Saturday, 30 July 2011

Sky F1 - A Calmer View

If you're on the main page, you can scroll down and read my initial reaction to the bad news that despite mention of F1 being "Not for sale" and Bernie Ecclestone saying it would be "disastrous" for F1 not to be on free-to-air TV (although since when was he a trustworthy person?), Sky has got its greedy hands on Formula 1 TV rights. I still stand by a lot of what I said - the presenters will probably be style-over-substance and have an irritating demeanour, the pre-race show will be interrupted with adverts for the million other Sky Sports, er, sports, and the commentators won't be as entertaining - but after learning a little more about the deal, it's not as bad as I thought it was.

The deal is currently going to last six years (from 2012-2018), and the BBC will still be able to show the full highlights of the races they're no longer allowed to broadcast live, so those of you who cannot afford the £610 for a Sky HD box can still see what essentially happened in those races. I still don't like that the BBC can't be there for every race, but they've already confirmed Monaco, Silverstone and the final race as ones they are covering themselves (given the choice for races that both channels cover, I will always choose the BBC). Sky coverage won't see adverts during the race like ITV did, but there will still be adverts before and after, and Sky ads are annoying. As far as I'm aware, it won't be in 3D, but because I can't afford a 3DTV and don't want to be sucked into an expensive gimmicky fad, that means nothing to me. The lack of in-race ads sounds like a calm-down tactic to me (and others), but hopefully that 'feature' will stay throughout the whole 6 years anyway. Hopefully the 6 years will be the full extent of Sky coverage as well. I want it to stay on the BBC, as I'm sure is abundantly clear by now.

I've previously mentioned FOTA and their potential to turn this on its head, but they haven't made any noises so far, and technically you can still follow a whole season on free-to-air, even if it isn't all live. The one big thing that will stop a lot of people watching Sky F1, even those that can afford the hideously expensive (and in my experience quite unreliable) Sky box, is that the money goes directly to Rupert Murdoch, who I gather is some sort of evil villain. He runs News Corp, for instance, which includes the recently shut-down phone hackers, News of the World. His media empire doesn't really need another major sport in it, but the fact that it will next year is a sad sign that both he and Bernie Ecclestone (Formula 1 owner and sentient, bespectacled troll doll) are equally greedy for money...

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