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Should the F1 season finale be available on free to air TV in the UK? [Edit: It will]


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#1 SophieB

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 20:40

Asking because there is precedent in other sports, such as Tennis where earlier this year C4 secured the rights to show the US Open Final live as because of increased local interest even though Amazon Prime had the exclusive live rights. Yet sadly, judging from our own ever-excellent D.M.N., looks like Liberty won't be following suit, so we currently have the most exciting end of a season in decades and the biggest show in town is going out to the relatively niche market of Sky plus the admittedly excellent radio coverage.

 

 

Speaking to Motorsport Broadcasting last week, a Sky spokesperson said it was “unlikely” that the season finale would be made available on a free-to-air basis.

Highlights of the race will air on Channel 4 in an early evening time slot, with qualifying airing at 18:55 on Saturday, with race at 17:30 on Sunday, three hours after the chequered flag has fallen.

 

 

https://motorsportbr...abi-grand-prix/

 

Seems a shame! In the event of anything changing at the last minute, I will update this thread. As it is, not expecting it to run and run, but one more reminder of what is missing in terms of mass shared interest. 

 



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#2 Risil

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 20:58

I'm a bit annoyed about this too because I think everyone should've had the chance to enjoy the absolutely glorious mess that F1 2021 has been.



#3 pdac

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 21:50

It would be very nice for me, but I have to feel that Sky paid up to have the exclusive rights and so if I were them, I'd be miffed if Liberty allowed someone else access to the live feed. The problem, of course, is that Liberty/Bernie were allowed to sell exclusive rights (and duly did so). With my lefty hat on, I don't think exclusivity should be allowed anywhere in life.



#4 retrogeezer

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 21:57

I'm sure C4 used to show Silverstone AND the finale live?  



#5 Ultraviolet

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 21:58

Yes.



#6 TomNokoe

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 22:00

I wonder if there's maybe an argument around whose broadcast they use i.e. Sky may only allow this if Channel 4 run the Sky production and commentary, rather than using their own team, which C4 don't want to do.

Total hunch.

#7 danmills

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 22:12

It is unusual that a global sport as big as this doesn't have exceptions especially when a massive British star is on the cusp of mot just winning but record breaking.

There are rules for having monopolies on many things. Or shared broadcasting rights like the world cup. And Ch4 are there with their entire team. Madness how Sky are allowed.


Edited by danmills, 06 December 2021 - 22:21.


#8 pacificquay

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 22:23

No.

 

I pay for a Sky subscription on the basis I’m getting exclusive content.

 

They can’t subsequently give that away free.



#9 PayasYouRace

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 22:34

If not free to air at least free to stream.

 

Take F1 back to the people!



#10 Spillage

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 22:42

All F1 races should be free to air!

I say yes, but I have selifsh reasons. I like C4's coverage more than Sky's and would much prefer to watch it live on C4.

#11 pdac

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 23:00

No.

 

I pay for a Sky subscription on the basis I’m getting exclusive content.

 

They can’t subsequently give that away free.

 

I don't pay, so I do not get the coverage. That's how it works (and how it should work) in a free market.

 

Whether there should be a free market is the question that should be asked (and if it were, I would say "no"). Whilst there is, I have the choice of paying to see it live or suffer. I chose the latter, you chose the former. Nothing wrong with either.



#12 Fastcake

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 23:14

I love the idea. It would be nice for Formula One to be part of a national conversation in a way the US Open final was. I don't think there's anything better than a whole nation eagerly watching England heartbreakingly lose or Raducanu heartwarmingly win together. Contrast to a fraction of the audience watching live while the rest passively read up on it over the next day, rather robbing the sport of the chance of breaking out.

 

Unfortunately though, it would take an act of uncommon charity by Sky, or some monumental willingness on Liberty's part to buy out the rights to the final race to see it happen.

 

That US Open final deal was not normal. Channel 4 took a deal that was commercially foolish - zero advertising, total Amazon package and branding, a total loss for a usual commercial channel - but as a public broadcaster under immense political pressure, politically essential for it's survival. It should also be pointed out that the government played a role making it very clear to everyone it was in their interests to cooperate. A similar thing happened two years ago with the Cricket World Cup final - the government was also very insistent that Sky and the rightsholders ensure it be available free to air.

 

Sport can be made available to all if there is political will to do so. There does not appear to be any for Formula One, alas.



#13 Fatgadget

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 23:23

F1 no longer free to watch  reason why it's become  meh...in the UK..



#14 Fatgadget

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 23:27

I'm a bit annoyed about this too because I think everyone should've had the chance to enjoy the absolutely glorious mess that F1 2021 has been.

Well. A bit late complaining now.You and everyone sleep walked into this one lol!



#15 Risil

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 23:34

Well. A bit late complaining now.You and everyone sleep walked into this one lol!


I had nothing to do with it! Also I'm sad enough to enjoy F1 on the radio.

#16 Clatter

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 00:06

Well. A bit late complaining now.You and everyone sleep walked into this one lol!

Who sleep walked into what? We had no say in the matter when BE sold off the rights to the highest bidder.

#17 pdac

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 00:43

Who sleep walked into what? We had no say in the matter when BE sold off the rights to the highest bidder.

 

To be fair, if every single fan in the UK rejected the idea of signing up to Sky and just quit following F1, then I think the deal might have been adjusted somewhat.



#18 beachdrifter

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 00:48

There's also... the internet.



#19 William Hunt

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 00:55

In Belgium it's free to watch  (on national tv), didn't realise that is wasn't free in the UK but well it's not on the BBC anymore



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#20 beachdrifter

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 01:16

In Belgium it's free to watch  (on national tv), didn't realise that is wasn't free in the UK but well it's not on the BBC anymore

 

In a connected world like today, the idea of "national free to air TV" sounds like a last century joke to me. I could come up with at least 3 or 5 different ways to watch it regardless. The vast majority of them legal. 



#21 Fatgadget

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 01:25

Who sleep walked into what? We had no say in the matter when BE sold off the rights to the highest bidder.

You did Including everyone who enjoyed the free to air F1 broadcasts...A bit late bitching about it now.



#22 loki

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 01:27

F1 no longer free to watch  reason why it's become  meh...in the UK..

Yet F1 is making more money than ever from that market.



#23 Fatgadget

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 01:28

There's also... the internet.

Nigerian you mean!



#24 Fatgadget

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 01:35

Yet F1 is making more money than ever from that market.

Again meh. Is F1 more popular though?..Is it attracting more peeps -  bigger audience  behind it's pay wall?..I for one just follow radio...Most times can't really be bothered  TBH.



#25 teejay

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 01:42

Again meh. Is F1 more popular though?..Is it attracting more peeps -  bigger audience  behind it's pay wall?..I for one just follow radio...Most times can't really be bothered  TBH.

 

From everything being quoted and shared - yes - audiences are growing. 



#26 ClubmanGT

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 02:14

It's been a pay-tv sport in my country for years now with brief forays into FTA, which drastically weakened the product. 

 

Not sure why people expect to see professional sport for free.



#27 Rodaknee

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 07:56

It's been a pay-tv sport in my country for years now with brief forays into FTA, which drastically weakened the product. 

 

Not sure why people expect to see professional sport for free.

It isn't 'free'.  The broadcaster pays for it, then earns money from selling advertising during the event or have a licence fee pay to for it.  Most pay channels also show adverts and double their money. 

 

there has been a shift, this year, by Eurosport.  Some sports watched on their player can be seen advert free.  Some sports are also broadcasting direct on YouTube and from their websites.



#28 TheFish

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 07:58

I'm surprised C4 and Sky haven't done a deal. They did one with the Cricket World Cup final in 2019 (England were in it, so similar to this race).



#29 FirstnameLastname

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 09:56

But surely something like a ‘winner takes all’ season finale is precisely what Sky hope for when they shell out crazy money for sport? This is what will drive signups and/or people to fork out for the (extortionate) daily passes

#30 TheFish

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 09:58

But surely something like a ‘winner takes all’ season finale is precisely what Sky hope for when they shell out crazy money for sport? This is what will drive signups and/or people to fork out for the (extortionate) daily passes

That's one way of looking at it. The other way is that people will watch the finale, get hooked and pay for Sky next year to watch the entire season.



#31 azza200

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:01

It's been a pay-tv sport in my country for years now with brief forays into FTA, which drastically weakened the product. 

 

Not sure why people expect to see professional sport for free.

 

Because F1 was always free too air before the Sky deal in the UK 

 

FTA does not weaken a product it gains popularity if the average joe is flicking thru the channels and the only thing on in F1



#32 Sterzo

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:02

Yet F1 is making more money than ever from that market.

Which is fantastic and wonderful if you are a marketing enthusiast. Unfortunately I'm not, just a motor racing enthusiast.



#33 Peat

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:06

No.

I pay for a Sky subscription on the basis I’m getting exclusive content.

They can’t subsequently give that away free.

A) it wouldn't be 'free'. Ch4 would have to purchase the rights if they felt it worthwhile ad revenue wise.

B) don't be a toddler.

Edited by Peat, 07 December 2021 - 10:07.


#34 Dutchrudder

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:11

It would be very nice for me, but I have to feel that Sky paid up to have the exclusive rights and so if I were them, I'd be miffed if Liberty allowed someone else access to the live feed. The problem, of course, is that Liberty/Bernie were allowed to sell exclusive rights (and duly did so). With my lefty hat on, I don't think exclusivity should be allowed anywhere in life.

I’m a sky sports customer, but I would prefer it to be made available free to air.

Unless every race is going to be televised live, free to air, I won’t be able to relinquish my sky sports subscription for just 1 race.

Another similar situation is BT Sport who have consistently provided the champions league final live for free on YouTube, allowing the casual fan a chance to get into the game via its biggest game of the season.

The hardcore who are willing/able to pay already do, and won’t stop doing so just because Abu Dhabi is broadcast FTA. I would imagine Sky would benefit from a fair number of new fans who may tune in on this basis.

#35 pdac

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:17

I’m a sky sports customer, but I would prefer it to be made available free to air.

Unless every race is going to be televised live, free to air, I won’t be able to relinquish my sky sports subscription for just 1 race.

Another similar situation is BT Sport who have consistently provided the champions league final live for free on YouTube, allowing the casual fan a chance to get into the game via its biggest game of the season.

The hardcore who are willing/able to pay already do, and won’t stop doing so just because Abu Dhabi is broadcast FTA. I would imagine Sky would benefit from a fair number of new fans who may tune in on this basis.

 

From Sky's point of view, I guess they may well entertain the idea of a company (e.g. DC's company) being willing to pay a fee to them for the right to broadcast the race live on another channel. But, also, I imagine that they could be looking at this and the perfect opportunity to both sell Now TV passes for the race and also to, maybe, make a few more subscription sales for next season.



#36 SilverArrow31

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:23

If the Brit was going for his first title and the first in over a decade it probably would be, but he's going for his 8th, not really an event like 2008 was for example.

Edited by SilverArrow31, 07 December 2021 - 18:17.


#37 Burtros

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 10:31

Raducanu was a brilliant against all odds story.

Another Lewis title is literally the opposite of that in every way.

F1 just isn’t a big deal in the UK anymore.

#38 PlatenGlass

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 11:36

I think this is quite a big deal. I've had people WhatsApping me about F1 that never have before. This is the word on the street.



#39 pdac

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 11:51

Raducanu was a brilliant against all odds story.

Another Lewis title is literally the opposite of that in every way.

F1 just isn’t a big deal in the UK anymore.

 

It is still prominently reported in the national sports news, though.



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#40 Eyeshield

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 11:54

It would be highly unfair for the people who have paid for this service. However, I feel like Formula 1 should be free to air to start off with and never be behind a pay wall. I feel the same about other sports too. It's one of those things that brings people together through excitement, joy, sadness and sheer thrill and that can only be good for mankind. Why contain something so beautiful?



#41 pdac

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 11:55

I think this is quite a big deal. I've had people WhatsApping me about F1 that never have before. This is the word on the street.

 

The thing is, not only would Liberty and Sky have to agree to allow it, but Whisper TV would have to come to a deal with Sky and C4 and also C4 would have to make room in their schedule. Not saying it could not be done within the time frame, but there's a lot of parties that would have to come together to make it happen.



#42 TheFish

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 11:56

The thing is, not only would Liberty and Sky have to agree to allow it, but Whisper TV would have to come to a deal with Sky and C4 and also C4 would have to make room in their schedule. Not saying it could not be done within the time frame, but there's a lot of parties that would have to come together to make it happen.

They managed it easily with the cricket world cup final and that's an all day event.



#43 absinthedude

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 11:57

I'm sure C4 used to show Silverstone AND the finale live?  

 

 

Sky used to permit them to show 8 races live I think. In the end it's all down to Sky, who bought the rights to live F1 in the UK and who can decide to "offer" C4 (or other bidders) whatever crumbs they deign to sweep off their very large table. 

 

The problem was that Bernie/CVC took the huge offer from Sky. All parties made that offer without thinking of the future. CVC wanted out (hence selling to Liberty). Bernie is very old and has more money than he could ever possibly spend. Sky don't care about the sport, they just want to make money from the schmucks who will pay for their subscriptions. There was a poster above who pointed out, correctly, that if everyone in the UK simply decided not to buy the Sky F1 subscription, they'd have been forced to do something different. Something better for us fans. 

 

It's been a pay-tv sport in my country for years now with brief forays into FTA, which drastically weakened the product. 

 

Not sure why people expect to see professional sport for free.

 

Because, in the UK and I think throughout Europe, paying for professional sports on TV is actually quite a new thing. Anyone who is much over the age of 20 or so will remember free professional, elite sports. For those of us approaching middle age we had decades of it. And of the *highest* production values available at the time. Gods, the F1 offered by the BBC and even ITV a decade or more ago was better than the crap show Sky is pushing. The product was strengthened by professional teams who didn't have to push their employer's subscription model so they were able to be themselves, be fairly impartial, not "big up" the rivalries of other childish nonsense. 

 

We shall have to see what happens once this current contract with Sky finishes. Way back in the ancient mists of time when not every race was even shown live....there would often be last minute deals to broadcast late season races live if a driver from a specific country was in the title hunt. 

 

Should Abu-Dhabi be live on FTA British TV? Yes, of course. So should every race. Will it? Probably not. I don't see Sky being that generous. They've got sufficient subscribers to make their money back, and even I don't expect them to accept making a loss. They bid, they naturally want to make all that money back. 



#44 flyboym3

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 11:58

If the Brit was going for his first title it probably would be, but he's going for his 8th, not really an event like 2008 was for example.

They were showing this in UK cinema's back in 2008.

 

Can't see any plans for that now - which is unfortunate.

 

I wish BBC would do something special, but they seem more interested in nominating Verstappen as the British Broadcasting Cooperation Sports Personality of the Year.  You couldn't make it up, I didn't even think he had any charisma.


Edited by flyboym3, 07 December 2021 - 11:59.


#45 MJB5990

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 11:59

I can't see it happening. However I'm almost expecting a 3hr pre show from Sky to include 43 interviews with Christian Horner.

Edited by MJB5990, 07 December 2021 - 12:00.


#46 Diablobb81

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 12:01

Put it on Netflix if you really want a hit.



#47 alframsey

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 12:03

Every single race should be free to air and it pisses me off no end I have to pay Sky to have their sports package, yet I do and will continue to as I cannot imagine having to watch highlights. 



#48 EvilWarMachine

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 12:32

It isn't 'free'.  The broadcaster pays for it, then earns money from selling advertising during the event or have a licence fee pay to for it.  Most pay channels also show adverts and double their money. 

 

there has been a shift, this year, by Eurosport.  Some sports watched on their player can be seen advert free.  Some sports are also broadcasting direct on YouTube and from their websites.

 

This is what really irks me. I managed to get Now TV at a reduced rate for £20 a month, basically for the F1 but also for a bit of footy, and the amount of adverts shown is disturbing. When I watch anything on YouTube and, as been happening more frequently of late, an advert pops up, I remind myself that it's free to watch. But when you're paying a subcscription and still get adverts bombarded at you, it's pretty disgraceful. This is also the case with PPV events. Boggles the mind how subscribers put up with this  :confused:

 

As an aside, the Now TV stream is pretty appalling. This is a low bitrate stream at it's ugliest.



#49 Fatgadget

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 12:40

Raducanu was a brilliant against all odds story.

Another Lewis title is literally the opposite of that in every way.

F1 just isn’t a big deal in the UK anymore.

Dare I say it Raducanu a flash in the pan one hit wonder....



#50 Fatgadget

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 12:42

It's been a pay-tv sport in my country for years now with brief forays into FTA, which drastically weakened the product. 

 

Not sure why people expect to see professional sport for free.

It was free before!