Bernie turns the beeb into a patsy……
Well, 24 hours have passed and more information is slowly filtering in about the new Sky/BBC deal from next year. In essence, all races will be shown live on the existing Sky Sports channels without ad breaks during the racing. The bbc will show 10 races live, and the others will have a highlights program put out at 5/6pm on a Sunday night for about 75 minutes in duration. To save costs the commentary team will be shared, but different anchors. Hopefully as a viewer this means we can continue with Martin Brundle and David Coulthard although they are apparently out of contract at the end of this year anyway but you’d like to think it would continue.
So, to the crux of the matter. Ultimately Bernie has finally got his way and moved F1 onto pay tv, something that was supposed to never happen. What is worse the BBC are almost completely responsible for this. With a contract for another 2 years cost cutting has “apparently” forced them into trimming their budget, and therefore the ring master Bernie has managed to tie up a deal which still includes the BBC, but pushes it onto pay tv and gives Bernie and the teams significant extra money. Lets make no mistake that this is all about money, but the bastion of free to air television has effectively thrown in the towel on what was high performing and prized asset with little or no public consultation. What value do they really bring now? Why not save even more money and just get out completely?
The issue, which you wonder whether had been explored was the BBC has been widely acknowledged to of done a sterling job in producing a fantastic program, driving up viewing figures significantly, and therefore allowing the teams to command more in sponsorship revenue. IF the BBC had pulled the plug properly, it may well of had to stay on free to air tv, then F1 would of been faced with ITV, C4 or C5 and none of them would of done anywhere near as good a job as the BBC, therefore F1 needed the BBC’s continued involvement. This deal suits FOM down to the ground, they could not be happier and any team concerns will be allayed with the promise of more money.
So, the winners and losers then….
FOM, most definitely.
Teams, hard to say but you would think so otherwise they wouldn’t accept it. I’m sure there is enough of a sweetener in it for them. Collin Kolles of HRT was almost effervescing when talking about the new deal but then with no real backers he would be!
Sponsors, too early to tell but probably makes little difference in the short term
BBC, made to look outdated and not able to count their pennies. Completely manoeuvred into this position by F1.
Viewers, F1 is one of the last major sports free to air. Any serious sports fan *probably* has sky sports anyway but the casual viewer may not.
Ultimately though, it just goes to show it really is Bernie’s circus and he does pretty much as he pleases. You have to respect how he has got his way again. He is either the ultimate chess player, planning this out when the BBC got the rights 3 years ago, or the just unbelievably lucky and grasped the opportunity to move to pay tv when the beeb came knocking claiming poverty.
From the BBC’s perspective, it feels like a massive own goal. Nice one Auntie.