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Channel 4 to show UK terrestrial F1 coverage in 2016

NEWS STORY
21/12/2015

Channel 4 has announced that it is to broadcast terrestrial coverage of F1 from next season.

The move sees the British broadcaster take over the rights from the BBC which is seeking to reduce its spending.

"Channel 4 will broadcast 10 live races, including practice and qualifying sessions, in each of the three seasons from 2016 to 2018," said the broadcaster in a statement this morning. "It will also broadcast comprehensive highlights of all 21 Grands Prix and qualifying sessions - including those shown live by Sky Sports F1. All of the live coverage and highlights will be broadcast free-to-air and in high definition.

"Reflecting Channel 4's track record for innovation in sports broadcasting, in a first for a UK terrestrial commercial broadcaster, no advertising breaks will be taken through the duration of the live races.

"I am sorry that the BBC could not comply with their contract but I am happy that we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1 events without commercial intervals during the race," said Bernie Ecclestone. "I am confident that Channel 4 will achieve not only how the BBC carried out the broadcast in the past but also with a new approach as the world and Formula 1 have moved on."

"Formula One is one of the world's biggest sporting events with huge appeal to British audiences," added David Abraham, Channel 4 Chief Executive. "I'm delighted to have agreed this exciting new partnership with Bernie Ecclestone to keep the sport on free-to-air television."

"Channel 4 and Formula One are the perfect partnership," said Jay Hunt, Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer. "We've the same appetite for innovation and we'll be demonstrating that to fans by becoming the first free-to-air commercial broadcaster to show the races ad free."

Details of the 2016 races broadcast live by Channel 4 will be agreed in early-2016. Further details of Channel 4's production and presenting teams will also be announced in due course.

Channel 4 was in talks to take over terrestrial coverage of F1 back in 2011 when the BBC first looked to get out of its contract, a move which ultimately saw the infamous deal with Sky Sports.

The often controversial broadcaster is also home to the superb Toast of London, as well as comedy classics Father Ted and The IT Crowd.

"The current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made," said Barbara Slater, the BBC's director of sport. "Any decision to have to stop broadcasting a particular sport or sporting event is hugely disappointing and taken reluctantly. There are no easy solutions; all of the options available would be unpopular with audiences."

"These are very challenging times for the BBC and sport is not immune to those financial pressures," added Slater, whose job title seems somewhat redundant considering the lack of sport on the BBC these days.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by markscottuk, 24/12/2015 20:58

"With coulthard buddying up with the ginger nut on not Top Gear then that rules him out. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Vinicius, 23/12/2015 16:15

"Well... Sky Sports does better coverage than BBC. To people who already watch live streamings instead of TV like me, nothing will change. Maybe the hope for a better coverage if CH4 could do a better job than Sky Sports. I like Ben Edwards, best commentator ever, but nobody deserves Jordan and Coulthard."

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Spindoctor, 22/12/2015 11:03

"That's it then.
The truth is that the World has moved on. The sustained attack on the BBC by Multinationals like News International, with the cooperation of various governments, has driven BBC out of popular sports almost completely. And now its Bye, bye F1. Channel 4 will pick up the scraps dropped from Sky's Table and F1 fans are expected, no doubt, to be "grateful" that some races are FTA.

I'm curious about the financial arrangements, I wonder if CVC\Bernie will loose money...


For commentary, Maybe C4 will simply re-broadcast Sky's Live coverage, and ink a deal for Sky to do a Highlights package for them too. That would be a nice little earner for Rupert, and save C4 some serious dosh: finding, training & transporting a team to the races. If they go it alone, I'm pretty sure that C4's independent efforts would be pretty poor, and make Sky look even more attractive.

I'm content to pay for Netflix & Amazon, and F1 is no different.
I'd prefer F1 to be FTA, but I'd be prepared to pay for a decent service, if it weren't deliberately priced to force me to by lots of Murdoch's dross I don't want. "

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4. Posted by ScottC, 21/12/2015 19:05

"CH4 did a good job with the Tour de France before it then moved to ITV4 (where they still do a good job) and so I have no doubt they are capable of doing similar with F1. The news that they won't break into live coverage is welcome and indicates an understanding of live "sport". I do hope that they try something a bit different to the Lewis Hamilton fan club that the bbc coverage has become on too many occasions though :)"

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5. Posted by PeterJ42, 21/12/2015 18:37

"I hope that means the end for the never made its - the abysmal Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard partnership."

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6. Posted by mickl, 21/12/2015 17:24

"From one government owned channel to another government owned channel. Progress indeed."

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7. Posted by nonickname, 21/12/2015 15:25

"The bbc is a mirror of what england has become... (all lowercase is intentional). Stop dreaming, the golden days are in the past."

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8. Posted by Ro, 21/12/2015 14:51

"Well at least we (the majority of viewers methinks) will have live coverage. I applaud Channel 4 to not broadcast any adverts during the race. I now wander if DC and any of the BBC team will join the Ch4 team....."

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9. Posted by LifelessDead, 21/12/2015 13:33

"Well, that sucks...
Not being British, the BBC was part of my cable package and my only decent chance to see F1 races as a live broadcast.
Maybe I can stick something together with German RTL (non-HDTV broadcast) combined with the Radio 5 Live stream from the F1 APP (unfortunately the sound quality of that stream sucks, if it even works).

I could download the broadcasts after the fact in good quality, but then I think I would prioritize GP2.

Maybe it's time to just give up on F1 after 30 years...
"

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