F1 on Sky and BBC – The Options

As we approach the last race of the season this weekend in Interlagos, nobody in the UK can be sure how they will watch the next race.

Here are some options:


Half of next year’s races including British Grand Prix will be on the BBC, but which ones?

BBC1 is available on all UK TV platforms

Sky Sports 1 and 2

These channels COULD be used for some or all races next year.

SS1 and 2 are available on all UK TV platforms including Digital Terrestrial with a Top Up TV card.

Could be shown on Freeview if Sky wanted to make the Channels free to air during F1 broadcasts.

Sky Sports 3 and 4

These channels are only available to Sky Sports subscribers with both SS1 and SS2.

IndyCar is currently shown on Sky Sport 4.

Not available on Digital Terrestrial / BT Vision

Speed TV UK / Sky Motorsports

A new channel is rumoured to be under consideration with a separate subscription option. This channel could be offered free of charge to SS1 / SS2 subscribers. It could conceivably be offered free to all Sky subscribers, like Sky Atlantic.

Speed TV is NewsCorp’s motorsport TV brand in the US and Australia.

Sky Motorsports could be carried on Digital Terrestrial as a Top Up TV / BT Vision subscription offering or even offered Free to Air.

The Bottom Line

If Sky really want to shake things up they may wish to consider TV ratings over subscription revenue and offer a heavily discounted or even free to view offer. They need to be wary of the fact that they really only have 9 or 10 exclusive events to sell people, and that’s hardly critical mass for people to make large investments in infrastructure or subscriptions.

The worst case scenario would be to jump between SS1 and 2 and SS3 and 4 according to the football schedule, because 3 and 4 have a much more limited subscriber base.  I just hope the changes give other forms of motorsport like GP2, NASCAR and IndyCar better coverage in the UK from next year.

Sky have a tough call to make.

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