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Featured Ecclestone to BBC: Contract Remains Unchanged

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Member Premium Member

    Amid reports that the BBC is set to slash the funding available to its sports channels, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has reiterated that the contract to show free to air Formula One remains unaffected.

    In typical Bernie style, Ecclestone had the following to say to British news publication the Times when asked about the BBC's Formula One hosting position,

    "Everything is great with the BBC, they just want to pay less money. I am getting very stupid and old, so I had to ask them if they had a contract with us," added the 85-year-old. "They said they had, so I told them that we had better stick to it then."​

    The free-to-air broadcaster shares the television rights with F1's main British broadcaster Sky and have a contract until the end of 2018 to show half the races live and half as part of a comprehensive highlights package.

    It is understood that the F1 coverage may be dropped after the BBC failed to renegotiate the deal.


    No doubt many insiders within the Formula One paddock will be alarmed at the continual trend of moving away from free-to-air TV, and the loss of audience size this brings, coupled with Bernie's dislike of utilising internet services, which would serve to vastly increase Formula One viewership, Formula One finds itself in a dire situation for fans who want to watch the sport but cannot or aren't willing to spend upwards of £700 per year on Sky's subscription service.

    If the deal falls through, then this could potentially also affect viewers in Australia who share the exact same deal for Formula One coverage between free to air Channel 10, and subscription service Foxtel.

    It is unclear at this stage if any other broadcasters are interested (or eligible) to bid for the joint rights should the BBC fail to renew.

    Do you agree with Formula One's continued drive to move coverage behind a paywall? Leave your comments below!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
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  2. Duke55

    Premium Member

    Let Bernie kill it off, the lack of true competition in the series for the past couple decades has made most races a snooze-fest anyway. The sooner it finally crumbles in on itself, the sooner a breakaway series can take it's place and hopefully produce something that pleases most folks all round (sponsors, teams, fans, etc.). Surely a F1 series can be a hell of a lot better than what we have these days.
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  3. Torcano

    Premium Member

    Truly the golden age of F1 right here right now, gentlemen. /sarcasm end/

    To think this whole issue could be worked on with tiny little steps like bringing down the ridiculous prices of a ticket to go watch an F1 race, which would open up the live event to a much broader audience and not just the few fans with a spare 300-500eu lying under their couch, the ridiculous price point just puts off a lot of people which includes both the fans and the people willing to check out the sport. The last non F1 event I attended was when I was a broke uni student, the '09 spa 24h race where all them Porsches got DQd and the ticket for that was if I remember right, just around 20 bucks which I and many other people could easily afford judging from how the paddocks and the forest lining the track all the way from la source to rivage was brimming with people, campfires, food, fireworks and all, for a flipping GT race. When was the last time you saw an F1 event (other than Monza, even that is on the decline recently) where atleast the main grand stand is packed with people? But then again, the poor circuits are only overcharging because the cost of hosting an F1 race itself is so ridiculous that they would not make any money back at a sensible ticket price. And it is known that there are only less than a handful of circuits that make a profit off of hosting an F1 event, which means hosting an F1 race is pretty much a death sentence... a slow and not so glorious one. But noooooo, this would mean the FIA has to put their collective heads out their arses and make a non Satan approved decision to suck less money out of their hosts so it ain't ever gonna happen. Sometimes corporate logic amazes me, they are making less money because they charge more money and now to solve that problem they charge even more money... Absolute Genius. :rolleyes:

    Same goes for the whole TV thing, old media can be regulated while internet can't be, which means FIA should be willing enough to be okay with losing control over their potential income by broadcasting races online which is again a gamble they won't take as long as they have the option of milking the old TV cash cow. :roflmao:
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  4. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Cable TV is dying in the U.S. because of cable companies. Personally, I prefer (because they allow more freedom and are cheaper) an a la carte approach to TV that we are getting through the xbox and internet providers. There are three wires into my home, and all U.S. homes basically -- the cable, the power, and the phone (old tech).

    There was a massive battle over the "phone lines" first, and now due to better fiber optics (speeds of over 120 in my area, and more if you live in larger cities or have better funding), the cable companies are being hammered. They are, in effect, a legal monopoly here, so they are regulated as to price, but since Congress open up the airwaves, you now get these bidding wars between cable and satellite, but the internet services are far far cheaper. Now the internet giants like Netflics and Hulu and Amazon (Top Gear) are punching with an iron fist.

    So, the "model" over here is really better than it was say 5, 10, 15 years ago when the cable companies had you by the short hairs. People got used to cable and then they spiked the prices. Before, T.V. was truly free. And even today, you can get HDTV over the air for free, if you only want to watch one of the four or so networks. Back in the day, that's all we had, but people got spoiled. So it took a while for cable companies to "condition" the market to believe that they needed to read less and watch much more T.V. In other words, cable became a necessity to many.

    So, the net effect of this, is that big TV is going nowhere, but it's more efficient and more concentrated over the net. I don't need the proverbial Springsteen "57 Channels (and nothing on)" scenario when all I want is to watch F1, The Office, Downton Abbey (the wife people :whistling:), Top Gear, movies, and the occasional hockey game. For instance, I *must* have cable ($120/month for the F1 tiers) to watch F1 now, even though a "free" network (NBC) has the rights.

    So, this is very Nation specific I'm sure, but I'd say where I am, I would love for F1 to go to the internet (which would really be just a service I could reject or take very narrowly and cheaply). as opposed to pay $120/moth to watch, which I would never do, however, the same channel tier (NBCSN / CBSSN) has all the racing, so I keep it. But this is changing. F1 *wants* to be on a "free" network in the U.S. therefore. I don't want it to be. It still amazes me that in 1970 we had free T.V. and basically free phone. And now, we have a cell bill, a cable bill, and an internet provider bill for a total of about $200-$400 on average. I know, we didn't have the internet and had less variety, but I tend to read and there is only so much T.V. I can watch, and talk time is about the same. The internet is new (when compared to 1970) but that's by far the cheapest of the three.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
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  5. Richard Hessels

    Richard Hessels
    Premium Member

    Most bizarre thing of the F1 circus is that most tracks get some sort of government funding to host a F1 race. As it's supposed to give so much good publicity back. The enormous cost of of hosting a F1 race or displaying on TV is payed out of the taxpayers money. Straight in to the investor companies that hold the rights. Making them even more powerful. Many F1 races in new areas don't even have all seats occupied. As many people care more about cricket or soccer than a dull racegame for miljoniars.
  6. I don't have Senna to make F1 something that can't absolutely be missed so, if it does ever happen in the US, I'll simply stick to not watching F1 and maybe seeing a highlight clip somewhere FOM-approved online a long time afterwards.
  7. Ken Hughes

    Ken Hughes
    Technically, alcohol IS a solution. Premium Member

    NBC/NBCSN has to be the absolute worst network for F1 on the entire planet.

    You get four laps of racing, then miss three laps while they go to commercials. When they aren't in a commercial break, they cut away from the action on the track to show an interview with a driver who has just gone out of the race, for one reason or another. They cut away to the Steve Matchett "Mother's Polish" tech talk. They cut away to tell you what's going on in NASCAR, or what will be going on in NASCAR and they are forever cutting away to show us what happened in the last race, when you just watched it one or two weeks ago, and god help us if the last race was at COTA.

    While I do like Steve Matchett's technical expertise, (he used to be a Benetton race mechanic), his co-presenter is a "Formula One" driver who hasn't driven a Formula One car this century, or even in the last 26 years of the last century, and scored a total of zero points in his career. The Max Chilton of his day.

    I found a cunning trick recently. When NBCSN cuts away from the on-track action, I flip over to Univision - a Mexican channel. They stay on the track whenever there is action on the track. True, I don't understand much of the commentary, but then I don't need commentary - I can see what's happening. Commentators tend to annoy me anyway.
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  8. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    I don't know any Brit who doesn't complain about the commercials. But my dear son (said in David's voice), Mr. Hobbes raced at a time when real men raced and it was during the worst decades for death the sport has ever known. Partially because they raced unsafe cars, but it was a true World Championship, which ran at Indy (where most F1 deaths came from). Not the septic, show tune of a parade it is today. Hobbes raced at LeMans 20 times (back when it was also very different and very tough), won it twice, and had four podiums. A top five at Indy alone gives him more cajones than the entire lot of today's miniature pretty boys. And Matchett was not only at Benetton, but at Ferrari with Schumacher, as I'm sure you know. They are the best pair in F1, IMO. I'd rather be shot in the head than have to listen to David Croft (a blowhard Hollywood wannabe) and Martin Brundle drone on. Brundle, heh, 7 of 9 LeMans starts were DNF and the best F1 driver that nobody realizes actually raced in F1. It would take 134 of him to equal one David Hobbes.

    F1 does not draw in the U.S., in case you have not noticed. Nor should it, in my opinion. Granted, I wish more networks were in the mix, but I'll take our IndyCar, NACAR, F1 and Sports Car (WEC is just a rip off) racing as the best mix in the world...for $100, Alex.

    F1 at Mid-Ohio? Now we're talking....
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  9. stadlereric

    Premium Member

    I couldn't agree more. I could go all day on how much I hate NBC/NBCSN For F1 coverage. Compared to the BBC these guys sound like clowns. They are clowns. Every idiotic word that oozes from their mouth makes me cringe. I find myself telling at the TV on race day. They are also very boring to listen to and do not deserve to be F1 commentators.
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  10. Ken Hughes

    Ken Hughes
    Technically, alcohol IS a solution. Premium Member

    I didn't know that Matchett had followed Schumacher to Ferrari. I wasn't sure where he'd gone after Benetton - thanks for that. I'll agree to differ regarding Hobbs, if that's OK. :)

    Yes please.:thumbsup:
  11. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race.

    I have not missed many F1 races in the last 15 years.
    I don't have Sky and have zero interest in spending hundreds of pounds of my families money on such a service when we already pay for a TV license. I was happy enough when F1 was on ITV but will not transfer to a pay service.
    I wonder if viewer numbers will rise or fall.
  12. Ken Hughes

    Ken Hughes
    Technically, alcohol IS a solution. Premium Member

    I think that will depend on whether or not Ferrari, (or Red Bull, or Williams, or Mclaren, or Haas [joke]), can take the fight to Mercedes in 2016.

    I will certainly be watching the first few races, but if it ends up simply wondering who is going to be on the third step of the podium, I will probably read the highlights on-line rather than watch the entire race on TV.