This is the last F1 race before Sky come into the sport and start their blanket pay TV coverage which will run until at least 2018. It will be a big change in the way F1 fans in the UK watch the sport. Meanwhile BBC has released details of the 10 races it will cover live.
Sky wants to appeal to F1 fans, giving existing subscribers another reason to continue paying, avoiding the dreaded “churn” as it is called when subscribers cancel.
And it hopes to attract at least 150,000 new subscribers, which would be roughly the break-even point against the rights fee and production budget spend.
And as part of their offering they have, as predicted, announced a dedicated F1 channel which will be available to subscribers who have Sky Sports package, which costs around £45 per month, or an HD package, which costs an additional £15 a month on top of a basic subscription. It will be found at channel 408 in Sky’s on-screen guide. It will carry all the F1 practice sessions as well as interactive features which allow fans to access on board cameras and as much data as Sky can get out of FOM.
All the live coverage will also be available via internet on Sky Go, through online, mobile or tablet devices, accessible by those with a Sky subscription.
Sky Sport boss Barney Francis said, “We have big plans for live shows and a rich line-up of Formula 1 programmes; getting to the drivers, exploring the technology and lapping up the drama.
“With a dedicated channel for Formula 1 we can also give all sports fans the depth and breadth of sports they demand every weekend, right through the year.”
I believe Sky’s rugby presenter Simon Lazenby will front the coverage and it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what their commentary line up is going to be. It should be announced in the next week.
Sky will have a good run at establishing itself as the BBC will start its live coverage at the third event in China.
It will then broadcast Spain, Monaco, Valencia, Britain, Belgium, Singapore, Korea, Abu Dhabi and Brazil. At these events there will be qualifying coverage as well as practice online and on the Red Button and a highlights show.
For the 10 races which are exclusively live on Sky, a 90 minute highlights show will be on the BBC starting at 5-30pm, while for Far East races and Australia it will be a two hour show starting at 2pm.