Date:Sunday August 7 2011
Over a week may have passed since the announcement that the BBC and Sky Sports will be sharing F1 broadcasting rights next season, but the level of anger does not appear to be dissipating.
It would seem that no matter how much the bosses of Formula One back the new plans, the regular Formula One fan in the UK is not pleased.
This is highlighted by our very own Vital F1 poll, which currently shows that 84% of users are very angry over the BBC/Sky deal. A further 8% are a little annoyed, while only 8% are looking forward to it.
It would seem that the details are still being ironed out, but what is clear is Sky Sports will be the only place UK viewers will be able to watch every practice session, qualifying and race live until 2018.
Over the same period the BBC will screen free practice, qualifying and the race live from half of the events on the F1 calendar including the British Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix and the final race of the season.
Sky Sports will not be showing the races on their pay-per-view channel, which means that a full subscription to their sports channels will be required at a cost of around £30-per-month.
Sky have announced however that they will not be showing adverts during the race.
'We won't have adverts while the races are running. We know they were very unpopular in the past and we don't have to go down that route.' a spokesperson for Sky Sports told Autosport Magazine.
Sky Sports News will also cover pre and post-race analysis.
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes that the coverage Sky Sports will offer will actually expand the audience in the UK: 'It's good for Formula 1, For sure there are going to be a lot more people viewing, and a lot more opportunities for people to view, so from that point I'm very happy.
He added: 'one or two things might change a little.'
It is thought that one of those things could be what the BBC broadcast for the ten races that they do not have live coverage for.
The initial announcement suggested that the BBC would simply show a highlights package on Sunday evenings, but McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh revealed after a meeting with all the Formula One teams last weekend that the BBC could screen the whole race delayed.
'From what Bernie has said it's better than expected, The BBC will show every grand prix in full, half of them live and half of them deferred, so free-to-air is available to everyone. Whitmarsh said.
While Williams chairman Adam Parr added: 'I can understand why a British fan who has had free non-advert coverage, amazing content, and brilliant presenters will be saying that anything else is going to be less good,
'I am sorry that the BBC could not carry on doing what they are doing, but they made that decision.
Parr believes with the BBC cutting their budget due to cost cutting measures, this deal actually saved free-to-air coverage for Formula One.
'I think Bernie put this deal together to ensure that the fans would have as much of what they have been enjoying as possible.' he said when asked if there was a chance F1 could have left free-to-air television completely. 'If you are Bernie, and you are looking at the situation where your current partner is stopping – what do you do? I think he has sat back and put together something which is the best that could be done under the circumstances.'
While Formula One, the BBC and Sky Sports seems to be happy with the new seven-year deal, the only factor they will really be interested in is viewing figures.
While the Sky deal offers the teams an immediate bonus from the broadcasting rights fee, the teams heavily rely on the income sponsorship brings.
This season F1 has enjoyed some of its highest viewing figures for a decade. With over 6 million regularly turning to BBC for the races this season.
If that dramatically falls under Sky or if the BBC's figures drop because fans can no longer watch every race so they lose interest on a regular basis, will Formula One bosses continue to sing from the same hymn sheet when they begin to lose backing from sponsors?
Date:Sunday August 7 2011
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