Sky Sports will continue to broadcast Formula 1 in key European territories for the coming seasons, both sides today (September 30) confirmed.
In the UK and Ireland, Sky will broadcast Formula 1 until the end of the 2029 season, a five-year extension to their current deal, which was due to expire at the end of 2024.
Further in Europe, the broadcaster has extended rights deals with F1 in Italy and Germany until the end of 2027. Deals in both territories were due to expire at the end of this season.
The deal includes broadcasting rights to Formula 2, Formula 3 and the Porsche Supercup.
Live coverage of the home race and highlights from all other races will remain available on a free-to-air basis. This is the same as the current UK deal, but an increased level of exclusivity for Sky in Italy and Germany, with fewer races available live on a free-to-air basis.
As part of the new deal, F1 TV’s premium offering, which allowed fans to access the live action, will no longer be available to fans in Germany.
From 2023, F1 says viewers watching over Sky will have “an improved option of multiple screens and a second screen, tracking your favorite driver’s position around the track or selecting the driver’s on-board camera”.
The wording here indicates that UK fans will not have access to F1 TV, a source of contention for some UK fans. However, it’s possible that the experience with Sky’s enhanced options will be on par with that offered by F1 TV.
Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “We are incredibly proud of our long-term partnership with Sky and are delighted to announce that we will continue our partnership until 2029, which is a very important commitment from Sky.”
“Since the beginning of our partnership in 2012, we have both strived to provide our traditional fans with the excitement, excitement and drama of Formula 1 while engaging a new and more diverse audience. Formula 1 has seen tremendous growth in recent years and I can’t imagine a better partner to continue reaching out to our fans through a dedicated, expert and in-depth relationship.”
Sky not only provides fans with live coverage, but behind-the-scenes access and content that brings F1 to life. We are very excited about the future of the partnership and Formula 1’s journey.”
Stephen van Rooyen, executive vice president and general manager of Sky UK & Europe, added: “Every race. Every moment. Every twist and turn. They will all live exclusively on Sky for years to come!”
“Formula 1 continues to break records on Sky, with millions watching more than ever in our markets, driven by new younger and female fans, which is fantastic for the sport. More than 80 countries will continue to benefit from our world-class analysis and content for one of the world’s most exciting sports.”
While Sky Sports will continue to broadcast F1 in the UK until 2029, it is unclear if Channel 4 will remain committed from a free-to-air perspective beyond the end of the 2022 season.
The broadcaster, which has broadcast Formula 1 on free-to-air television since 2016, issued a “no comment” statement when asked by the site if they would continue to cover F1 next season.
Announcement in preparation for some time
Motorsport Broadcasting understands that the announcement has been in the making for some time. The expansion comes as no surprise to this writer who predicted it right announcement date in July 2021
F1 and Sky were originally due to announce an extension to the Italian Grand Prix weekend on Friday, however both parties agreed to delay the announcement following the death of Queen Elizabeth II the previous evening.
Sky has made moves in recent months to secure long-term deals in the UK: Scottish football (2029), cricket in England (2028) and golf PGA Tour (long-standing) some of the latest extensions, however the F1 extension is their most famous so far.
By the end of 2029, Sky will broadcast 18 F1 championships and close to 400 races live on its F1 channel, compared to 12 full seasons on ITV and 22 full seasons on the BBC (19 under the “Grand Prix” banner and 3 from 2009 to 2011) .
Whilst Sky F1’s viewership in the UK largely stabilized as coverage of half of the races also aired on the BBC and later Channel 4, their viewership has increased in recent years.
The broadcaster was the beneficiary of the titanic championship battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last year, while also benefiting from Netflix’s Drive to Survive season by increasing its younger viewership.
The positive trajectory continued for Sky in the UK until 2022, with the British Grand Prix set to go into July The highest audience in Sky history for the home round.
Sky says their audience is younger than in previous years and their offering is also attracting more women to F1.
F1 viewership statistics
Sky in the UK and Ireland
- Average audience in 2022: 1.7 million (up 60% from 2019)
- 4.3m new Sky Sports F1 viewers from 2019, of which 1.7m are women
- 4 of the 5 most watched races on Sky in 2022
- Average audience in 2022: 1.5 million (up 20% from 2021)
- The most watched Grand Prix in pay TV history in Italy was Saudi Arabia with 1.937 million viewers
- Average viewership has increased by 24% since 2021
- Half of new viewers under the age of 35
- 40% of new viewers in total are women
- The most watched Grand Prix was Saudi Arabia with 1.38 million viewers
Sky will hope the Drive to Survive halo continues into future seasons as their new F1 deals come into effect.
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