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“I read the news today, oh boy…”

… and that was the motivation to start this blog.

BBC/Sky F1 deal for 2012-2018

I’ve been watching F1 since the early 80’s and love the full experience of watch Live F1 on TV. Sitting through every minute of the action and, since the re-fuelling era where strategies were becoming evermore important, enjoy trying to work out and predict the strategies and timing in my own head as the action progress.

The last few years since F1 came back to to the BBC has been glorious for the armchair F1 fan. Love the racing, love the commentary (Martin Brundle please stand), and most of all LOVE the whole show put on by the BBC F1 team (Jake, David, Crofty, Ted, even Eddie, and not to forget the rest of the crew scampering around each of the track venues).

But my head’s been in a bit of a spin today since the news. I’ve always been a bit of an armchair everything and don’t usually stick my head up to shout about much but this has got me a bit angry/mad/upset.

I know there were the recent rumours of News Corp. being interested in getting involved in F1, either to buy the whole shebang from CVC or Sky getting the TV rights to show it, but after the recent and ongoing News of the World scandal and the comments made by Martin Whitmarsh and other F1 team principals reiterating that F1 needs to stay ‘Free-to-air’ broadcasting in Britain I just didn’t think it would happen.

The Beginning of the End?

OK let me get this out first… I don’t like Murdoch or News Corp. or Sky and i don’t like the way they do business. And this was before the even more scandalous things that have emerged in the last month that a part of the News Corp. family (News of the World) are alledged to done. And I will never buy into the Sky.

So with that out of the way, what do I think F1 on Sky will mean? OK so the BBC still has half of the races broadcasting live, and the rest as highlights, with Sky broadcasting the whole championship live. Now that Sky has got it’s claws on F1 it will be very hard to get it to let go. I read a comment by a user on the JamesAllenonF1 article that they think the BBC will probably pull out of the deal altogether after a couple of years, and I can very well believe it.

F1 has not got the mass appeal that football has in Britain. It’s suprising the number of my football loving friends that don’t like F1. These are the type of people that have season tickets for their team and follow them religiously. When I mention F1 then kinda look at me a bit funny. It’s has been commendable of the BBC to have increased the British TV audience in recent years according to Jake Humphreys and various other commentators of the sport. But when the full season of live F1 goes behind a pay wall, and half live/half highlights is free on BBC I can’t help feeling that the audience numbers will be eroded when this deal starts, as hardcore fans walk away.

The trance is broken

I devote a lot of my time to follow each F1 season. As well as watching the live races and qualifying that are on during daylight in the UK timezone I also stay up to watch the flyaway races/qualifying live. I love watching all the practice sessions to catchup on all the latest team gossip, and it’s great to watch the after race analysis on the BBC Forum. This is what a hardcore fan does (apart from the ones that actully go to the races, total respect to you guys!).

So what does this TV deal mean to me personally? I’ve been thinking about that all day. If I have to devote so much of my time but only get half the experience, is it worth it?

I’m coming around to the idea that it’s not. I haven’t read all the comments from people on various articles and blogs toaday because I’ve been gathering my thoughts and writing this blog, but the few that I have read and quickly glanced through I’m surprised to see many people in a similar situation and coming to the same conclusion.

After 30 years maybe it’s time to walk away fromĀ F1 and get my life back to normal.

I hope I haven’t bored you with this personal dialog.

f1ontheedge