I woke up this morning excited for two days off which will be filled with children’s parties, dressing up as a decorator, going to interview Badly Drawn Boy & watching Vettel smash another F1 race. Just your average weekend really, except this time next year, I probably won’t be able to say the same thing…
Unless you haven’t seen the news at all this morning, you’ll already be aware that for some bizarre reason, the BBC have decided to give Sky TV the rights to much of the F1 broadcasting for next season, meaning that from 2012, the only way to see a full season of F1 will be to buy a Sky Sports subscription, something which doesn’t come cheap.
For 12 months of Sky Sports a new user will have to pay £487, meaning that, if, like me and most of the readers of this blog, you want to keep track of the season next year, you’re going to have to cut back on tasty F1 race treats and watch the action in your living room with just a glass of water and maybe a Rich Tea biscuit, if you can afford it.
Oddly, just a month ago, F1 Teams’ Association chairman Martin Whitmarsh said last month: “It’s crucial to the commercial model of Formula 1 that TV coverage should remain free-to-air, and therefore universally accessible, and therefore widely consumed and enjoyed by large numbers of viewers – and the BBC delivers that in the UK. All of the FOTA teams believe in free-to-air television.”
However, there is hope for fans yet as the new deal may infringe upon the teams’ contract with Bernie Ecclestone as Whitmarsh added; “Our current contracts require that F1 remain on free-to-air and the teams, through FOTA, are clearly going to safeguard their business interests and the interests of the fans in this regard.”
So, will YOU be forking out almost £500 for the privilege to watch Hamilton, Button and friends zoom around racetracks? Or is it time to shift your attentions to something far cheaper, perhaps birdwatching, or gardening?