F1 continues trend for pay channel TV deals 15 February, 2013 More and more countries have followed Britain’s lead in seeing their exclusive free-to-air television coverage of Formula 1 end. The first bombshell was last year, when the split arrangement between pay-channel Sky and the BBC began for the British audience. Sky’s German arm has shared coverage with free-to-air RTL for years. But on the heels of the British deal, the next was in Italy, where Sky Italia acquired the exclusive live rights for 2013 and beyond, sharing half the season with an unidentified free-to-air broadcaster. Earlier in February, it emerged that pay broadcaster Sport1 has taken over the F1 rights in the Netherlands, ending free-to-air RTL7’s long association with the sport. Now, France is following suit, with reports TF1 – the country’s F1 broadcaster since 1992 – has lost its exclusive coverage of formula one to Canal+. Canal+, a pay-channel, has inked a three-year deal with F1, featuring only a Sunday magazine programme for the free-to-air audience. French media source RMC Sport said Canal+ is paying EUR 29 million per year for the deal. The sports daily L’Equipe said the French broadcasting news is a “small earthquake in the world of formula one”. TF1’s communications chief Frederic Ivernel suggested to the French news agency AFP that it lost the deal simply because it was outbid by Canal+. “We cannot invest money in extravagant sports rights without it being profitable,” he said. (GMM) Tweet [email protected] If This Trend Was In Place At The FRANCE79 Race, I Would Not Have Had The Chance To Give A Damn About F1. For Some Countries, Going To The Venues Is Extremely Expensive, And The Other Option Of Seeing It Free In Public Television Will Disappear, In A Heartbeat. Triple Play Is Growing, But Not Everyone Is Willing To Pay Extra For Premium Sports Channels, If They Are Not Already Addicted Fans – And Future Potential Fans Are Not Addicted Because They Were Not Given An Easy Chance To Be Fans, Yet. TOONED Was The Only Recent And Decent Thing Created To Attract New Fans, But That Is Not Enough Because Deceased Old Fans Will Disappear Faster Than New Fans Can Replace Them. Considering Family, Neighbors And Coworkers, It Is Almost Hard For Me To Remember The Last Time I Met An F1 Fan In Person, Because I Never Attended A Race And Can Not See That Happening In The Foreseeable Future. Sigh… Go, HAMILTON ! Bec … And continues to lose viewers. Unique viewers in the UK down 22% on 2011 figures. Meaning some teams are struggling to find sponsors, and we’ve already seen 1 team fold. Although while the top teams have been offered 70 million more from the new lucrative TV deals, it’s the rest that are paying the price. Ian I’m waiting (in vain, thus far) for F1’s sponsors to react to the enormous loss of viewing audience as F1 moves to pay channels. Are all those global brands really happy to pay huge sums to have their names on F1 cars, only for a small paying audience instead of the millions attracted to free-to-air television? If so, then Ecclestone’s strategy of milking every possible penny out of the “sport” can be justified, if only on financial grounds. If not, if the sponsors wake up & realise that they’re advertising themselves to a too-small audience to justify the costs, then even Mr E & CVC Partners will have to reconsider their avaricious business model. Neither one of them gives half a damn about the sport or about the audience that built it, sadly. Pfffft F1 doesn’t really seem to care what their fans want or like. It is all about Bernie being able to come up with more money for his daughters to maintain their lavish lifestyle.