F1 continues trend for pay-channel TV deals

More countries have followed Britain’s lead in seeing their exclusive free-to-air television coverage of formula one end.

The first bombshell was last year, when the split arrangement between pay-channel Sky and the BBC began for the British audience. Sky’s German arm has shared coverage with free-to-air RTL for years.

But on the heels of the British deal, the next was in Italy, where Sky Italia acquired the exclusive live rights for 2013 and beyond, sharing half the season with an unidentified free-to-air broadcaster.

Earlier in February, it emerged that pay broadcaster Sport1 has taken over the F1 rights in the Netherlands, ending free-to-air RTL7’s long association with the sport. Now, France is following suit, with reports TF1 – the country’s F1 broadcaster since 1992 – has lost its exclusive coverage of formula one to Canal+. Canal+, a pay-channel, has inked a three-year deal with F1, featuring only a Sunday magazine programme for the free-to-air audience.

French media source RMC Sport said Canal+ is paying EUR 29 million per year for the deal. The sports daily L’Equipe said the French broadcasting news is a “small earthquake in the world of Formula One”.

TF1’s communications chief Frederic Ivernel suggested to the French news agency AFP that it lost the deal simply because it was outbid by Canal+.

“We cannot invest money in extravagant sports rights without it being profitable,” he said.


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