Sky Sports F1 announced on 23rd March 2016 that they will own the exclusive rights to broadcast Formula One in the UK as of 2019. That’s a bit of tough luck for fans who only receive terrestrial TV.
The news has resulted in much whinging from those who can’t afford – or are too tight – to pay for Sky Sports F1. Some of the so-called “dedicated” fans of F1 have said that they’ll “be looking for another sport to follow” and blame Bernie Ecclestone for the deal. But is that fair?
Most sports in the UK have moved to pay TV. The majority of football, rugby union, MotoGP, UFC, NBA is broadcast on the pay TV channels of BT Sport and various other sports, including Golf, have moved to Sky TV. Why? Well the answer is simple: terrestrial channel providers such as the BBC and Channel 4 simply can’t justify the cost from their ever dwindling budgets.
There are deals to be had
Sky are forever advertising offers for Sky packages in various forms. Whether it’s with a free TV or additional Sports channels inclusive. Last year I managed to get Sky TV, Sky Sports F1 and Sky movies for £46 per month including Unlimited broadband using a voucher on the MoneySavingExpert.com website. That’s a great price even if you hate the Murdoch empire. Of course there are genuinely people who can’t afford to pay for Sky and they’ll have to resort to alternative methods such as finding a local pub which broadcasts races, going to a friends house or using one of the numerous (technically illegal) online streaming website out there.
Don’t forget about NOW TV
Now TV, a division of Sky, offer day passes for £6.99 a day. That means you could watch the entire race weekend (including Qualifying) for £14.98 which is an average cost when compared to some of the pay-to-view sports broadcast such as boxing. At times, Now TV offer a 20% discount on Sports which can bring the cost down even more.
Watching Sky Sports F1: the current options
|Sky Sports F1 subscription||Sky box/subscription||From £45||HD option available plus additional options such as Sky Go|
|Now TV||Internet connection and compatible computer/TV||£6.99||No HD. Only a 24 hour pass. Requires internet|
|Local pub||None||The price of a drink||Could be noisy. Pubs showing the races will be in short supply|
|Streaming||Computer or Smart TV||Free||Infringes copyright, poor image quality, tends to buffer, potential malware from various “adverts”|
|Go to a race||Loads of money||From £150||Direct action, could be expensive, requires travel, only one race|
|RTL||Satillite equipment||Free (after around £79 outlay for equipment)||Will be in German. Equipment needs to be pointed at Astra satellite at 19° East, and can be received with a 60cm dish|