Sky to raise F1 channel cost and offer cut-price stream


Christian Horner, Buddh International Circuit, 2012The cost of watching F1 on Sky in the UK will rise to ??510 per season next month.

On April 9th the Sky F1 channel will become part of the Sky Sports package which costs ??21 per month on top of a ??21.50 per month Sky subscription (excluding offers), with a minimum 12-month contract.

The F1 channel is currently part of the HD pack which costs ??381 per year (discounted to ??349.50 at present). Existing Sky customers who receive the F1 channel through the HD pack will continue to do so after the move. According to Sky, 4.5 million subscribers have the HD pack.

Sky is also planning to offer on-demand access to Sky Sports via its Now TV streaming website. This service, which does not require a Sky contract, will offer 24 hours’ access to Sky Sports, including the F1 channel, for ??9.99.

Nine of this year’s nineteen races will be shown on free-to-air television in the UK. All the rounds are being shown on Sky.

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156 comments on Sky to raise F1 channel cost and offer cut-price stream

  1. Mickrock (@mickrock) said on 7th March 2013, 18:13

    unbelievable…. I’m stunned, gobsmacked, etc., etc.

  2. Brownerboy (@brownerboy) said on 7th March 2013, 18:16

    Looks like i’ll be upgrading my internet to fibre optic instead and find a good sky stream.

  3. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 7th March 2013, 18:23

    This £10-for-24 hours deal sounded tempting if there were other sports the same day as the Grand Prix. I enjoy cricket and football as well, so had a look when the Ashes series is on this summer…

    Only one of the five 5-day test matches coincides with a Grand Prix (Spa)…and that’s live on BBC! (the winter 2013-14 series is the same: the First Test in Brisbane coincides with the Brazilian GP, and that’s another BBC race). No doubt there’ll be football on the same day as some GPs, but this isn’t exactly the closest Premier League season ever…

    All very cynical – particularly as qualifying starts exactly 24 hours before the race on most weekends. Anyway life’s too short for pay TV. I can do without HD Packs, connection fees, disconnection fees, 18-month contracts, discounts and half price offers designed to confuse, haggling and threatening to leave, cold calls selling “upgrades” and hours wasted on the phone altogether.

    Interested to see what Jake and his mates at BT can offer when they launch their service.

  4. Chris H (@wolfie9985) said on 7th March 2013, 18:23

    I wonder if $ky mentioned that in their advertising campaign which I am seeing everywhere at the moment. I see a lot of ads of TV and even a special booklet that came with this month’s “F1 Racing” magazine (the booklet was very quickly put through the shredder and binned).

    Spending all of this money on advertising, and then bumping the price up like this, which will only put people off, must be costing them an absolute fortune.

    Combine that with the fact that they never exceeded 1m viewers for any race and averaged 0.6m over the season ( ), I fail to see how they can even afford to continue down this path.
    With a 16% drop in viewers on the previous season, bearing in mind last season was arguably one of the best ever seasons in F1, it seems as if F1’s first season on subscription TV in the UK has failed.

    Still, if they want to price themselves out of F1 and lose a ton of money in the process, then they can be my guest. I will not pay an extortionate amount of money to watch on $ky or any other subscription service. Ever.
    As already mentioned, I use that saved money to go to Silverstone, and then spend the other £350+ as I see fit, whilst still watching the entire of the season on the BBC (albeit at a hacked down version), for free.

  5. Wessel (@wessel-v1) said on 7th March 2013, 18:29

    In the Netherlands this is going to be the first year that you have to pay monthly to watch formula 1 (unless you want to get German commentary). Not quite as much as what you have to pay, it’s astonishing. As a student, the only option for me seems to be ‘the grey area’ of less legal sky streaming. The quality Sky offers is great, but the price is extraordinary.

  6. The Solution said on 7th March 2013, 18:40

    I would rather eat horse manure than subscribe to Sky :o

    I use an extra satellite dish, and point it to Astra 19.2E … I watch the non-BBC races on RTL instead. The installation cost less than £200, and it has already paid for itself …..

    • John H (@john-h) said on 7th March 2013, 21:28

      I tried this too, but some rather inconvenient trees mean 19.2E is just impossible! Unfortunately, paying the £100 to Murdoch seems rather tempting now… should I be ashamed? Please forgive me.

  7. Lemon (@lemon) said on 7th March 2013, 18:41

    So basically if I want the F1 channel I need to get in straight away?

  8. tifosimac said on 7th March 2013, 20:08

    No surprise there and if you think of it some £40 a month for all Sky have to offer is not too bad.

    Also the £9,99 deal means that one can see all the races live for less than £100 per season.

  9. Otsug said on 7th March 2013, 20:14

    Iv`e been through the gut wrenching feeling of F1 not being accesable but there is a lot to be said for watching the timing board via FOM with a good radio commentry. you can watch all the action sector by sector. But that`s me still missing free to air schedule of `The good old days`……

    • F1antics (@f1antics) said on 8th March 2013, 1:31

      I never watched anything apart from the on-track action on Sky last year, and even then reluctantly, because I don’t like their style of presenting. So instead, I think I’ll be quite happy this year with the F1 timing app, radio coverage, and the BBC highlights (for the non-BBC races). The app’s expensive compared to other apps, but if you look at it as a substitute for TV coverage it’s pretty good value – the visuals are impressive and there’s an awful lot of data to make the race exciting to nerdy F1 fans like me. I appreciate that not everyone has a smartphone or tablet, but if you do it’s worth investigating.

  10. NickTheGeek (@nickthegeek) said on 7th March 2013, 21:01

    I sadly called this move back at the start of all this.

    I would be an arrogant git and say “ah well its ok for me as I have HD etc” but that isn’t the point. It’s the fans that cannot stretch to it that upsets me. To be honest we really can’t but we don’t have any other vices.

    Part of me does wonder if they are using the scarcity tactic here. Its well known that people will go mad for something if they think the price is going to rocket or the item is going to be impossible to get soon. Will sky see a lot of fencers going HD before the deadline? maybe I am over thinking it.

    I suspect we will see it back in the HD pack if the change doesnt increase revenue. If they remove it from the HD pack then they can **** ***

    • NickTheGeek (@nickthegeek) said on 7th March 2013, 21:06

      Oh interestingly they are running an offer at the moment to get it as part of the HD pack for £5 (on the basis that you are a non HD customer). I think I have their game.

  11. John H (@john-h) said on 7th March 2013, 21:21

    I seem to be the only one on here happy about this. £100 a year to watch the 10 sky races and the rest on BBC will do me just fine. Ok, I still have to pay Murdoch, but it’s nothing like it was last season for someone like me who can’t justify the spend on a tight budget with a family.

    • Merv (@) said on 7th March 2013, 21:50

      I’m with you, to a point…
      Don’t forget you won’t fit qually and the race into 1 24hr period, so you’re looking at £20 per weekend or £30 if you want to watch FP too.

  12. aw123 said on 7th March 2013, 22:11

    Here in Hungary you can watch the full F1 coverage in HD for free. You can also catch the austrian and german RTL broadcasts too (in SD).

  13. jre_f1 (@jre_f1) said on 7th March 2013, 22:52

    Formula One is a sport that is ultimately going to die. The seeds have very much been sewn by Mr Ecclestone and CVC in the pursuit of bigger profits. The selling out of races to uninterested markets in Asia and the disappearance off mainstream TV in Europe will ultimately seal its fate.

    As the 2000s have progressed more races in places with no real market have been added reducing races in Europe, even France has no Grand Prix.

    This has gradually lead to reduction in exposure; TV audiences in Europe are falling, this is before you consider the impact pay TV F1 is going to have or is having. Teams already are struggling to attract sponsorship, leaving them reliant on the TV money, which as its on sattelite means the exposure is poor, sponsors pay less, eventually as the F1 product diminishes, the satellite companies pay less, teams get less money, and the sport implodes.

    The business model of F1 is flawed.

    Frankly I cannot see F1 making it to the end of the decade in the current form, unless it makes an about turn.

    I’ve moaned about Sky for years and how they’ve ruined English football, and in 5-10 years time, English cricket and it fills me with a sense of frustration that even I’ve caved in and bought the SKY HD pack, I don’t like doing it, but what else is there to do? The BBC sold it out to them, so there isn’t any choice. I’ll sit back and enjoy the dying days of F1 in “glorious” HD with Sky’s unimaginative coverage and chipboard wooden presenting team.

    (Brundle and the underused Davidson aside, it’s pretty dire. David Croft is just plain awful, worst commentator of all time, in any sport, James Allen was annoying but at least the bloke knew his stuff. Croft couldn’t tell the difference between a navy blue Williams and a black and white Sauber. I mean ***! Come on!!!)

  14. mole (@mole) said on 8th March 2013, 0:13

    Darn, I wish they could just give us a few hours access to watch the race itself.

    £4 for a 3ish hour race is acceptable for me. I wouldn’t be able to watch Sky’s other sports and so would receive a less valuable product, but I guess Sky would prefer to charge me £10 and force me to have those extra 21 hours to maximise their revenue…

  15. LoreMipsumdOtmElor said on 8th March 2013, 12:49

    As a German, I decided to change the way I watch F1 for this season. While the broadcast on RTL ist FTA in analogue SD, the commentary is the worst that I have ever experienced in any sports broadcast and the commercials always arrive just in time to miss all the action. Sky DE is not an option as their prices are close to the ridiculous amounts the UK viewers have to pay.

    So after years of using low-quality streams from other countries, I went trough hundreds of forums to find someone from Austria who sold me (for a mere 25 €) a card for austrian ORF via satellite. Free-to-air F1 in HD, without commercials and the best german-language commentary available (Alex Wurz).

    I am so looking forward to this season :)

    • Smudger said on 13th March 2013, 12:17

      I decided not to add Sky Sports to my Virgin package to get the F1 channel in SD as I rarely watch the football. I bought myself a dish and STB and pointed it at Astra 1 for RTL and then tuned into BBC 5Live radio for the commentary on my Virgin TiVo box, which plays out of my AV Receiver. Works fine, all paid for and ready for the next season and I just changed the LNB for a dual so I can watch the in the kitchen as well now! RTL have free rights to the end of 2015 I think.

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