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Virgin CEO raises concerns over BBC/Sky deal

Graeme Lowdon the CEO of Virgin Racing has raised concerns over the recently announced UK broadcasting deal which will see only half of the Formula One championship shown on free-to-air television.

With the BBC looking to cut costs a new broadcasting deal was reached with Sky Sports now showing every practice session, qualifying and race live on their subscription channels, while the BBC will just be showing half the races live.

Over the weekend we speculated on on how the teams would react to a drop in viewing figures when the new deal comes in to place next season.

We wrote: This season F1 has enjoyed some of its highest viewing figures for a decade. With over 6 million regularly turning to the 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?

Well one of the smaller teams on the Formula One grid has already asked that very same question.

'From the point of view of the commercial model there are potential mismatches between a broadcasting that maximises viewers and one that maximises revenue.

'Obviously that kind of thing needs to be addressed, but I'm sure it hasn't escaped those who are in involved. What's really important is to see what the fans think.'
Virgin Racing CEO Graeme Lowdon told Autosport Magazine.

'We are yet to see what it will actually mean, but the vast majority of our revenue - some 90 per cent of our revenue - comes from sponsors and partners, and they are very interested in ensuring that the fans enjoy the sport and are watching in maximum numbers.

'So it's really quite clear. Other teams don't have that kind of split, but everything develops in Formula 1 and I think it's pretty key to listen to what the fans want to see. We really have to see how it pans out.'

So what do the fans think? Well a quick glance at our on going poll on Vital F1 shows that the VF1 users are strongly against the new BBC/Sky partnership.

84% of those polled said they were Very angry, 4% A little annoyed, while 4% said they were not fussed and 8% said they were looking forward to the new set-up.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday August 9 2011

Time: 12:00PM

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Hmmmm wonder how long it'll be until others wake up and smell the coffee

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