Sky launch dedicated UK F1 channel

2012 F1 season

Start, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Start, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Sky has launched a new channel for its Formula 1 coverage in the UK 2012.

Sky Sports and Sky HD customers will receive the Sky Sports F1 channel as part of their subscription.

A standard definition Sky Sports subscription costs ??40 per month for a minimum 12-month contract, plus a ??30 set-up fee, totalling ??510*.

The F1 channel will also be available to HD pack subscribers without Sky Sports, at an annual cost of ??363*.

BBC will continue to show half of next year’s races live free-to-air, with delayed highlights of the remaining races.

Sky say their channel will show every race plus all the practice and qualifying sessions live. They will offer extra live content during races including, “on-board cameras… behind the scenes with the teams in the pits and… race data.”

Managing director of Sky Sports Barney Francis said: “Formula 1 followers are hungry for more and we want to give them the ultimate experience. It’s not just every minute of every race but a channel devoted to Formula 1.

“We can now tell the whole story of the season, from every Grand Prix, from start to finish.”

Over 35,000 British F1 fans have signed a petition urging the government to require F1 to be broadcast on free-to-air channels.

*There are the lowest prices I could find for new subscriptions via Sky’s various configurations. If you can find cheaper deals, please post details in the comments.

F1 on television

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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148 comments on Sky launch dedicated UK F1 channel

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  1. Back to sopcast!

    • snowman (@snowman) said on 25th November 2011, 14:28

      haha Tommo, shouldn’t mention them places here!

      The cheapest option is £360 a year so considering there are 20 races next year. With Austin almost certain to be dropped and Bahrain maybe makes it 18.

      BBC are covering half races so you are paying Sky £360 for 9 races which equals £40 A RACE!!

      I’m away now to google sopcast!

      • None of thse options are worth discussing the cheapest option is BBC which we already pay for. If this is a “minority sport” then why do sky want it? I know poor Bernie has an ex wife and a wedding to pay for, but if everyone ignored Sky and carried on watching and listening to BBC then Bernie would have to save up like the rest of us. We have freesat so would not even consider contributing to the Murdoch coffers!!!

  2. Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 25th November 2011, 12:36

    This article suggests a high def sports package may cost £600+ a year, but a standard entertainment + HD is about £360. Could even get a free box + £100 of M&S vouchers too.

    So that option would be cheaper for those wanting to watch next year.

  3. McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 25th November 2011, 12:36

    Hi @Keith-Collantine, can you explain how you worked out that the HD package is over £600? You don’t need Sports AND HD, just one or the other. That’s my understanding anyway.

    Basic HD pack is about £30.75 a month which works out at £369 for the year. Sky at the moment are offering a free Sky+Hd box and free installation to new subscribers.

  4. tflb1 (@) said on 25th November 2011, 12:38

    Although I am against the Sky deal, the new channel does sound very exciting. Perhaps some of us will have to reconsider our opposition.

    • Rob B (@rob-b) said on 25th November 2011, 13:48

      Ive just bitten the bullet..

      Sky+ HD, 1TB box, Entertainment + & Sky Movies pack (I’m cancelling LoveFilm to subs this!)

      £149 upfront for the box, £51.25p/m going forward.

      £100 M&S voucher and then £120 cashback + £25 M&S voucher on

      They’re coming on Monday to install it!

      • peteleeuk (@peteleeuk) said on 25th November 2011, 14:14


        Don’t let them win. If we all stay strong and resist their extortion tactics they’ll drop it. Remember, they are only in it for the money, not the love of the sport (like the BBC production team). Give them no money and they’ll drop it.

        • Rob B (@rob-b) said on 25th November 2011, 14:54

          Sorry!! xD

          The missus has moved in again (from an RAF posting..) and she wants Sky so were going halves on i so it’s not going to be that bad. Kids will love it too I guess. My Dad will be round to watch the races too, no doubt he’ll bring beer / nibbles / breakfast / biscuits, depending on the hour of the race, round with him too.

          So factoring Kids excitment, missus paying half, free food and drink from visiting parents I thought I may as well!

  5. BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th November 2011, 12:41

    I already saw a load of people trying to calciulate how much it will be at Sky next year for different combinations, but it seems everyone comes to a slightly different number.

    I get the basic setup fee. Then there is the Sky without anything else (240 GBP/year?) and you have to take either the DH package for 120 GBP or the full sports package for 240 GBP/year to be able to watch F1.

    The 600+ is for both HD and full sportspackage then, but that gives you a lot more motorsports (and other sports).
    Or did i get that wrong

  6. Stig 3 (@thestig94) said on 25th November 2011, 12:45

    Will there be any option to get this channel for people who do not want to upgrade to Sky Sports or Sky HD?

  7. marcusbreese (@marcusbreese) said on 25th November 2011, 12:47

    A dedicated channel sounds immense..but the cost is still prohibitive, and I doubt there will be much worthwhile content on it during the week.

  8. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th November 2011, 12:54

    Wow, so you guys are getting comprehensive coverage of all races with additional live content with no commercials … and you’re getting it all for minimal cost: seven hours each wekeend, for twenty Grands Prix for a total cost of £510 equals roughly £3.60 per hour of coverage.

    Some of those complaints a few months ago about the deal being “bad for the sport and bad for the fans” were a bit silly.

    • zztopfan said on 25th November 2011, 12:57

      So, £510 to you is “minimal cost”, is it?

      Obviously you’re a lot richer than most of us.

    • falken (@falken) said on 25th November 2011, 12:57

      They’ll be ads. If not in-race, then on-screen.

      • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 25th November 2011, 13:06

        @falken I don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption purely because they have adverts during other programs. Football programs don’t show adverts during the game, only before, at half time and after the game has finished.

        @Prisoner-Monkeys, I wouldn’t say it was minimal cost at all, minimal would be keeping it free-to-air, although I do think that Sky have done this as a compromise to try and appease some fans. I don’t think it will work though and the deal may change before the start of next season.

        • falken (@falken) said on 25th November 2011, 13:16

          I was thinking of obnoxious “this interview sponsored by Bill’s Pile Cream”, “and now over to the Team Cam, sponsored by Toilet Cleaner” etc

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th November 2011, 13:25

            I believe that’s not allowed under UK broadcasting rules, which is why you don’t see them in other sports.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 25th November 2011, 13:33

            @falken It’s not like F1 isn’t already smeared with corporate names and logos anyway. If there is anything, your mind will just learn to switch off.

          • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 25th November 2011, 17:41

            I was thinking of obnoxious “this interview sponsored by Bill’s Pile Cream”, “and now over to the Team Cam, sponsored by Toilet Cleaner” etc

            :D COTD

        • @mclarenfanjamm

          I don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption purely because they have adverts during other programs. Football programs don’t show adverts during the game, only before, at half time and after the game has finished.

          I think it’s 200% fair to assume that once the Sky coverage starts, there will be adverts before and after the race, cutting into pre and post-race coverage time. Probably between the qualifying session’s too…

          And this is after you’ve paid all that money for the privilege of watching it in the first place. Sky can go forth and self-procreate.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 25th November 2011, 13:41

      @Prisoner-Monkeys £510 is over $1000 AUD. I know there’s no way I’d be able to afford that, and there’s plenty of others on here that can’t either.

      This deal doesn’t affect me, but I do feel deeply sorry for the people that are going to have to watch delayed highlights next year. I know I would hate that.

    • Prateek727 (@prateek727) said on 25th November 2011, 13:59

      I’m sorry, but I don’t think people are whining without cause.

      Here in India, Star Sports isn’t exactly renowned for its stellar production value, but it IS affordable. Our DTH provider offers it as a standalone channel for Rs 20 (about 25p) a month and I pay even less considering it comes as part of a package too.

      To put things in perspective; 510 GBR = 41,000 INR, which would cover 2 months of rent for a spacious three bedroom apartment in Bangalore.

      If I were an F1 fan in the UK, I’d raise hell.

    • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 25th November 2011, 14:04

      This is bad for the sport and bad for the fans. Most people I know can’t afford this arrangement (the “cheap” version, at £363 per year plus installation, requires a HD TV at about £350 to be usable) and then there are people like me who can’t get it (and for whom, technically speaking, the price is irrelevant – unless someone’s willing to give me £120,000 to get a house where Sky becomes a theoretical option). Sky missed the boat – if they’d done this in 2009 when the F1 contract last moved, then they’d have been able to pick up a lot of people due to the digital switchover. Now that it’s almost done, people won’t want to mess around with the systems they’ve got in place even if they had the option and could afford to do so.

      This decision will mean F1 losing a lot of fans. It will mean that fewer people will be able to follow the season well enough to replace them. I’m still waiting to see how this is going to get Sky the 0.5 million + new viewers (assuming they go for the Sky Sports method, not the cheaper “HD” one) it’ll need simply to pay Bernie’s fee. If it can’t manage that, then we’re looking at another broadcaster getting their fingers burned by Bernie (and in Sky’s case for the 3rd time, following failures in Italy and Germany), which will lead to a massive reduction in the fees F1 can attract. If history is any indicator, Sky will get out 2 years before the contract ends (as ITV and BBC did) – which means the fee collapse will be in 2016. A mass reduction in revenue does nobody in F1 any good, especially if by then there are many fewer fans to support any recovery.

      For the price of a small increase of income now, F1 is facing a medium-term crisis – and nobody in power appears to care. Ultimately, this deal will affect everyone.

      @McLarenFanJamm and @falken, the possibility of in-race ads has been specifically excluded. Traditional ads in the pre/post-race shows and during qualifying/practise coverage have not. So in a sense both of you are right.

    • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 25th November 2011, 14:27

      Sadly, “minimal cost” of and additional £40 per month is not something I am really in a position to consider. I mean yes if I could pay “per hour” then that is probably “minimal cost”.

      Again, your argument appears to only serve the purpose to annoy people and inflame opinion/argument/tempers. PM – you are generally a respected, intelligent and well-informed contributer to F1F, but I find your argument of “well it’s worse here, so stuff you” and borderline-trolling on this issue tiresome to say the least. There is playing the devil’s advocate, and expressing a different opinions but spurious statements implying that others are “silly” and dismissing other’s opinions etc. are not really constructive. For the record, any kind of initiative which reduces the potential fan base and audience for advertisers/the teams/the drivers is everything but good for the sport…

    • John H (@john-h) said on 25th November 2011, 14:32

      Yeah, of course I can justify spending £510 per year on top of my TV licence and paying for a family. Of course I can justify getting sky to my wife, and of course I want to give Murdoch more cash.

      Some of us are actually feeling the financial problems here, but I guess the ones with the money can get sky and it’s all lovely and nice.

      I can’t watch half of F1 next year. That bugs me.

    • A standard definition Sky Sports subscription costs £40 per month for a minimum 12-month contract, plus a £30 set-up fee, totalling £510.

      It might not be too expensive considering all the features Sky intend to bring, @prisoner-monkeys, but do you know how much I spend for all the qualifying sessions and races, plus both GP2 races (which I hope Sky will broadcast, as they’re very entertaining and feature F1’s future stars)? €/$/£ 0. There is a 110,50€ tax to pay to RAI every year, but that’s compulsory, and includes all the coverage of all the channels RAI offers throughout the year)

      • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 25th November 2011, 15:13

        @Fixy – it’s the same in the UK. If you own a TV and plan to watch live television, you have to have a licence fee which is around £145. And that doesn’t just cover BBC programming, if you want to watch ANY channel, you must pay it. Then Sky/Virgin Media/BT Vision TV packages are charged on top of that.

        • @mclarenfanjamm as RAI is the national broadcaster, we have to pay a tax to it, but the other channels are private and free (they have more ads). Most private broadcasters offer packages that have a price, some (like Mediaset, the second largest TV company) have offers similar to Sky’s, with sport channels and film channels.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 25th November 2011, 16:32

      I can’t afford it. Think I’d prefer it live for free.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 25th November 2011, 16:42

        Plus, £3.60 per hours is nonsense. Half the races are still available live for ‘free’ so if you sign up it’s because you only care about getting half the races that are exclusive to sky. So that’s 10 races. And I assume you took 7 hours per race because you included 4 hours of practice. Well, I’ll watch that if it’s on and free, but I don’t care about it enough to ever pay anything for it. So I’d be paying for 30 hours of coverage that I care about. That is £17.60 per hour. Cos that’s justifiable…

        Calling people’s comments ‘silly’ just because you could afford it if you were in our shoes is insulting, and pretty ignorant of the situation.

    • Bobdredds (@bobdredds) said on 26th November 2011, 0:21

      I think it’s too early to say whether it will be good or bad but it will mean less fans will watch it and I cant see how that can be good any way you look at it.
      The fact that it was free to air in the UK allowed a certain culture to build up around F1 and even though I am not from or living in the UK, I recognise the qualty of those fans from interacting with them in forums. In my view the move will be a disaster.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 27th November 2011, 8:36

      @Prisoner Monkeys

      I challenge you to explain one way that this is good for F1 or the viewers as a whole (As opposed to a select few).

  9. falken (@falken) said on 25th November 2011, 12:57

    Though there are rumours of a 120/yr deal on freeview – and most HD TVs have built in freeview tuners. Time to get that aerial out !

  10. MattB (@mattb) said on 25th November 2011, 13:04

    There is a cheaper – and legal way to watch Sky:

    Sky go monthly ticket allows you to watch all sports packages for £35/month over the internet. And the best thing? You pay per month you use it (ie when a GP is on Sky). If there is no Sky GP, cancel your subscription.


  11. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 25th November 2011, 13:09

    Question then – what exactly would it show when there aren’t any races?

  12. deanmachine (@deanmachine) said on 25th November 2011, 13:13

    Hang on, so Sky HD customers who don’t have Sky Sports will get this package?

  13. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 25th November 2011, 13:20

    What will they show when there won’t be any F1 race? Like on Monday & Tuesday & etc.

  14. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 25th November 2011, 13:36

    Oh no, I just phoned and told a work colleague he could get it on Freeview with a subscription fee, ouch! :/

    Well, this at least sounds like decent value for money, though the quality of the programming is yet to be judged. I doubt Sky will do a bad job of it.

    Here’s hoping the deal includes Virgin Media customers too. I can’t see why it wouldn’t.

  15. tobinen (@tobinen) said on 25th November 2011, 13:52

    If it works out at £363 and it’s HD then I don’t think that’s too bad. Free would be better. I was considering a non-Sky dish and satellite tuner to somewhere abroad and then using Radio 5 commentary, but not really sure it’s worth the hassle now.

    Mind you, I don’t have an HD telly (yet)

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