stopped watching F1

When it was announced that Formula 1 coverage would be shared between BBC and Sky (this corporation will be referred to as S*y in the rest of the article) many fans were outraged to lose part of the previously free-to-air coverage, and even more so when details of the price of S*y Package would cost them. F1 fans would have to pay £45/month for the S*y Sports package or they can get the HD package, which costs an additional £15 a month on top of a basic subscription.

I too am annoyed about this “deal” for two main reasons. Firstly, several Formula 1 fans in the UK already enduring a tough economic crisis, will miss out the coverage from next year due to the relatively high cost of a subscription. Secondly, others who can afford the subscription fee but have a strong dislike of the Murdoch empire, now have no choice on whom to receive the service from.

F1 on TV
I started watching F1 regularly in 2007 on ITV, a terrestrial UK channel. Advertisement-breaks in the middle of exciting races were annoying but one got used to it. Besides, there was no alternative medium and unfortunately no Twitter updates. When BBC took over in 2009, I was pleasantly surprised how much better the coverage was and how the lack of adverts made it a more enjoyable experience.

Pit Lane

After just two years on the BBC, it was announced on 29th of July 2011 that the coverage would be split between the BBC and S*y from 2012 to 2018. I don’t profess to have in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of corporate finance, but I have always disliked Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. This feeling was further compounded by the recent phone hacking enquiry and the resulting closure of News of the World Newspaper.

For those who may not be aware of the link, Murdoch is the founder, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation – the parent company of Fox News, News of the World and it owns 39.1% of BSkyB (which trades as S*y).

Don’t get me wrong, I admire business people and entrepreneurs but I believe that one can thrive in business without resorting to dubious tactics. For instance, I would much rather Richard Branson’s Virgin Media got the rights to broadcast the sport. I like Branson’s enthusiastic and engaging style of business and Virgin Media would be a much better fit to F1 especially since one of its “sister companies” sponsor(ed) a F1 Team (Marussia Virgin – soon to be renamed Marussia).

No doubt S*y will have more resources to keep the sport exciting; with extended coverage, analysis, in-depth discussions and commentary from BBC presenters who have defected. But those are not enough to persuade me to “increase the empire’s revenue”.

So, hard as it may be, I will not be taking out a S*y subscription to watch F1. Nor will I be looking for a pub which has a subscription. Perhaps the experience will be too different without live coverage for entire race calendar and I lose interest in the sport gradually. Or maybe I’ll fall off my “ethical wagon” after a few races and look for S*y footage…… but I would have at least TRIED to stick to my convictions.
Besides the BBC is planning to show highlights of all the races shown on S*y and I’ve got Twitter to keep me updated on the race or better yet, this would be a good reason to get tickets and watch the races live!

Belgian GP, Spa 2009

Hole punch
Those who might miss out on F1 due to affordability of the subscription fee can easily find pubs/sport bars willing to cater to their needs. In fact, @f1inpubs has just been set up to help fans find places showing F1 races, and should encourage fans to meet up regularly to watch and discuss races.

You could punch holes in my decision or stance – you could argue: “why boycott S*y, why not boycott F1 as a whole?” We know it isn’t the fairest or the most ethical sport or business to be engaged in. To that, I’d argue (albeit weakly) that “that ship has sailed” in terms of my love for the sport. Besides, I don’t see anyone else turning their backs on cricket after several “No Balls” allegations or on football for “Diving for Penalties”.

But corruption and phone-hacking is in another league. It is unethical and incredibly voracious of Murdoch’s newspaper journalists to go to such lengths for “exclusive” stories.

This is not meant to be a piece on ethics in F1; but in the near future, it might just explain why I stopped watching F1. I do wonder how many people who were outraged by the News of the World tactics, would happily take out a S*y subscription?


Leave a comment


  1. I'm with you. Absolutely no way I can afford £45 and even if I could I don't think I would want to. £45/month is a massive amount of money just to watch half an F1 season. I will try getting by with the BBC highlight shows or see if there is a website which is streaming the race. F1 is becoming an inaccessible sport to the everyday normal person and they wonder why fan numbers are dropping. It's not because the sport is uninteresting and needs more pit stops, or fancy gimicks, it's just too expensive to become a dedicated fan. I'd love to go to watch races live but with the cheapest tickets knocking around £200 I think I'll stay at home and watch Eastenders instead!

  2. Hi Dusky,First of all, well done for putting your thoughts into words. I appreciate and understand your moral stance but I can't see me following suit. Sure I'd love the sport to stay with the BBC or an another free to air channel but it's a fact of life that it costs too much for a public broadcaster. Is that Bernie's fault, absolutely! The sport is fast becoming unafordable to many fans who can't afford to see races live and now can't afford to see it on TV either. It would serve him right if viewing figures and takings fell flat on their face but they will just find other markets to milk instead of the tradional European viewers.Will I watch Sky? I already have the entertainment package and HD, so for me, there will be no change in cost but I will have to see. For me, the Sky deal means that the sport has lost some of its sparkle, it used to be a social occasion, several of us chatting live during a race, enjoying the highs and lows and arguing about the merits of penalties and the like. That will all be gone with the Sky deal as many drift away to watch highlights in the evening or give up entirely.For me it's not simply a decision about watching Sky or not, it's also about whether I have the motivation to continue with a website to which I have devoted the majority of my free time for the last 3.5 years… will that survive with a highlights show several hours after the event? I just don't know, I wish I did. I may yet follow you into the sidelines

  3. I can't really imagine how UK F1 fans must feel about this Sky deal. It's seen that money is always a priority and it doesn't matter how many people would be affected. Anyway, some people don't see F1 as a sport, but as a business.

  4. There is absolutely no possibility of me contributing to Sky's viewing figures (even the pubs are out of the question as the only one carrying Sky Sports within walking distance also has a worrying number of football hooligans and their cronies). Thankfully Radio 5 Live plus Twitter will keep me up to date (and BBC highlights should do as a visual replay package for the races that turn out to be classics). That is, after all, more or less how I watch sportscar races, and that's worked quite well for the last 2 years. I get the impression my parents will stop watching though; they can't follow half a live season, the highlights package is at a bad time of day for them (too late for the "lunchtime" ones, too early for the "evening" ones) and will inevitably be incomplete and they don't find the radio/internet combination attractive and wouldn't take Sky even if they could.My blog will almost certainly refocus rather than die, but I fear strongly for F1's future as a commercially-viable entity. This deal may well be its downfall.

  5. If you go to a bar, 2, 3 times a month, you're going to be spending money that could pay for a baseline subsciption, or do you think they'll let you in for free to watch 2-2.5 hours of F1 without buying something. I remember when football went over to sky. The same things were being said at the time and within a few months of not buying, everyone did. I get kind of philosophical about this; I love sport, cricket and F1 being my favourite. When cricket went to sky, I was a bit pissed, but bought it. Now I have it, it's good, costs me £10 a week, shows infintely more M'Sport and cricket than I had before and has made me more aware of different sports, and different classes of sport within my sports. I also get to watch Prem football and rugby, all internationals. For me, I dont care who shows it, as long as I cna see it, as I love it. If Murdoch wasn't taking our money, someone else would be. I am not one for sledging Bill Gates because I have to use his software for business. Thats just life I am afraid. My money is here for anyone who'll argue that 99% of the people who say they'll not watch sky do within 5 months

  6. I agree entirely with your views, but having joined an F1 pressure group and getting obfuscation, lies and silence in equal measure from the BBC, and hearing comments from the teams which places their knowledge of their fans somewhere north of Mars, I won't be watching F1 at all.

  7. It is worth pointing out the minimum cost is £30.25 for the entertainment pack with the HD addon which includes the F1 channel. But that's still more than I'm able to afford.I have a problem with Murdoch for reasons other than phone hacking etc, more to do with control of world media such that they practically control elections. BUT I wouldn't have a problem using the Sky platform. The people who operate the TV service (outside News) have nothing to do with any of this. I would register my dislike via other means – not buying his newspapers, never watching Sky News.

  8. F1 has always been about the money, and is corporate, is proud to be corporate. BSkyB are not owned by News Corp, they merely own part of it. For me, like when cricket was put across the sky, most purists thought the sky would fall in, but what has happened, is that the coverage has improved, the money put into the game has improved England as a team, so much, that we're now number 1 and the ana;lysis has been magic, and has improved an armchairs pundits enjoyment, and understanding of the game. They should be applauded for what they have done to most sports theyve been involved with.For me, F1 coverage will imrpove under Sky's tutelege and I cant wait.Its just a business and were it not sky, it would be someone else; better the devil you know etc.Roll on Feb

  9. Hi DuskyWhile i agree with much of the sentiments about sky and the murdoch empire.You have to remember that we have been forced into this situation by bernie for money and the bbc due to cutbacks – not exactly geat bedfellows and it was gonna go somewhere else whether we liked it or not. I love F1 and has been a major interest in my life for over 20 years and maybe i'm a slave to it. But i will do what i can to see all the races. At the moment that is up in the air as i'm with virgin media and they don't have a deal yet so we'll have to see what happens. I've recently joined twitter and got to chat to knowledgeable guys such as yourself and i hope that continues in some shape or form about the sport we clearly love!!

  10. I am in agreement with you on the Murdoch issue, they are crooks and I will not give them my hard earned cash, even if I could afford $ky which I can't, I would not buy it. another issue I have is the way none of the teams have even tried to help out the UK F1 fans, after many years of loyal following none of the teams would back the fans and be their voice, this I can not forgive and as a result it will make not watching F1 anomre a lot easier for me. Sir JGP

  11. Paul, they might have said the same things about football, but they also said the same things about cricket, golf and contact sports. WWE had success on the pay platform but other forms of contact sport and the entirety of cricket and golf faced disaster. The supposedly-improved coverage was irrelevant because hardly anybody ever saw it. Maybe 20% of the cricket audience went to Radio 4 Longwave and the rest vanished into thin air. Similar story in golf. Boxing was slightly better because some people kept their interest through WWE's excellent marketing department, but other boxing code audiences collapsed wholesale.Football worked because people who couldn't transfer straight away could still get a season ticket to their local team and therefore keep the supporting spirit kindled while saving up for a subscription. Most other major sports don't have that. I don't see anything that indicates F1 is more like football than, say, cricket, golf or contact sports. In fact, the unusually high fees charged by Bernie are a major contra-indicator that those other sports didn't have.Many of us have not the slightest interest in watching the other sports on Sky's package. The package is obviously a lot cheaper for people who will use the other sports on the package than people who are only after the 10 F1 races BBC doesn't have on live TV. (The non-F1 racing I'm interested in isn't covered by Sky at all, but is on BBC or Radio Le Mans). Of course, the people who move because of other sports in addition to F1 will be making Sky's life a bit harder because their subscription fees have to be shared across more sports.As for the software comments, Bill Gates might provide my operating system, but free-of-charge open source programmers provide most of the remaining software because I've found they often do a better job than the companies that charge money. Taking that into account (and also that many people don't use Bill's operating system because they find other people's to be better), it is entirely justifiable to slate Microsoft's approach to a great deal of things. This isn't a perfect analogy because broadcasting is a somewhat more expensive proposition than programming, and Sky's massively reduced audience means it will be able to better concentrate on what makes that small audience happy. However, slating is still appropriate, especially when Sky was only able to get the rights because Bernie didn't consider what was in F1's best interests in the medium term. After all, he was entitled to force the BBC to pay its entire fee for the remaining two years whether it broadcast F1 or not…I'm not worried about whether Sky's coverage will be better. F1 Digital's coverage was better than the BBC's and it didn't work out for similar reasons (but even more so). However, that was a pet project and only ever on the periphery of F1. This is a front-and-centre experiment in one of F1's four biggest markets, on a similar arrangement that's already failed for Sky in Italy and Germany. This is all stuff that Sky should have worked out itself before accepting the BBC's idea, but apparently didn't. The difference being that for the many who find pay TV's not an option, the choice is to use the radio or stop watching. Failure is practically inevitable if the past is anything to go by, and if Sky fails there is nobody to bid higher in the UK – Bernie will have to accept a lower fee if he doesn't want to lose the 15% of total media income the UK can offer. If the UK forces that dilemma, rest assured every other country will follow suit – and Bernie's plan to pay off CVC's many loans by forcing the media to pay top dollar will fail. F1 will then have to make huge cutbacks or accept that it will cease to exist. For want of a nail…

  12. Anonymous, I don't think any of the teams were in a position to help. The deal got through due to a crafty loophole which the teams didn't realise was there until it was too late.

  13. @Alianora La Canta. there was nothing stopping the teams from voicing concerns and trying to get $ky to offer a better deal or even better presure the BBC to show full reruns of all the races not just highlights. The loophole is there and they should have known it, they pay a fortune on leagal people to go over these contracts, as a result they stand a big chance of losing suppporters and viewers. The truth is the fans are of no importance to them and as a result we were not worth thire time. Sir JGP

  14. I'll answer paragraph by paragraph, as its a bit of a tome:How has cricket faced disaster? We're rated the best team in the world; in less than 10 years of sky tutelage, we've become world champions for the first time ever. Football worked straight away, straight away. F1 is an expensive sport, always has been and I have long been surprised its taken this long. It will work, because true fans will find a way to watch it. Not forking out £10 a week to watch F1, and other excellent motorsports it covers, including live Le Mans, et al, is simply posturising. I have never met one person solely interested in F1 as their only sporting passion. Never, and I'd find it odd if I did. I love rallying, CART, Endurance racing, historic racing, NASCAR, V8 supercars, regional motorsport, and many others, all catered for on Sky.Every sport I have seen sky provide coverage for, the coverage has been better than previously on offer; better analysis, better analystical tools, more coverage, more cameras, better cameras. Every time they have come to a new sport, to them, they have improved the coverage, and brought in innovative ideas.I run a professional IT consultancy. I've not seen one operate an open source architecture. Being in the business, I've not once been asked to provide a full open source end product, and dont see I ever will, especially in my industry; large scale computing is not scaleable, fiancially, with open source software, given the server infrastructure needed is by a magnitude more expensive.As for it being a failure, it will not be a failure, not at all. Nothing it has done, sport related, has been a failure. Many people have sky now, many more will come March. If Sky only bring 10% of the BBC to paytv, this would be a resounding success; I'd venure they bring a lot more.All I have seen, against Sky, is rhetoric, the very same rhetoric I heard when they took over football, rugby and cricket. Not exactly failures for them are they?

  15. Anonymous, cricket has encountered disaster because it's gone from 10 million British fans to just under 2 million, and has been overtaken in terms of importance and wealth by upstart IPL (which has little footprint in the UK, thus underlining the damage Sky did to cricket). Quite how losing 80% of the audience and a position as top tier of cricket is not a disaster escapes me.The only rugby matches with good figures are the ones done on free-to-air, and they effectively subsidise the pay TV matches.Football worked for reasons upon which F1 cannot rely (not every town has a F1 circuit but pretty much every town has a decent football team). F1 is such an expensive sport that it needs the audience reach of live free-to-air to work. That's been proven in Italy and Germany already, where Sky has had to back out of similar agreements for the reasons I've outlined previously. I've met lots of people whose only sporting interest is F1, and a fair number whose only non-F1 sporting interests are in things pay TV doesn't cover as well as free-to-air (or doesn't cover at all). The people I know who watch sports on pay platforms other than F1 are very much in the minority. You say endurance racing is catered for on Sky. I can tell you from experiences online friends have had that it's not covered very well. You get LM24, albeit with channel switching and occasional loss of time due to sticking random pre-recorded interviews in key parts of the race, but the other races are patchy at best, so you still end up needing free-to-air radio (preferably teamed with free live timing) to get anything resembling the full picture. That is one example of Sky providing a worse product than free-to-air, and I suspect it wouldn't be the only one. It doesn't matter if the coverage is better if not enough people see it to pay for its production. Sky would need a million new customers switching to see F1 and only F1 (if they switch to see other channels too, the number needed skyrockets because their contribution has to be shared among more of Sky's contracts). Nothing Sky broadcasts gets that sort of audience apart from the occasional international football game. To work, F1 would have to be more attractive to people who've never bought Sky before than football is to people who already have the relevant Sky packages at its peak. It would need about 25% of the BBC's average audience to break even, taking into account the people who already had Sky (and therefore wouldn't help Sky to pay Bernie), and there's no way that Sky would keep a series that won't break even. This is borne out by the BARB statistics for Sky programming. That's the mistake Sky's making here. The failure is obvious on a basic mathematical and economic level and I'm astonished you can't see it. Those are the facts and I'm still waiting for a counter-response that addresses them. Oh well, one out of four won't be bad – except for F1, which I care a lot more about than Sky's profitability. It's because I care about F1 that I would be logically obliged to refuse Sky even if all the reasons in the blog didn't apply.People seeking open source software tend to go to people already experienced in it because there are lots of good open source programmers already. Since you don't have experience in open source, you'll not get any client requests in that area unless and until you get experience in that area. It's the sort of decision that gets made before a consultant is requested, not afterwards. Put it this way: would you expect a company to ask you, a Microsoft expert, to go fix an IT problem consisting entirely of Apples? Thought not.

  16. Anonymous, by the time the teams knew about the deal it was a fait accompli and I'm pretty sure Bernie would have forbidden the BBC to do a full race broadcast. In fact, I'm surprised the BBC's being allowed to do as many as 90 minutes, given Bernie's track record and previous contractual demands. The only way to disprove this particular loophole exists requires the contract to run in this format for at least one year. By not watching Sky, my actions help prove the case that the loophole Bernie exploited was not really there in the first place. But it will take the collective actions of the British fanbase to prove the matter one way or the other. (In case you're wondering, they can't just stick a "free-to-air only" clause in because that would break contracts in several countries where there either isn't a free-to-air option that's as popular as a pay option or where people are happy to pay what is usually a much smaller amount than Sky UK charges to get their fix).I know from interaction with the teams that the fans are of much more importance to them than they are to Bernie.

  17. I disagree about cricket being compared to IPL; there's a billion cricket mad people watching IPL, if anything, coverage of IPL in India has led to the decline in the standards of test cricket in India, and to a decline in its crowds, completely the opposite of the point you are making; better coverage has made it more popular than the game it was spwned from. In the UK, cricket, proper test cricket is prospering, test grounds are full, and we're world champions. In India, IPL is king, and proper text cricket is in decline; quite the opposite wouldn't you say?Rugby matches are very well subscribed, as are the matches, in fact, theres more money in rigby union now than at any time; it has never been healthier and as for it having more people on free to air; go figure. It still is thriving due to skys involvement, not in spite of it.I reiterate, I have never, EVER, met someone who likes F1, and nothing else. Never, and, to be frank, I'd have to query their love of F1, if F1 was all they wanted to watch; very odd thing to say. As for Italy and Germany, well, they're different markets, different business models. However, you have 2 countries. Look to Japan, Brasil, some of the newer countries and its all paytv. As for sky needing 1m new customers, well, thats ill thought out, as they'd be getting £40m from Subscriptions alone, more than they have for football. I dont suppose you've considered advertising in their business plan have you? Or do you think the main part of their revenue is from subscriptions? Well, sorry, but you're naive beyond belief if you think subscription alone covers their football commitment alone. I have never before read such unresearched nonesense.I have 25 years of open source programming experience thank you. I also get many requests for certain elements of a project to be open source, but not the enterprise solutions, as they dont make commercial sense. It's not the fact the software is free, as software licensing doesn't add up to very much at all, in an enterprise solution, its the hardware. Linux able hardware is ferociously expensive and hard to maintain. 1 HP Linux server would cost the same as 10 windows server. If you're talking about open source programmers, well, jesus, I can pick a code monkey up for £150 a day, that isn't the issue here, the issue is about open source solutions, but again, I feel you're too blind to the obvious to link whats been said; I have not once said I am a Microsoft expert, and it's very foolish of you to assume that; I am a GIS expert, proficient in many languages and technologies, and I am no consultant, I own a consultancy, which is very different. I have built software for some rather large names in the World. Please don't be so stupid as to make puerile assumptions about what I am. People tending to look for GIS, look for GIS experts, and get something scoped, planned and designed for them, no one looks for an open source programmer, you get the monkeys in after the proper work has been done. If you knew anything about complex back office solutions, coding approimates around 30% of cost and time. The coding is the easy part, and is why code monkeys don't earn the large moolahPutting all of that succinctly, Sky's business model has not been based on profitability on subscription alone, and I am astonised that you appear to think thats the case. Look at all of the brands involved in F1 and you'll see that there's plenty of money to be made. Million new customers, jesus wept, where do you get this stuff from?

  18. Murdock is not someone I want to support with a single penny of mine. I don't buy his newspapers and I won't buy his TV, and this was before the latest disgraceful revelations about the News of the World. There is plenty of other things to entertain me, I had got back into F1 with the bbc coverage, but I can see me drifting away from it again.

  19. Comment from @F1inPubsI think F1 on Sky will ultimate prove to be a good thing. Especially with a purely dedicated channel. Sadly however, I think this will be the end of F1 completely on the BBC after 2012. Despite the fact they have F1 til 2018, I can't see the BBC being able to compete with the live coverage of Sky. Fans will split between the 2 providers around Sky 70:30 BBC especially as Sky will have a whopping 3 races before the BBC even gets a look in… That's enough time to make a significant viewer impact and build enough of a momentum to eclipse the BBC.On a seperate note, as Dusky Blogger has pointed out in their post. I front F1 in Pubs http://www.f1inpubs.co.uk.F1 in Pubs is an idea I've been thinking of for a while in bringing F1 fans together to watch F1 over a relaxed setting, grab a drink/food etc and meet other like minded fans.Some might argue F1 isn't a pub sport and nobody really wants to watch it together… I don't go with that as I've organised smaller F1 get togethers in London for some time now and had lots of interest with different people turning up. Badger GP for example, has held very successful get-togethers, with tickets selling out!The only downside of some of the other F1 fan meetups is that the organisers seem to either want to make some sort of profit or charge for the use of the venue. However, there are many pubs, not bars, out there that have Sky Sports and BBC and would very gladly show F1 – with no venue entry fee – although they'd expect you to by a drink or two.On the BSkyB perspective, F1 in Pubs is a perfect idea! As they'll be some F1 fans who won't pay out for Sky – heading to a Sky Sports pub is just as good. The more people who watch Sky Sports at a pub means the pub makes money – can pay Sky. More pubs will want Sky, more publicity for both pub and Sky, etc etc etc.So F1 in Pubs aims to revolutionize the fan experience and create something that is truly grassroot led. Visit http://www.f1inpubs.co.uk and sign up to our mailing list to keep informed of what we're doing. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.For now, it's mainly just me organising things alone from a computer in my flat – and London will be the primary place it will work from. But there's been lots of interest so I'm sure it will grow.Good blog by the way!

  20. I have answered most of the Sky point in my own blog due to lack of space. Even so, this will take 2 comments.IPL took advantage of the weakness of test cricket (worldwide – it wanted to stay traditional and an increasing number of Indians in particular wanted a faster-moving game). That's the sort of market exploitation that happens when sports become businesses. Sky left 1.75 million cricket fans without visual contact with their sport at international level (not including the 8 million fans who vanished), so naturally a number of them started following IPL (prompting ITV4 to get it). My point was unrelated to Indian test cricket, but very much related to British cricket board decisions. If IPL is weakening Indian test cricket it is because it is offering a new and attractive way to enjoy cricket. What's happening in India is the natural evolution of sport. What's happening in the UK is commercialism demolishing a sport's support base and getting away with it due to relatively low sanctioning fees. Simply because Anonymous thinks cutting 80% of the test cricket fan base constitues prospering doesn't mean it is.Football was on a platform not allowing advertising before it went to Sky. The nation's favourite sport, shown in greater numbers than before (which counteracted the inevitable loss of viewers-per-match) and football's first-mover advantage led to a vast amount being attracted in advertising revenue. None of those applies to F1, cricket, rugby, golf or contact sports, which is why an objective viewer has to regard the transfer of those to pay TV as a failure for the sports (even if in the non-F1 cases Sky made it work for itself – mostly).The non-football sports survived despite transferring to Sky because other avenues of revenue have exploded in the last decade or two. Sponsorship, once quite rare for a series, has become huge money, especially for drinks companies who would struggle to advertise in certain international markets through the standard methods. Ticket prices skyrocketed, turning the weekly patronage of a favourite sport to an occasional treat for the poor without turning away the rich (in fact, with more focus on rich clients as seen in the past decade, the rich are pouring in as they spy networking and hob-nobbing opportunities). The sponsorship alone accounts for why there's more money in disability swimming than ever despite it having no media profile worthy of the name and free tickets to nearly all events. The latter is why the Paddock Club in F1 is worth over 10% of the total income of F1 despite serving a maximum of 5000 people per race.

  21. (Part 2)Japan and Brazil are almost entirely free-to-air, with pay TV catering to a small audience (and paying Bernie a fee that makes sense given their small audience, unlike Sky). The smaller countries that went to pay TV have seen their figures fall. In the last 36 months, F1 has stopped pay TV broadcasting in Germany, Italy, Peru, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand.Peru doesn't appear to get F1 any more. Switzerland and Austria had their rights taken up by German TV, which is now in the hands of a free-to-air service. Thailand's was taken by a native free-to-air channel. Germany and Italy simply went to the free-to-air channel that had held the rights alongside the pay channel. These failures are not a coincidence.I think the main part of Sky's football revenues comes from something F1 demonstrably cannot provide. If they could, ITV would still have had the rights now. It doesn't, because the scraps of the football table offer much better advertising revenue than all of F1 combined.As for the open source paragraph… …there's so much wrong with what you wrote that it would take ages to provide the corrections. Certainly with regard to the support charges, I can quite easily show you much cheaper open source rates than anything Microsoft can provide. As for the rest, a formal open source community should be able to answer any questions quite handily, but since this is a F1 blog nattering about it here would likely not be appreciated.The other Anonymous, you might want to try Radio 5 Live, combined with Twitter and the live timing service. They're still free-to-air and accessible over the internet. I believe these will keep people reasonably up-to-speed.F1 in Pubs, good luck with that – whatever happens with the next contract, this contract is definitely split. Having someone co-ordinating that alternate option is a good thing. I won't be doing that because the only pub near enough to me with Sky (or a TV) has a football hooligan crowd, but others will likely find it useful.

  22. You make good points. It's taken years to get F1 from a gentleman's sport to the masses. Now it is just being undone like that.Sky is not an organisation I feel formula 1 should associate with, especially in the light of the phone hacking scandal. I do not deny that with Martin Brundle on board they are going to have a good presenting team, but the BBC was working well as it was. It saddens me that this has happened, and for now at least I will be doing what I can do avoid following the sky footage to. Anyone interested in seeing if we can make our own F1 dedicated broadcast? i.e. get the stream and commentate on it ourselves?

  23. I hope the rumors about Al Jazeera are true (bidding for Premier League rights in the UK). Maybe that will teach a lesson to the the Murdoch family.

  24. Anonymous, Sky had its monopoly of Premiership football rights broken up as it was deemed too monopolistic. Simply because Al Jazeera are bidding doesn’t necessarily mean they’re after the bit Sky’s currently doing.

  25. Matt

     /  March 10, 2012

    Totally agree mate. I was astounded how many hypocrites on Twitter last night were “looking forward to S*y F1” after slating them all summer. I got abuse for stating it, saying if I didn’t take out a package then I wasn’t a true F1 fan! The BBC coverage is two hours long anyway – so long enough to show the full race if they wish! It won’t be long before Motorsport finds itself in the same situation as football.


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