Ecclestone inks split broadcasting deal for Italy

Bernie Ecclestone has inked a television deal for Italy that mirrors the controversial split-broadcasting arrangement in Britain.

For 2012, the F1 chief executive ended free-to-air live coverage of the grand prix weekends within Britain by agreeing a deal with pay-channel Sky. Free-to-air viewers in Britain can now only watch a limited amount of races live, with the others restricted to delayed highlights packages. Ecclestone has signed a near-identical arrangement for Italy.

The live broadcasting rights for the entire 2013 calendar have been secured by Italy’s pay-channel Sky. Assuming a 20-race calendar, free-to-air viewers in Italy will see 9 grands prix live, with the other eleven to be shown in the form of a delayed broadcast.

One of the free-to-air live races will be the Italian grand prix at Monza, publications including La Gazzetta dello Sport and Autosprint said.

“We have worked with Sky Italia in the past and I have no doubts about their standards of production,” Ecclestone is quoted as saying.

“We have a similar arrangement in England that is working very well, increasing the quality and breadth of coverage and ensuring at the same time that events can be seen for free.”