Sky Sports nails down ex­clu­sive UK TV deal

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

Live ter­res­trial cov­er­age of For­mula 1 in the UK will cease when Chan­nel 4’s cur­rent con­tract runs out at the end of 2018

Sky has ex­tended its deal with For­mula One Man­age­ment to in­clude ex­clu­sive UK live broad­cast rights from 2019 to 2024. The satel­lite broad­caster also an­nounced that it would be of­fer­ing an ‘Ul­tra HD’ feed for sub­scribers to its new Skyq 4K ser­vice from the be­gin­ning of next sea­son.

“Since 2012 we have demon­strated un­ri­valled com­mit­ment to F1, of­fer­ing fans in­no­va­tions in­clud­ing a ded­i­cated chan­nel and the very best broad­cast­ing tal­ent,” said Sky Sports MD Bar­ney Fran­cis. “We are de­lighted that we are strength­en­ing our cov­er­age for view­ers even fur­ther, with live and ex­clu­sive F1 from 2019 and the chance to watch in Ul­tra HD.”

The an­nounce­ment came as a sur­prise to Chan­nel 4, which took over the BBC’S ter­res­trial broad­cast­ing con­tract at the be­gin­ning of this sea­son. 10 of the 21 races will be screened live on ter­res­trial TV in the UK in 2016, and a high­lights-only deal could be avail­able when the chan­nel’s cur­rent con­tract ex­pires.

“It’s a bit early for that be­cause we’ve only just picked up the news,” said Stephen Lyle, Chan­nel 4’s head of For­mula 1. “It doesn’t af­fect the con­tract we have at the moment, so noth­ing has re­ally changed on that score in terms of how we are ap­proach­ing it. We’ll ob­vi­ously look at it and then look at what to do from 2019 on­wards.”

The ter­res­trial broad­caster has been praised for bring­ing an edgier, more youth­ful ap­proach to F1 pro­gram­ming, and lead com­men­ta­tor David Coulthard re­cently picked up a Royal Tele­vi­sion So­ci­ety award.

Un­der Sky Sports' new deal the British Grand Prix will con­tinue to be shown on a free-to-air chan­nel, and the broad­caster promised that “at least two” prime­time grands prix would be shown on Sky Sports Mix, a soon-to-be-launched chan­nel that will be free to Sky sub­scribers who do not have the full-blown Sports pack­age.

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