Fans reveal state of F1 television coverage worldwide

2014 F1 season

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.

2014 F1 season


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150 comments on Fans reveal state of F1 television coverage worldwide

  1. Geza said on 8th May 2014, 19:06

    Serbia, Sport Klub (SK1), race and qualifying (all now). Sorry I don’t know the price of the complete Sport klub package.

  2. Yat said on 17th May 2014, 11:26

    India may have free to air F1 but the coverage goes through ESPN-STAR carriers.

    We have to subscribe to ESPN-STAR sports channels and still have to put up with advertisements during the races. F1 coverage in India is terrible to be honest.

    I unsubscribed a long time back due to the number of ads we had to put up with.

  3. Elwyn said on 24th August 2014, 14:24

    NBC coverage is terrible. More adds than race. Thank god for the Spanish channel which shows the entire race, no adds and better coverage. Don’t understand the language but who cares. Adds come on on NBC flip to the Spanish channel and don’t miss a thing.

  4. Jamie said on 25th August 2014, 5:10

    NBC Coverage in the U.S. is appalling. The adds make the race unintelligible.

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