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F1 fans switching off in Italy and Brazil

NEWS STORY
14/05/2018

While Sunday's somewhat processional Spanish Grand Prix - especially with its overlong coverage of the exploits of local heroes Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz - was a good enough incentive for some to switch off and head out into the sunshine... or watch a repeat of Columbo on another channel, fans in Italy and Brazil have been abandoning the sport for altogether different reasons.

None other than Chase Carey has admitted that fans in the home of Ferrari are refusing to pay after coverage went exclusively to Pay-TV broadcaster Sky this year, while interest in Brazil has waned following the retirement of Felipe Massa.

"TV viewership in the first four races is down a touch," said Carey, according to the Independent. "Sort of down mid-single digits.

"The down is driven by two factors," he continued, "really two countries. Italy, where we have moved platforms from probably being more free to a bit more pay, so that has probably had the biggest impact.

"Brazil is a country without Felipe Massa racing. He was our Brazilian driver so that has an impact on viewership there. Actually, the majority of our countries, take the top 20 countries, the majority of them are up but the impact in those two markets brings it sort of down mid-single digits."

F1's Global Media Report reveals that 77.5 million viewers tuned in to F1 in Brazil in 2016, making the south American country the sport's biggest TV market.

With 32 million tuning in to F1 in Italy, this brought the sport's total viewership for 2016 to 390 million.

A change to the manner in which the figures are calculated, meaning the totals are now more accurate, saw the total audience decline to 352.3 million in 2017 however.

F1's increasing disappearance behind a pay-wall has led to viewer numbers falling by 41.3% over the last decade, a number that will surely increase when the sport becomes the exclusive domain of Sky in the UK next year.

As with most other sports, Pay-TV broadcasters are willing to pay the big bucks for the sports they want, as evidenced by Morgan Stanley's revelation that Sky Italia is paying 98m annually - 33% more than when it shared coverage with free-to-air channel RAI.

Sky's exclusive deal with F1 for the UK is said to be worth 110m annually, however, many are unlikely to make the full switch for a number of reasons, including not being able to afford it, the very principal of paying for something which has traditionally been free or even the refusal to hand their hard-earned over to Rupert Murdoch.

Despite the continued claims on social media that they do it all for the fans, the teams are unlikely to speak out for at a time the prize pot has been hit by Liberty's continued spending, they still share 68% of the sport's profits... so the TV deals are much needed.

There remains confusion over coverage of the British Grand Prix on TV, because coverage of the event has to remain free-to-air.

Then again, with the Silverstone event currently set to disappear from the calendar after next year, perhaps race fans in the UK will have even more reason to seek alternative ways to spend their weekends.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Matt1308, 15/05/2018 18:24

"Once it goes fully sky pay tv that will be it for me I’m afraid. My 44 year addiction will have to stop I’m not paying Murdock for something I have spent a lifetime being a fan of. If liberty want to up the viewing figures they are crazy putting a pay per view barrer in the way of life long fans. So be it."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Spindoctor, 15/05/2018 11:23

"Ah yes but as we are told by the pundits, all the races this year (up to now anyway) have been really exciting.
Unfortunately although they may have been unpredictable, and consequently generate some excitement, they are not really been very much about motor racing.

For my money, and I am prepared to pay to watch Formula One, I don't want the outcome of races to be decided solely by bad strategy, crappy tyres, or aero-induced crashes. Call me old-fashioned, but I want to see the best drivers in the world in very fast cars racing against one another from lights-out to flag.

In the increasingly unlikely event that Liberty media can produce those goods I'll carry on watching, though I'll have to use a VPN in order to access their streaming service, as there is no way that Mr Murdoch will get any of my cash."

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

3. Posted by alfsboy, 15/05/2018 10:50

"Colombo every time .I can safely sleep through it knowing who won before it even starts . Come to think of it its a bit like F1 after all ."

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4. Posted by alvarezh3, 14/05/2018 22:31

"Other than Toto Wolff mentioning empty seats at a German GP a few years back, I have never heard of the teams complaining about diminishing audiences.

The teams are just as happy to increase viewer's revenue in order to increase their share of the pot (68% according to the article). They are just chewing their own tails, eventually they will see less advertisers on their cars and fewer amounts of cash from their Liberty Media partner (BTW, it has already started to happen).

As far as I am concerned, the teams have a 68% share blame for viewer's costs increases (by TV or track attendance fees). Empty seats were noticeable yesterday in Spain with no less than two well known Spanish drivers on track.

Go teams, keep on throwing away money like there is no end in sight. Keep it up just like you have been doing for decades and you will definitely see the end arriving sooner (pity, Williams and Force India are close to the gate already). You want new 750,000.00 Euro front wings (Ross Brawn figures) on every track and a 12,000,000.00 Euro engine contract? No problem, just that the numbers have shown that the advertisers nor the audiences are willing to pay for them. You are free to choose your financial spendings, but you can't drag us (nor the advertisers) to partner you on your demise.

Remember teams, you don't provide us with breathing air! You need us more than we need you! Since when is any racing sport a NEEDED necessity? As it can be confirmed, not even NASCAR nor INDY are inmune.

The FIA and FOM thought the solution on teams leaving the series do to financial strain was to run a championship with as few as four teams (Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull) with three or four cars each........ just TRY IT!"

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5. Posted by Chris Balfe (editor), 14/05/2018 18:55

"@ FQITW

And you thought Ronspeak was bad..."

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6. Posted by FQITW, 14/05/2018 18:51

"‘We have moved platforms from probably being more free to a bit more pay’

‘Sort of down mid-single digits’


It’s probably because you have sort of made everything sort of sort of exclusive pay to air, sort of.
If you sort off see what I mean….

Now I suppose Pitpass should sort of start a translation service for it’s readers.
"

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7. Posted by Ro, 14/05/2018 18:37

"Wont be long before all countries will switch off and not watch. Media Liberty is just ruining our sport !
"

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8. Posted by Rock Doc, 14/05/2018 18:26

"Not even the spin can hide the real message here."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by Jeremysmith, 14/05/2018 17:32

"I have paid for the last forty years to watch F, if fans are real fans then they will subscribe otherwise they are only fans when F1 is free. ."

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

10. Posted by Yeyox02, 14/05/2018 16:17

"Why people pay to see advertisements and bad products?"

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