- Category: Formula 1
- Published on Sunday, 18 September 2011 15:24
- Written by Administrator
- Hits: 1449
F1's popularity has led to discussions at the very heart of the sport on how best to capitalise on their extremely valuable product. Some in the F1 hierarchy have been keen for a move to pay tv through the likes of Sky and their counterparts in other countries. Pay TV, as proven with the Premier League and the English Cricket Team, generates significantly higher returns on broadcasting rights than their free to air rivals.
The flip side of that coin, however, is that free-to-air television has a much greater reach, and with so much competition between sports for public attention, the greater numbers of people who can watch Formula 1, the better it is for the teams, and crucially, their sponsors.
One argument has been that pay TV is able to invest greater sums in the coverage of the sport, spearheading things like HD and 3D coverage. TV digital, however, means that most free-to-air broadcasters can match HD coverage, so this argument is rapidly becoming obsolete.
With the end of current broadcasting contracts in the UK rapidly arriving, a new deal between F1 and broadcasters was required, and they appear to have come to an agreement that offers the best of both worlds. From 2012, every Formula 1 race weekend, including practice, qualifying and, of course, the races, will be shown live and full on Sky, with the current broadcaster – the BBC – retaining the rights to half of the races, and full radio coverage.
This means that one of the most popular sports in the world will finally receive the same kind of revolutionary coverage that Sky has brought to other sports, and Sky are betting that when motorsport enthusiasts get to see the quality of their coverage it will encourage them – en masse – to sign up for Sky subscriptions.
Of course, whether this actually happens or not remains to be seen, but motorsport fans are more committed than most to put their money where their mouth is, so it may well be that the deal to show Formula 1 on pay tv makes great sense for all parties concerned, only time will tell.