Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014

Fans reveal state of F1 television coverage worldwide

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014It’s a measure of how desperate Bernie Ecclestone is to stem F1’s falling TV audiences that he brooked no contradiction while demanding knee-jerk changes to the rules over the winter.

His initiative to award double points for the last race of the season was pilloried by F1 fans, yet remains in the rule book for this year at least.

All manner of gimmicks have been tried over the years as F1 tried to woo TV audiences. But the gross unfairness of double points – which even Ecclestone cannot deny – represented a new low.

Absent from the panic-stricken quest for ratings has been any suggestion that Formula One Management’s approach to F1 broadcasting might also be to blame for the fact that fewer people are watching. For obvious reasons, it’s a subject which won’t get much coverage in F1 television broadcasts.

And yet audiences have inevitably suffered most in countries where F1 had historically enjoyed strong viewing figures until free-to-air F1 broadcasts were replaced by pay-per-view.

In the UK, where an annual F1 subscription now costs over £500 per year, even Lewis Hamilton’s romp to victory in China couldn’t stop viewership falling to its lowest level in seven years.

F1 Fanatic readers from around the world compiled information on the availability and cost of watching Formula One. The data reveals significant variation in the quality and extent of F1 coverage:

While countries like Australia, Brazil and India still enjoy free-to-air F1 broadcasts, full-year subscriptions in other countries can run to hundreds, even thousands of pounds.

Is this the shape of things to come or a failed experiment? That depends on whether those running F1 believe the money offered by pay-per-view broadcasters is worth the trade-off of smaller audiences, and accept F1’s global reach will never be quite what it was.

The other aspect of F1’s broadcasting future is the readiness with which it accepts new media. While some sports have taken advantage of the opportunities presented by the sport to sell its coverage directly to fans, FOM has largely avoided doing so.

However some bespoke video content has been created for the current version of the official F1 app, and a new offering has been promised in the near future.

In the meantime many broadcasters have been slow to embrace the opportunities offered by new media. However some offer the means to watch online and via apps.

In countries where pay-per-view subscriptions are the only alternative, some broadcasters permit access to these online services at a reduced price. In Mexico free online broadcasts of every race are available courtesy of Telmex, who backed drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez.

Other countries are still yet to catch up with past innovations. Formula One took until 2011 to offer high definition race coverage, but three years later it remains unavailable in some regions. In others standard definition broadcasts are offered as a cheaper alternative.

The quality and value-for-money of F1 coverage worldwide varies enormously. While that is the case, it is unwise for the sport to change its rules so hastily in an attempt to win greater audiences.

Merely making coverage of its races available at a reasonable price in the first race would be sufficient for many fans.

Country Channel Races Qualifying Practice Annual cost Online coverage Notes Contributors
Australia Ten All All Australia only Nil Ten Play Qualifying is shown live on One in high definition, races on Ten in standard definition. @Mwyndo7, @Pezlo2013, @Plushpile, @Fitzroyalty
Belgium La Une/La Deux All All Belgium only Nil Non-live catch-up internet coverage @Force-Maikel, @Ardenflo, @Backwards
Belgium Telenet All All No €197.40 24-hour channel access available for €9.95 @Force-Maikel, @Ardenflo, @Backwards
Brazil TV Globo All All No Nil n/a @Pandanet
Brazil Sport1/2/3 Delayed Delayed Yes £157.81 n/a @Pandanet
Chile Fox Sports All All All £84 Fox Play Same package is available for free in neighbouring countries. @Alonsomanso
Czech Republic Nova All All Most Bahrain, Canada, USA and Brazil on Fanda; qualifying and practice on Nova Sport @Thaischumi
Denmark TV3+ All All All £356.00 Cinemas screen some races live for £10. @Palle
Finland MTV Max All All All €239.40 MTV F1 Online-only F1 package available for €89.95. @RetardedF1sh
France Canal+ All All All €478.80 My Canal Cheaper €298.80 option omits some sessions @Gonde
Germany RTL All All No @Klon
Germany Sky Deutschland All All Yes €562.80 Additional charges for HD subscription @Klon
Germany Sport 1 Delayed Delayed Delayed @Klon
Greece OTE TV All All All €20 n/a @Sigman1998
Greece Alpha TV Some live, rest delayed No No Nil n/a @Sigman1998
Hungary M1 All All Hungary only Nil Telesport @Hunocsi
India Star Sports 4 All All All Nil Star Sports Year’s subscription for online coverage costs £5.01. Standard definition only. @FabF1, @Akshay
Italy Sky All All All €358.80 Additional charges for HD subscription and on-demand viewing. @Fixy
Italy RAI Nine live, rest delayed As races As races RAI TV World @Fixy
Latvia Viasat Sport Baltic All All All €178 n/a @Girts
Lithuania Viasat Sport Baltic All All All £150 n/a @Osvaldas31
Lithuania TV6 Delayed No No Nil @Osvaldas31
Mexico Fox Sports Latin America All All All €120 n/a @Mantresx
Mexico Foro TV (Televisa) All (delayed) No No Nil (some regions) n/a @Mantresx
Mexico Telmex All All All Nil Escuderia Telmex Online only, low resolution. @Mantresx
Netherlands Sport 1 All All All €300 Sport 1 @Npf1
Netherlands Veronica Canada and USA live No No @Npf1
New Zealand Sky Sport Yes Yes Yes NZ$1,000-1,200 Sky NZ account required @Jarred-Walmsley
Peru Fox Sports All All All $360 Additional charge for channel which carries practice sessions. @OmarR-Pepper
Poland Polsat Sport All All All €180 n/a @ArtAnonim
Portugal SportTv All All All €636 @Mcangueiro
Russia Russia2 All, some delayed All No Nil Russia2 @Olegryzhikov
Russia Sport1 All, some delayed All All £360 @Olegryzhikov
Slovakia TV Dajto/TV Markiza All All No Nil n/a @Milansson
Slovenia TV SLO 2 All Most live No Nil @Enigma
Spain Antena 3 All All All Nil Atres Player Also TV3 (Catalonia only) @Karmen
Spain Movistar TV All All All €600 @Karmen
Switzerland SRF2 All All No Nil @Rigi
Tunisia BeIn Sport All All All €250 BeIn Sport @Tifoso1989
United Arab Emirates BeIn Sports All All All £1,512 n/a @GeeMac
United Kingdom BBC Nine live, rest delayed As races As races Nil iPlayer A TV licence is required to view live all television programming in the UK. @Keithcollantine
United Kingdom Sky All All All £522 Sky Go A TV licence is required to view live all television programming in the UK. 24-hour channel access available via Now TV for £9.99 (http://www.nowtv.com/sports). @Keithcollantine
United States NBC Sports Network All Most live FP2 only Varies, c. $720 NBC Sports Live Extra @Lord-Stig, @US_Peter, @Grosjean0817

Notes on the data

Channel data compiled with the assistance of @Mwyndo7, @Pezlo2013, @Plushpile, @Fitzroyalty, @Force-Maikel, @Ardenflo, @Backwards, @Pandanet, @Alonsomanso, @Thaischumi, @Palle, @RetardedF1sh, @Gonde, @Klon, @Sigman1998, @Hunocsi, @FabF1, @Akshay, @Fixy, @Girts, @Osvaldas31, @Mantresx, @Npf1, @Jarred-Walmsley, @OmarR-Pepper, @ArtAnonim, @Mcangueiro, @Olegryzhikov, @Milansson, @Enigma, @Karmen, @Rigi, @Tifoso1989, @GeeMac, @Lord-Stig, @US_Peter and @Grosjean0817.

To contribute, amend or correct the data please post a response via the link.

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150 comments on “Fans reveal state of F1 television coverage worldwide”

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  1. I live in Aus and would do anything to have the Sky coverage of F1. The local coverage drive me to tears.

    1. US Coverage too… NBCSN is terrible. And while the commentators are very likable, they hardly comment on the race action. Things get missed far too often, and any time there is a big moment (like two cars almost coming together, e.g. Massa and Alonso in China start), the Diffy/Hobbs/Matchett combo just yell “WOAHHH!!!” or “eeeEEEEEEE!!!! Oh WOW…”

      It’s annoying.

      1. It seems to be the style of US commentating to just keep up a background banter and occasionally yell out at some incidents instead of commentating on whats going on. Their main task seems to be to constantly repeat the names of any sponsors they can think of.

        Sports in general, not just F1 seem to be something you should have on in the background while doing something else.

        1. I must agree, the raceday coverage from the NBC team is mostly color commentary. However, they do a bit better on practice days. Indeed, I record the P days just to get to hear the deeper stories and undercurrents of the week.

          For race day, the only commentator worth anything is Will Buxton, their man on the ground. He will be the only one providing actual event updates. The other 3 are pretty much just monkeys with a tellistrator.

          I feel the US NBC team is too old to know whats going on. Their tech guy Matchett hasnt remenises about Benetton and has been out of the game for about a decade, Hobbs hasnt touched an F1 car since the 70s, and Diffy, well, I stll havent figured out what his connection to F1 is; maybe an European sounding accent. Would be nice if they could get somebody who has been an F1 insider sometime in the past 20 years…

          Of these all, only the occasional magazine from Sam Posy offers any insight or artistic commentary

          Still much better than what they were allowed to do Speed TV,

        2. Try the U.S….. You’ll only see 2/3 of the actual race on your TV. The rest is advertisements.

          NBC thinks that we’d rather listen to their commentators instead of the drivers.

          NBC F1 coverage is ruining the sport.

      2. Here in Canada, we enjoy free broadcast of every quali+race, whenever its not commercial break that is…

        1. How is paying Rogers and Bell a subscription fee free?

          I love the BBC coverage we get on Rogers TSN but we get only FP2, live and a delayed broadcast(which makes no sense, show both FP1 and FP2), quali and the race. No pre-race or post race analysis or interviews, in Canada. We need more than just the 1hr 5min Quali session and 2hr 5min race.

          Broadcasters need to stimulate new audience by having them witness how the entire race weekend comes together. Speed Channel( US and Canada) once offered online viewing of the practice sessions(without commentary), which was way better than just FP2 we get now on Rogers. The FIA needs to ensure their media content gets to the audience not just pocket the revenues from media houses that allow only limited exposure to F1.

      3. @thrillerwa09 Laughed a bit at the – “WOAHHH!!!” or “eeeEEEEEEE!!!! Oh WOW…” – But, in general, I disagree with you. Having watched both Sky and NBCSN this season, I’ve found NBCSN’s coverage to be better organized and sometimes even more informative than Sky. NBCSN also has Will Buxton, which IMHO is a big plus for US fans.

        1. Will Buxton is a winner for his green pants and Maclemore haircuts.

        2. I watch Sky as well, and I really enjoy David Croft. He gets me excited about some of the smallest things, he’s very enthusiastic and is a great lead commentator. Definitely comes from his days broadcasting on BBC radio.

      4. @thrillerwa09 That’s exactly how Hobbs and Matchett were on Speed too. I suspect they still aren’t at the races then and are commenting on the same shots we get to see. Particularly when I used to follow the timing live on my laptop while watching the races I would constantly see stuff happening that they were way late picking up on. I so always preferred the BBC coverage we get on TSN in Canada. Eventually Speed’s coverage was blacked out anyway, but for a long time we had a choice of watching either.

        So as Wooolfy points out, if you are with Rogers or Bell who are the two main satellite providers in Ontario, TSN is included even with a pretty basic bundle of channels, so in that sense it is quite affordable, even though you are still in for around $60 per month, and of course are getting many channels with that.

        So it is not like we are having to pay-per-view F1, like I’m assuming Sky is, where you pay a lot but just for that one channel. But we also get, as pointed out above, a bit of abbreviated coverage in terms of pre-race and post-race stuff, but the races are complete of course. I also note that the coverage was more complete when JV was in F1 ie. Canadian driver. They used to do a full half-hour pre-race show with the highly respected and regarded Gerald Donaldson.

        1. Hobbs Matchett and Diffy arent at ANY races except the USGP in Austin. They dont even go to Canada…

          Those old windbags would break in half if they had to follow the F1 circus around the globe…

          Listening to Hobbs is like listening to Grandpa talk about the olden days, Diffy is lucky he can even spell F1, and Matchett should have learned a bit more about his broadcasting trade before he got behind the microphone.

          I use the F1 T&S app synced to the race footage, and its the only way I can really tell whats going on in the field.

    2. +1 I would gladly pay for some quality F1 coverage, and I’ve been saying this for years. Sure I can understand why the casual fan F1 watcher likes being able to switch the race on for free, but for the more fanatical among us the ONE free to air viewing degrades the weekend F1 experience. I would love to have access to the practice sessions and extra features I see mentioned by those who have a subscription based service like Sky or Canal.

      To give an example, a few races ago on the One free to air race coverage, they went to an advert break right as the replays of the start began (usually around 6-7 laps in). I mean what fanatical F1 viewer is going to be cool with that? I work hard to make money and pay my bills and I don’t see why paying for quality when it comes to the sport I love should be an big issue.

      1. I agree to pay for quality in something I love, but I just can’t afford to spend 1/12 of my annual salary just to watch f1 broadcast. That’s the problem. In my country I could get F1 broadcast in hd at higher price than other 50+ paid channels together.

      2. In an ideal world, yes I’d pay for top quality Formula One coverage. But we all know how pay TV works in Australia – they don’t just lure you in for one sport, they make you get the whole package, half of which are re-runs, a quarter rubbish TV shows and you only watch a selected few shows.

        Right now if you ask me whether I’d pay 1200 a year for 20 F1 races or free-to-air and put up with Alan Jones, I’d take the latter. The F1 app entertains me as a close follower of the sport during ad breaks.

    3. Woooh there, be careful what you wish for. The problem is Foxtel has awkard packages and limited HD channels, not to mention that the HD channels cost more. You cant just get a single channel, so for much of the time the service would be unused.
      While i would pay for Foxtel if it was my only way of watching, i would be doing it knowing i was wasting alot of money. As much as the ads and lack of practice coverage annoy me, it would still be in the back of my mind. Additionally there is no garantee that Foxtel wont fill the coverage with ads anyway, apparently pay TV no longer means ad free full coverage.
      I have previously had Foxtel and for the most part it sat there on kids cartoon channels and even then there were alot of ads

      1. I would do anything to get Sky coverage! If only Foxtel could devise a plan!!..I doubt.

        I already have Foxtel, no other way to watch EPL.

        Thanks to a kindered spirit on Youtube, a certain Mr FiftyBucks, I get to watch all the Sky segments pre, post race, mid week and friday F1 Shows. I dont understand why F1 doesnt use youtube to its advantge. I would happily pay a fee to gain access!

        1. It won’t happen as Ten wants the F1 back after 2015. The only way it’s possible for Foxtel to have the rights, when Ten on sells some of the rights to Foxtel. If it goes to Pay TV then the sport is history. Everyone will start complaining about Ten not having the rights

    4. I live in Australia and I love Greg and AJ. There is a new commentator coming to Ten in July. It has to be shown on FTA and live

      1. You love Greg and AJ?..seriously?..the only person on there that I can bear with is Daz…and he is a bloody Moto GP rider!!..haha

        AJ’s like an old man having a go over a beer on his couch…and I find rusty to a be a bit too smug at times!!..

      2. bob schmob
        8th May 2014, 7:11

        AJ seriously needs to lift his game or the other two shouldn’t ask him questions without notice. It’s always a bit of a relief when they pass commentary across to people that care/know what’s going on.
        Other than that, One’s coverage is great. Things would be perfect if Live Timing could get it’s act together.

    5. Having not missed more than 3 or 4 races since 1983 I would do anything to keep coverage on free to air. The day I have to pay for the privilege of being advertised to by way of F1 will be the day I stop watching. From an advertiser/sponsor point of view, numbers of eyeballs are obviously the primary goal. So in the longer term F1 will surly become a less attractive proposition for advertisers/sponsors if there is decreasing numbers of eyeballs. Having expensive (for the viewer), “better” coverage isn’t going grow the number of eyeballs exposed to the advertising or encourage the popularity of the “sport” in the long term. I think this move to pay TV is extremely short sighted and one that F1 will bitterly regret, particularly if rival series emerge that go the free to air route and capitalise on the void left by F1. The real beneficiaries are only the pay TV providers and Bernie in the short term.
      As an F1 “racing” fan all I want as a minimum is LIVE free to air coverage and I am “happy” to fill the gaps poor quality coverage creates in the experience by visiting and engaging online on sites like this one. Obviously better quality coverage is highly desirable but not to the point of handing over my hard earned cash. Besides, if I did that my spending power to purchase the products advertised through F1 will decrease…

    6. I live in the US and pay about $85 for Sky Sports F1. Worth every cent. NBCSN is garbage.

    7. So you think the situation you just read about in the article is ok? I do not.

      Free TV is the only logical way for F1 to prosper.

  2. i stopped watching and i can tell you I miss it but not as much as i thought and so i would not pay for that i once enjoyed free, the bbc cr@p coverage doesn’t get better the few times i bothered to watch the highlight ( the hamilton rosberg tussle this years only highlight to date)

  3. Good article. I wonder what the impact of this move towards pay-per-view audiences is on companies that are considering to advertise on F1 cars. Because I assume they also see their target audience on television decline, while they do not benefit from the subscription fees?

    1. @hogee, Exactly, pay TV may increase the amount of revenue raised by FOM but probably reduces the total F1 revenue by devaluing team sponsorship and driver sponsorship. The reality is FOM do not get a cut of team/driver sponsorship but got 50% of TV deals making the move to the highest bidder (pay TV) good for FOM despite being bad for F1.

  4. F1 needs to adopt an online streaming service like MotoGP. It’s reasonably priced with access to achieved races dating back to 1992.

    1. Jimbo Hull (@kartingjimbo)
      7th May 2014, 9:15

      Amen. For such a sport to be at the ‘for front’ of technology distributing its content the way it does is an absolute joke. I’d happily pay per race or even buy an online season pass, it would give a lot more people the opportunity to watch it on a one off occasion drawing them in to the F1 world

    2. @brad-ferrari F1 needs to step their new-media game up. In 2014 you need to embrace it and not dismiss it. however, what drives audiences up is basically good competition. Seb’s 4 year domination had occasional competitive moments but if Red Bull had it harder it could be only good for F1, unfortunately Mercedes early 2014 domination is not helping at that front and if other fail to improve their cars soon or build competitive packages in the years to come it will be another era of “monopoly”. 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 were great seasons because drivers of at least 2 different teams were fighting until the very last race (bar 2006). If Marquez keeps on demolishing the rest of the field, Moto GP’s F1 bashers will be desperately in need of a whole to hide…

    3. @brad-ferrari You’re absolutely right.

    4. I would get this. Though I fear this will never come to fruition as it will ‘undercut’ a main source of FOM’s revenue, which is selling TV rights.

      If they ever had an online “F1 only” channel, featuring not just all sessions of the GP, but interviews, engineering features and past races, I wouldn’t mind paying for that!

  5. In Australia we do get free to air TV coverage of the race and qualifying, but no coverage of the practice sessions. I would happily pay for this access and look the excellent content offered by Sky and only wish we had something similar here, or had access to the Sky feed itself.

    1. We do get practice sessions but only for Aussie

  6. F1 has turned form a sport to a commercial enterprise, with the emphasis now centred on profit for the partners, oh, actually mainly Mr Ecclestone. The benfits appear to shared out 505 to his “company” and the rest divied up across the teams. As viewing figures fall, the sponsors and TV companies will pay less, thus reducing Bernies income. ER.. maybe keeping the costs down, charging less to the TV companies and taking less profit would allow the TV companies to go back to Free to Air channels and see the viewing figures rise again. Average 9 million BBC , less than 1 Million Sky. Is this mathematical difference a little too obvious. Or am I not seeing the true picture here? pun intended. I actually see it on Antenna 3 i n Spain with a very biased commentary on FTA, but soon it will be subscription no doubt and will no longer be able to watch it. Not because I can’t afford but because I strongly object to the Billions that Mr Ecclestone has taken out of the sport by manouvering himseldf into the commercial rigts ownership. THAT should be the teams alone.

  7. Polish numbers are bad. You need to pay only 28,5 euro to watch F1 in HD online in IPLA service.

    1. @pawelf1

      To contribute, amend or correct the data please post a response via the link.

    2. why you have to pay? I choose to watch for free. via internet streem. not bad quality at all.

      I used to watch F1 for free since year 1994 via public television. old habits are hard to change. and i see no reason to contribute for making Bernie even richer. am i bad F1 fan because I don’t pay?

      1. That depends. Would you pay any amount (one cent ?) – or is it just that you object to the bait-and-switch of ‘it used to be free’ ?

      2. why you have to pay? I choose to watch for free. via internet streem. not bad quality at all.

        I used to watch F1 for free since year 1994 via public television. old habits are hard to change. and i see no reason to contribute for making Bernie even richer. am i bad F1 fan because I don’t pay?

        You’re not a bad fan… you’re not a fan at all. You’re completely ignored in the FOM tally of viewers. So when they say viewership is falling, what they’re really saying is “fewer people are watching our broadcasts”, and that includes you.

        Now, if FOM actually offered their own stream, at a reasonable price, then they could actually tell how many people are watching via streaming, and discover their numbers aren’t as terrible as they thought.

        But as long as Bernie and friends view the internet community as the enemy, or at least, not their target audience, they’re going to keep losing “viewers”.

  8. spafrancorchamps
    6th May 2014, 13:27

    Apparently not, sorry for dubbelpost.

    I was never really interested in motorsports on tv, but loved racegames. I remember in 2008 I was playing the F1-game on the PS3 and got more into it. It was Spa 2008 that made me feel in love with the sport. I was just searching the tv for something to watch and I stopped at F1. The race entertaint me, and I missed only 2 races since.

    The thing is, I watched it accidently, I wasn’t planning too. It was just because nothing else was on. Today, you are unable to get into the sport without a subscription, so no new crowd will be reached. And I think that’s what F1 needs, a new crowd. But no one buys a subscription for something they MIGHT BE interested in. And since it’s impossible to find any footage on YT too, you won’t reach anyone but people who are fans of the sport already. And that group of fans is slinking, at least I get the impression it is. They are killing the sport by making it too unaccessable.

    1. This is a good point. A lot of the gimmicks are often said to be trying to gain a new audience. Yet due to the lack of free to view F1, and therefore tha lack of ability for people such as yourself to “stumble” across the sport, all they achieve is irritating the purists and hardcore fans who loved the sport for what it is, whilst never being seen by their intended target!

      1. Not to mention FOM giving anyone who uploads anything F1 related on social media a cease and desist letter with threat of legal action. I mean, these are fans giving free advertising but still they stifle.

  9. Keith could you comment on the number of people who made reference to watching F1 via illegal web streams of pay tv broadcasts and/or bittorrent downloads in the survey you did for this research? Is there a correlation between people using these methods and them being located in countries with no free to air broadcasts or other limitations, such as practice not being broadcast in their country? Thanks

    1. That is the case in Portugal – since 2007 F1 is broadcast by SportT, which you have to pay on top of a cable TV subscription. Then I switched to BBC on satellite, but since it changed in the UK to Sky I just don’t bother and watch the races online.

      1. Rui (@ruicaridade)
        6th May 2014, 14:16

        As a portuguese i have to agree.

        1. As a Portuguese, thanks good I can watch on BBC and now Sky, because SporTv comentators are absolute garbage as is the coverage… I’ll rather watch F1 stream on skyf1 than SporTV on the TV with full quality.

          1. @oliveiraz33 As a portuguese, I feel sad with your post. You consider sporttv commentators, professionals who work and do their best to bring us the best possible F1 coverage, garbage?!? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but your’s demonstrate an absolute lack of consideration. I repudiate it entirely.

          2. Rui (@ruicaridade)
            7th May 2014, 9:47

            @oliveiraz33 The quality of the coverage has increased over the years but i agree with you that skyf1 / bbc is the one to watch. And cheaper as well if you are only interested in F1.

            @yes-master Every since Adriano Cerqueira the quality of the commentators has been coming down. Not to mention that i have to pay 29 euros per month to watch F1 and still have commercial interruptions

          3. @ruicaridade I agree that sport tv coverage is not great. In fact, I think it should be better (for the price paid!), without any question. However, I find no reason to low the level and start insulting the professionals who work there. No need for that.

    2. That would be an interesting comparison @fitzroyalty. I unashamedly watch all races illegally haha, and I’m in England. I chalk that down to being in Uni and our house being broke as hell! However, even when the BBC has live races, I stream the Sky versions – which is an additional caveat. Presenter preference. Even with the ability to watch HD BBC coverage, I choose a decent Sky F1 stream every time because, in my opinion, they’re leaps and bounds ahead of BBC and understand how to sell the sport to fans. That, and they’re pundits are miles ahead.

        1. Same here. Brundle is the best. I love his sardonic moments. Be grateful you’re not in Australia. The FTA is CH10 which rebroadcasts the SkyF1 coverage (no practice, pre-quali or pre-race shows though) AND the dumb Australian commenters TALK OVER BRUNDLE! It is unwatchable.

          I would happily pay F1.com or SkySports to buy an annual subscription for live stream and on demand replays via the web. Direct from them to me, wherever I am, online. But I would never buy an overpriced and mostly unused pay tv package. F1 needs to understand that broadcast tv is over…

          1. Same. I love Brundle.
            I remember missing a race and resorted to downloading it only to find out the stream was from the US. The commentators lack of F1 knowledge made it unbearable to watch. I muted it.

          2. So Fitzroyalty, you don’t watch the Aussie FTA coverage as it is “unwatchable”?

            I’d rather put up with a bit of Rusty and co, see the RACING!!!… than be forced to pay i.e. not watch my beloved F1 at all. It would also deprive my kids from enjoying the sport and deprive F1 of 2 new fans.

            As a fan base I think we should be pushing for better FTA coverage not pushing for, if we’re lucky, maybe, if they feel like it or are able to, better coverage on pay TV. The potential for crap, irritating coverage on pay TV is just as high as it is on FTA particularly if people simply abandon the sport or find other ways of viewing it… for free. For long suffering fans like me it’s about seeing the LIVE racing first and foremost, and the waffling and quality of the packaging/gimmicks a distant second. Not that I think the latter is anywhere near where it should or could be in terms of quality and features… Still beats paying. For instance the guy sitting next to Brundle I find irritating as hell and am just glad I’m not actually having to PAY to have him annoy me.

    3. Arr, who be asking ’bout me adventures?

    4. How do you measure an activity that, by its very nature, is going to be covert? By their nature, the sorts of sites where you could illegally stream material will not be publicising those sorts of details and the users will (mostly) keep quiet for fear of attracting unwanted legal action or IP blocks.

      Now, I would assume that, given the trends seen in other forms of media (such as video games, TV etc) that tighter restrictions will inevitably see an increase in piracy as people seek to circumvent those restrictions. After all, making it easier for people to enjoy legal alternatives – in other words, free to air live transmissions – would undercut the incentive to resort to illegal internet streaming services.

    5. Using torrents to download and watch the races is not just about not having a service that shows F1 races. When you download a race for example you can watch it wherever and when ever you want. This is why the old tv approach is a dying dinosaur. More and more people watch everything they watch by using on-demand services instead of having to watch it on certain time of day.

      Other reason is ads. For me for example nascar live races are totally impossible to watch because they amount of ads is insane. With torrents the annoying ads are removed which improves the quality. And no, any “side by side” ads are not any better.

      It is super easy to compete with torrents. Any respectable tv company really needs just 2 things. Internet service where you can watch the races whenever you want. Then offer decent quality and don’t make it insanely expensive or restricted. Having older races available as well would be a bonus. And no annoying ads. There, done.

      To be honest when a crappy quality online stream or a torrent is better option than the only pay-to-view option it is not because the free option is good. It is because the paid option is so horrible. F1 for the most part still lives in the 90s where internet was a lot more basic media than it is today. The f1 people still think when you watch something you turn on your tv and pay huge amount of money to see some bits of racing and some bits of ads.

      It is a generation thing. For f1 to move into the internet age there are really just two ways it can happen. Either F1 is bought completely by someone who understands internet or all the main people in F1 are replaced with new people who understand internet. As long as those two things are not happening we are stuck with being in 2014 while the people who make the decisions live in 1996.

      1. Yes, Formula 1 is still relying on TV coverage and it is outdated according to today’s standard. Commercials, no on demand service when races in a different time zone, etc. If they offer an online video llive/on demand service just like motoGP I would happily pay them money to watch the races, as long as pricing is not too ridiculous. F1 needs to catch up with today’s changing technologies.

  10. I worked in the music industry for a while, primarily, looking for old video content on cassette tapes, digitising it, and sticking up on YouTube with a specially brokered ad rate.

    The F1 archive has got to be worth a small fortune, and I can’t believe they don’t do anything with it.

    1. The F1 archive has got to be worth a small fortune, and I can’t believe they don’t do anything with it.

      @danbrown180 Couldn’t agree more.

    2. @danbrown180

      The F1 archive has got to be worth a small fortune, and I can’t believe they don’t do anything with it.

      I agree. They are completely wasting the opportunity.

    3. The F1 archive has got to be worth a small fortune, and I can’t believe they don’t do anything with it.

      I know. I don’t know why it hasn’t dawned on the powers that be that quite a few people would be willing to pay to see some of the stuff in that archive.

      1. Look at the man in charge and you’ll see the problem.

    4. The F1 archive has got to be worth a small fortune, and I can’t believe they don’t do anything with it.

      Cos Bernie already has a large fortune

    5. To me, that would be a LARGE fortune.

  11. I’m starting to change my views on the TV coverage in France. I really felt badly when I had to subscribe to Canal + when we used to have GP on TF1 for free.

    But we now do have more quality with Canal + than with TF1 (admitedly, we’re paying for it now). For 20€ a month (the price listed on the page is actually the base price, but I have sucesfully renegociated my subscription for a second year in a row to align it with the entry rebated price), what do I get that I didn’t get before ?

    – All sessions covered and available on replay (and now that I am married, I do value being able to watch F1 when it better suits my family’s time table)
    – An ad free race (and by g… did TF1 have the meanest timing for ad breaks)
    – Better commenting standards (not related but hey, I’m happy about it)
    – A full fledge 30 min inboard view only replay of the races

    And of course, all of Canal+ content :
    – Their very parisian centric news and shows (I enjoy them nontheless)
    – A wide variety of quality movies and series
    – Availability of all contents on multiple screens (cellphone, tablet, computer, tv)
    – Most of the French football and rugby leagues.

    In short, I don’t feel I’m getting ripped off anymore. That said, I switched to Canal + BECAUSE I was already a F1 fan and I enjoy an income which allows me to pay the additional price. My fealing is also more a case of TF1 having done such a bad job of the coverage when they had it (the last straw : interrupting the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix because it was time for the news.. Meaning I never got to see Button hunting down Vettel).

    I am however sure that a free to air service on par with the service Canal + now provides would vastly increase viewership figures and in turn provide more income for F1. To sum up : Free is good, quality free is better (and I believe anyone who had to suffer years of Laffite’s mumbling interrupted by ads for the latest Twingo will concur)

    1. (and I believe anyone who had to suffer years of Laffite’s mumbling interrupted by ads for the latest Twingo will concur)


      Haha, top spot bro.

      I suscribed to Canal+ as early as I heard they’d get the broadcasting rights. When TF1 (free-to-air) was broadcasting, I was watching BBC or Sky ‘illegal’ streams because of all what you mentioned.

      Anyway, now for 20 bucks per month – shared with my beloved one makes 10 – I can fully* enjoy my passion for F1 and getting my dose of racing.

      *If you remember, in the early 2000’s Kiosque had 8 channels dedicated to F1 on Grand Prix weekends. That was huge!

  12. Eddie (@wackyracer)
    6th May 2014, 13:39

    What are my options to watch F1:

    Macedonian National TV – It’s on cable, commentators have not clue what they are talking about, mute is the best option, I can’t watch F1 on this channel, it’s painful. They do not show the practice sessions, just qualy and race. If there is something more important to be shown on the channel, they drop F1 and show what they wish will bring them more viewers.

    – Sport Klub TV – It’s also on cable, it’s on Serbian language (Macedonians know Serbian but still it’s not as good as your own language). They do not talk about technical stuff, there are two commentators and both seem like they are play-by-play commentators. They show everything from the first practice till the race.

    – RTL TV – German TV, they show all the practice sessions, qualy and race, but we do not understand the language and just watching pictures :P

    – Illegal live stream from Sky F1 on the internet, which is where most of Macedonians watch F1

  13. In the UK no one need pay greedy SKY one farthing. Get a cheap Satellite box and dish, point the dish at the satellite Astra 2A/2E at 19.2 degrees East and enjoy free live coverage of all races from the German channel RTL (Practice is usually covered by the German channel SPORT). The commentary is in the german language but BBC 5-live cover all races so turn the TV sound down and turn up the radio. It could not be simpler the only problem is aligning the dish but mount it on a paving slab in the garden and you can twiddle with it without falling off a ladder. Happy viewing.

    1. Is RTL normally free-to-air?

      1. Yes, it’s free.

  14. As already mentioned, there are other sports that have taken advantage of the opportunities granted by technology to sell its coverage directly to fans. Namely the NFL offering a 70 dollars (or so) a year to have complete access to all the games in real time AND replay of all the games of the season plus 2 or 3 seasons in the past.
    I’m not saying that’s the necessary step for F1, but I’d love to be able to watch the races choosing the cameras I wanted and be able to watch it whenever I wanted (since I have been having a lot of touble finding the time to watch it live). I don’t know, if the path chosen is to make it pay-per-view, at least it has to be so good that we feel convinced to pay for it.

    And, in another subject, I agree with “spafrancorchamps” when talked about the problem of new watchers being unable to access the sport unless they want to search for it… it is a problem. I started watching F1 because it was available. Every sunday morning (I live in Brazil), there it was in my TV.. with time I got used to it and started liking.

  15. Canada -, TSN (The Sports Network) no subscription, coverage of second practice session, Qualifying, and race.
    So very lucky here

    1. Not exactly…
      TSN/TSN2, and the French language RDS are cable channels, so technically are not free-to-air.
      TSN always uses BBC-provided audio, either from the live radio coverage or live TV coverage when it’s available. This is particularly annoying for the audio, especially this year, when the commentators drown out all track-sounds. Race-day audio quality is significantly better than 2nd practice. Another problem this presents is commentary getting cut-off mid-sentence because TSN must break for commercials. At least they use side-by-side images so you still see what’s happening next to the advert. I tend to switch channels during adverts but sometimes they are synched.
      RDS have their own local announcers, but no one at each race… unless you count Christian Tortora who just sits in the media room offering uninsightful comments by telephone. At least TSN getting BBC audio gives us the pit reporters and slightly more useful commentary.
      Other than TSN2 having 2nd practice, and TSN & RDS having qualifying and race, there is only a short pre-race show on RDS. There are no other F1 programs of any kind on TSN/TSN2, and if the race goes long, they cut-off interviews and even the podium ceremony in order to switch some all-important fishing show.

      I wish it would be possible to mute the commentary and just have track audio sometimes! The technology is there — they just have to use one of the SAP (second audio program) channels normally used to provide alternate language(s).
      It would be nice if the commentators weren’t so condescending as well. I can’t think of another sport with such a massive audience that is explained over and over and over! Someone should slap David Coulthard each time he says “for those tuning in for the first time“!

  16. Daniel (@tamburello)
    6th May 2014, 14:05

    It is mostly down to the fact that the sport in general is less entertaining than let’s say 20 years ago. The fact that the FIA now restricts drivers in their driving through the new formula, sponsors limit drivers to express any type of emotion and the fact that FOM is so damn greedy in their source material, just proves that the sport itself is out of touch with the fans. Anyone from the States can confirm that the reason behind Nascar’s and Indycar’s success is the close contact with fans, the distribution of material through new media (full races on YouTube the same day) and the overall more relaxed attitude of drivers.

    It is truly shocking to see how relaxed the drivers were during interviews 2 decades ago, how more natural they looked. Just a room with a blanket in the background and three folding chairs was enough to hold the interview. F1 has always been a business, but as a fan you were confronted first with the characters and then the business side. Just like the racing, it is all about managing the whole show of F1, and like any big business, the top brass cannot care less about the demands of customer.

    I don’t mind the money I pay, since the coverage is pretty descent in the Netherlands (now that Olav Mol is back as a commentator at least) Also because the coverage on my laptop, is not quite there yet. But in a few years time there will be no reason to pay anymore. Just stream it in HD on our 4K screens and off we go.

    The ideal situation of course would be to invest into coverage, in stead of taking the profit for yourself. Something I am afraid will never happen:(

  17. bein sport UAE £1,512??? i have that subscribtion and it is costing me AED 936 APPROX £156 may be typo.

    1. @sjct83

      To contribute, amend or correct the data please post a response via the link.

    2. @keithcollantine @sjct83 I noticed that as well! :) As I mentioned in the thread you linked, my subscription for TV, Internet, Landline and BeIn Sports is AED775 which is about (GBP125).

      1. @Geemac they are revising the charges starting from june. going up from AED 58pm to AED78. BTW AED 775/year incl tv,internet and phone??

        1. That’s what it says on the bill. The landline is “free” and I’ve obviously excluded the cost of calls because they aren’t relevant for these purposes, I don’t have the fastest internet option and I don’t have all the channels they offer or all the additional packages (like Abu Dhabi Sports or channels in languages other than English), so maybe that’s why mine is a bit lower than yours.

  18. Bernie should consider what happened to boxing, because pay-per-view killed it.
    In the days of free-to-air boxing, everybody knew some boxers and had seen some fights. Today, most people don’t know a single boxer unless he boxed in the free-to-air days. Boxing audiences grew until pay-per-view and have been shrinking since, turning a gold mine sport into a nugget.
    It will happen to F1 too.

  19. Can’t respond to the link for some reason (bars my account from replying.

    1. What country are you in (and state, if applicable)
    US, New York
    2. Which channels broadcast F1 near you?
    NBC Sports Network
    3. Do they show all the races live or only a limited number (if so, how many?)
    All live
    4. Do they also show qualifying live?
    Most live, sometimes is tape delayed
    5. Do they also show practice sessions live?
    On the app, but only practice 2 on TV
    6. If they are a subscription channel, what does a full year’s subscription cost (excluding limited time offers)?
    $960 for a base plan on DirecTV
    7. Do they broadcast coverage online? If so please post link/s
    Yes, NBCsports.com
    8. Please supply any other relevant information such as alternative viewing options

  20. I watch illegal streams. It’s a shame because I’ve got money ready and waiting to be handed over to F1 for an official stream. I’m simply not going to pay the guts of 600 – 700 euros a year for hundreds of channels that I’ll never watch just to get F1.

    They need to take a hard look at something like MLB.tv and get the ball rolling. I’d happily pay 100 euros to stream the whole season.

    Too many sports act like they are the only show in town, they need to understand that people have a range of interests and if you come at them with ultra premium pricing you might just end up being ignored.

    1. I’m the same, although i make do with the limited BBC coverage rather than trying to find illegal streams. But there must be lots of people who would be willing to pay a reasonable sum for F1 streaming only. My objection is paying for a standard sky subscription and all three sky sports channels even if you only want the one channel (around £55/month plus £7 if you want HD + around £5 more for full sky plus functionality i think). It works out over £650 per year (minimum) unless you negotiate some deal. Even the sky pay as you go streaming option is not value for money imo at £10 per 24 hours… which won’t even cover the full race weekend.

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