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RTL says auf wiedersehen to F1

NEWS STORY
22/06/2020

German free-to-air F1 broadcaster RTL has announced that it will not renew its contract once the 2020 season comes to an end.

Much like the BBC in the UK, RTL was broadcasting F1 at a time the sport was still seeking to establish itself on TV, the German station first showing live coverage of races in 1984, continuing until 1988.

In 1991 it began broadcasting live coverage again, agreeing a new contract in 2017 which ran until the end of this season.

Today, the broadcaster's Head of Sport, Manfred Loppe revealed that it will not continue broadcasting live coverage beyond the end of this season.

"When you have competitors in the game who are prepared to offer double as much as you can then you are forced into a position of having to withdraw," said Loppe in a statement. "RTL wants to try in the future to present attractive sporting events to our viewers. But it is clear that economic limits will play a role, as well as the changing competitive environment.

"We have broadcast Formula One for over three decades with great love and passion, as well as with a plucky readiness for innovation and investment," he added. "RTL will forever be associated with the most widely viewed, most emotional, unforgotten moments in the top motor racing series."

Indeed, RTL was there throughout Germany's 'golden era' in F1, covering the domination of Schumacher, Vettel and then Mercedes.

"Competition for TV rights has changed and the market has in part overheated," said RTL's MD, Jorg Graf. "As such it has extended beyond our ambitious, but at the same time economically justifiable, limits."

As it stands it is unclear if there will be any live coverage free-to-air in Germany next year, though interest in the sport has waned in recent years, a situation not helped by the uncertainty over Sebastian Vettel's future.

It is still possible that RTL might agree a contract similar to that originally agreed with Channel 4, which saw a limited number of races shown live free-to-air while live coverage of all races was only available through subscriber broadcaster Sky. From last year, Channel 4 was only allowed to show one race live, the British Grand Prix.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by WatchingF1onRTL, 21/06/2020 17:46

"For almost a decade, I used RTL for F1 coverage. I was very happy with the experience. I've saved myself a lot of money ... thank you, Mein RTL :-)"

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

2. Posted by matra123, 21/06/2020 15:23

"This is not going to be much of a loss. RTL would place long, sometimes very long, commercial breaks during the race. Can you imagine the uproar if you placed commercial breaks during a football game? The commentary was also at an amateur level.
No, no great loss."

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