F1 to become pay-per view?


isn't dead.
Valued Member

Formula One Administration plans to move more F1 coverage from free-to-air television to pay TV channels.

The details of FOA’s plans for international coverage of F1 are explained in a submission made to the British government in its review of which sports should be aired on free television.


Surely it goes without saying that from a sponsor's point of view this is a bad thing. But these things work in odd ways.

Your thoughts?
I realise that in some countries F1 is already "PPV" but for argument's sake..
IMO, one of the main reasons that A1GP failed is because it was on Sky Sports which you have to pay to receive.

Of course I would pay to watch F1 but a lot of casual viewers wouldn't and that would reduce the advertisers' exposure.

PPV is the path to failure.
Has Bernie forgotten what happened last time he tried this? The only difference might be if it was the only source of F1 available in the UK, but you have to assume there is a deal in place with the BBC for a few years to come, which rules out that idea.
I love formula one but would I pay to watch it. Simple answer, No. Not a chance.

I'd just wait until the highlights package was shown later on BBC 12 or ITV 15 or whichever channel had it.

By putting formula one on Sky or an alternative channel the UK viewing audiance would be instantly reduced from an average of 5 million viewers to an average of 2 million viewers (based on sky figures for premiership viewing). That would be a good thing wouldn't it, cutting your audiance in half.

If it was pay per view in other countries where there is little current formula one representation the effect is likely to be even more drastic.

When you think about it, put it this way, how many of this seasons GPs would you be happy to PPV if it was done on a race by race basis? Perhaps GB because it may have been the last one at Silverstone and perhaps Spa and Australia. Would you have taken a punt on Monza being a good race? Would you have felt really peeved paying for Malaysia and having it rained off. Once the championship was decieded would you be happy to pay for any of the remaining races.

Imagine PPV with Bernies medal system. You could have paid to watch a season that was over 4 or 5 races from the end. Good value? No way.

Then there are the annual snooze fests such as Valencia and Hungary. How much easier to watch the (what there are) highlights than pay to watch that garbage.

So with the FIA messing with technical devolopment and an ever decreasing number of overtakes reducing the entertainment year on year, Bernies plan is to further reduce the global audiance by making you pay.

Brilliant. :cheer:

Will the last team to leave the sport please turn the lights out.
I love F1 and as some of you may have noticed I'm usually awake even for the silly o'clock races, would I pay for it? Would I fudge, as a matter of principal.

CVC essentially bought F1 as a cash cow, to the detriment of the sport, they are more concerned about squeezing every last penny and don't give a flying toss about the actual business of racing and I'll be :censored: 'd if I'm giving them any more of my money. That and I don't have satellite.
Count me in on the boycott too - not having sky or a slingbox type solution I would have to pay for the F1 viewing and a load of other equipment/subscriptions which would seriously price it out of the market - highlights and a visit to a favoured circuit for a real race would be cheaper.

As an aside, if the Government continue to allow popular/high audience programmes to be removed from the BBC 1 hope they will allow us to vote with our feet and cut the licence fee! If that means they can't afford to make Eastenders, film Parliament or the House of Lords on the available budget, what can I say but - Whoopeee!
I am a moderate man, I love many things, I hate a number of things, I enjoy watching F1 and MotoGP. I used to enjoy watching Tennis, World Superbikes, Cricket and a number of other sports that are now denied me. I am used to being denied things. It appears that every time I become attached to something it is discontinued or gobbled up by Rupert Murdoch :censored: ...

Formula One has somehow managed to remain on my horizon, I am grateful for that. But I know all things must end. My only wish is that Bernie will :censored: off and die a painful and hidious death, preferably long and televised on freeview so I can record it and watch it back over and over again.

Peace be with you. :embarrassed:
Just to calm all your furrowed brows the BBC has a 5 year contract to cover F1.


My guess is that with the government review of sports "Crown Jewels" Bernie was testing the water to see if F1 would be included. It wasn't.


What this does allow Bernie to consider is that at the end of the BBC contract, and as digital TV takes over in the UK, to look at a pay-per-view platform. The problem with the last experiment was that you had the choice to watch for free on ITV or pay for Bernies digital channel. Most people took the free option via ITV. Me? I paid for the 2nd half of the season as it was done at a very cheap rate "Season Ticket" and I couldn't abide ITV's coverage. The commentators were better, the camera options were vast, you had live timing screens via P in P and there were no adverts.

I wouldn't be wholly against coverage of F1 on a PPV platform but, if I recall correctly, Bernie wanted £10 per race - just too much. I got the 2nd half of the season for £35 (or something close) an amount of money I was prepared to pay to escape Murray Walker, James Allen, Jim Rosenthal, Simon Taylor, Louise Goodman and the rest of the numpties ITV employed. The thought of going back to ITV is far more scary to me than having to part with a fiver to watch each race. And, don't forget, Sky have raised all broadcasters standards with regard to sports coverage.
FB said:
And, don't forget, Sky have raised all broadcasters standards with regard to sports coverage.
Have they?
I can't abide any of Sky's programs - too many silly graphics and swooshing noises for me.

Didn't football go to PPV on Setanta?
Didn't Setanta go bankrupt?

Cricket went PPV and is now returning to terrestrial TV due to the drastic reduction in viewers.

A1GP has folded; it was PPV.

I just don't think there are enough people willing to pay to watch F1 to support the model.
I totally agree with Bro. I don't think Sky have really brought that much to the game other than pretty pictures and flashing lights. Sky dictate kick off times and days for those matches they cover and that causes so many problems for fans who actually want to attend the game.

Another example of the trouble with PPV is GP Masters, remember that? First race was shown on the BBC and got 7 million viewers (possibley more) and was deemed a complete success. For the following season it went to Sky and folded within a couple of races.

Ok so the Beeb has a five year deal but at the end of that contract where will it go next?
I suppose it's personal choice but, for me, the detailed coverage Sky can offer compared to the terrestrial broadcasters can't be matched, primarily because they have dedicated sports channels. I agree that sometimes they get a bit carried away with the graphics but one thing they never do is break into live action for an ad break.

On cricket, I agree, to put such a minority sport onto a subscription channel was very bad for the fair weather fan, but very good for the ECB's coffers.

On Setanta, they over paid for their Premier League package and suffered the consequences. The other aspect of this was the insistance of the EU for the Premier League to sell off the rights in a number of parts. Sky took the bulk and didn't change their subscription rates so why would anyone pay an extra subscription for the remaining 20%? I wonder how many people have taken up ESPN's subscription service now they have taken over from Satanta.

On A1GP, I'm not sure how many people would have watched if it were on a free to air channel, after all BTCC only makes ITV4...
I get ESPN for free on my Virgin Media package. :thumbsup:

As for "God and Murdoch created football in August 1992", thats a load of crap. The BBC coverage is sufficiently professional (ITV is rubbish, five is a joke!) and frankly, Sky (and ESPN) have coverage schedules slanted way in favour of the Big Three (+ Liverpool & Spurs), with Sky's commitment to showing all clubs evidenced in showing matches where both 'undesirable' clubs play (Stoke v Hull, anyone?) or a routine battering at Old Trafford/Anfield etc.

Sky have not improved any sport. In football, it jumped (successfully) on an upward trend. If footy goes down again, I doubt Sky will be claiming the credit!
The argument always goes that when a sport is switched to PPV it will loose the "fair weather fans" but I think it's more than that.

I'm a big cricket fan and have been to watch Gloucester many times and have been lucky enought to see England play. I've also follow Bristol Rugby and have watched several Rugby internationals at Twickers and in the past I've also been a Bristol City season ticket holder before work got in the way. I still have no interest in paying to watch these sports on TV. If I'm going to pay anyone it will be to go and watch the game.

Ok so I may be something of a PPV ludite but sport is entertainment at the end of the day and it should be available to as many people as possiblle. Radio 5 had a long debate on the subject and it was over-whelming the number of sports clubs that contacted the programme to say that new members joining had declined in almost every sport that had switched from free to air to pay per view.
BTW, cricket want to stay with Sky it's only the Government review which is pushing for it to move back to terrestrial and then only the Ashes series.

Just another comment on Sky's coverage (and I would like to point out I am not an apologist for Rupert Murdoch just think credit should be given where it's due). Saturday afternoon on Sky Sports News you have the football panel, now copied by the BBC. Anyone remember "The Big Match" and "Saint and Greavsie" in the last days of the old 1st Division, appalling. On cricket, they have a preview show, show all the action live and then have hours of reviews afterwards (and if you want to sit up until the wee hours you can watch the whole days play again). They have highlights on most sports via the intervactive service whilst the game is going on (the BBC are about to pull this from F1 to make space for Freeview HD).

Sky wouldn't pull coverage of the qualifying in Brazil to put Strictly Come Dancing on or fail to show the post race interviews because Eastenders was more important. If I remember rightly ITV didn't show some qualie sessions at all because of "important" programs like X- Factor, or shoved them onto ITV4 long before most people had Freeview boxes.

Like I say, I'm not an apologist for Sky and Rupert Murdoch (my politics couldn't be further removed from his) but the dark days of Grandstand and World of Sport are, thankfully, far behind us. Terrestrial broadcasters really did have to raise their game when Sky arrived but I think many have forgotten how bad it used to be.
Perhaps my comments were a little premature because as far as sport goes I only watch F1, BTCC and snooker on TV.

I don't watch football, cricket, rugby or any of the other big sports so really have no idea how things have changed.

Isn't it the case though that all programmes have improved and that is just the natural evolution of things?
I'm not sure Sky can really take credit for everything.
Isn't it the case though that all programmes have improved and that is just the natural evolution of things?
I'm not sure Sky can really take credit for everything.

Absoluetly Bro.

In F1 there was virtually no coverage at all until James Hunts rain soaked win at Fuji in 1976. Most races weren't covered live until the mid 80's and even then the production team for "fly away" races would remain in London and comentate on the races as if they were there. The improvment in F1 coverage has been the same natural progression as all other sports.

As has been posted above, there is a popular myth that football didn't exist 1992 BS (that's Before Sky). Football had a horendous time in the mid 80's with disasters such as the Bradford city fire and Hillsborough. Crowd trouble, the ban on English clubs from european competition in the wake of the Heisel stadium riots and the fact that country was slipping further into a deep recesion meant that ordinary families didn't go to the games. Sky arrived as football was begining to recover it's audience and takes credit for it but it was happening anyway.

PPV is about making money for the organisations that run the sport and the companies that show the games on TV. The reason the ECB want cricket to remain on Sky is because of the money it makes for the ECB. There is this persistant myth that the money cascades down but that is simply BS of the highest order. My Brother in law plays for a very high standard village cricket team and the mention of "ECB" support would just make him laugh.

Look at what the adition of money has done to Rugby. Cheeting scandels, Drug taking and high profile court cases have blighted a sport that was once known for it's respect on and off the field. Let's not forget that England were nearly thrown out of the 6 nations for trying to arrange a private deal with Sky to show England 6 nations games exclusively. Since England won the rugby world cup and live premiership games and the large majority of internationals switched to Sky attendances have fallen while the cost of competeing has risen. Since then, Richmond, London Scottish, and Orrell have gone bankrupt. Bristol have been to the brink of going out of buisness twice but have been saved by the skin of their teeth each time. Only this month Birmingham and Sollihull went in to receivership and this week Coventry have gone into liquidation.

As for the point that FB makes about skys coverage. Channel 4 won several awards and a Bafta for their cricket coverage in the immediate seasons prior to the game going to sky. Of course each terrestrial channel has to cater for all audiances and having a dedicated sporst channel means that it's easier to schedule live events that may over run. I think it shows the level of popularity of F1 at the moment that the BBC would prefer to delay their flagship saturday night light entertainment programme than cut the F1 coverage.

Remember of course that the BBC with Grandstand and ITV with world of sport did once provide all day sport coverage on a weekend. Obviously World of sport died some time back but the BBC had to give up on Grandstand due to the lack of sports they were able to show. There is now no outlet on non-pay TV for a host of Olympic sports that many brits excel at which only harms their development.

And my final point, in all sports that have gone pay per view has the cost of seeing those sports and running those sports gone up or down? Money breeds money unfortunatly. I remember when Andy Cole went from Newcastle to Man Utd for a record 7 Million pounds. That was smashed by Alan Shearer going from Blackburn to Newcastle for 15 Million pounds. Today several players have changed hands for the 30 million pound mark and Ronaldo left Man Utd for over 40 million pounds. All this money has to come from us in one way or another.
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