Doing the sums: the cost of viewing F1 and MotoGP in 2014

The start of a New Year for a Formula 1 brings with it excitement, intrigue and controversy, where one unpopular rule is concerned. But a new year also leaves Formula 1 fans in the United Kingdom counting their pennies. More to the point: how many pounds and pence they need to view every Formula 1 race live. The answer to that question appears to be an ever moving barrier. So while the information in this piece is correct as of writing, I cannot guarantee its accuracy in even a week from now. So, how much does Sky Sports F1 cost to view? The answer, is that you are likely going to have to part with at least £50.00 – maybe more. But how much exactly? That answer depends on what you want to watch.

Starting with Sky, the first option is to switch from your current provider to Sky, purchasing the Sports Pack on top of the required Entertainment Pack. The Sports Pack costs £22.00 a month (an increase of £1.00 compared with this time last year), meaning that when you include the compulsory Entertainment Pack, this option will put you back £43.50 a month. Given that 12 months is the minimum subscription (see the small print here), this is £522.00 for the year. Whilst an extremely hefty amount, surprisingly this is only £12.00 higher than the same packages twelve months ago.

One of the cheaper options last year, however has sadly been wiped out. It was possible to just have the HD Pack to watch Sky Sports F1, resulting in a cost of £381.00 a year. This is no longer available. To watch Sky Sports F1 in HD, you now have to have the Entertainment Extra+ Pack, at a cost of £22.00 for six months and then £32.00 per month. Whilst the offer may sound good, the website actually does not explicitly state that this is an offer, so the amount could go up to £32.00 from day one permanently from tomorrow for all I know. Anyway, aside from the Entertainment Extra+ Pack, you need the Sky Sports Pack and the HD Pack. The cost? Across the year, a whopping £651.00 a year. If the Entertainment Extra+ Pack price increased to £32.00 a month, the cost would be £711.00 across the year. And people wonder why Formula 1’s viewing figures are going down? Another one for the paddock journalists out there – lets not put all the blame on Sebastian Vettel, and look at the wider, bigger picture that stretches beyond four tyres on a track.

Moving away from TV, and we move towards viewing Formula 1 via Sky Go’s Monthly Ticket system. Unfortunately, Sky do not offer the Sports Pack on its own, instead like with TV you have to add the Entertainment Pack at a cost of £35.00 a month. The benefit of Sky Go’s Monthly Ticket is that it is simply that – a monthly ticket which you renew, if you wish, every month. With that in mind, the 2014 calendar is as follows:

– March 16th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
– March 30th – Malaysia (Sepang) – BBC and Sky
– April 6th – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Sky
– April 20th – China (Shanghai) – Sky
– May 11th – Spain (Barcelona) – BBC and Sky
– May 25th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky
– June 8th – Canada (Montreal) – BBC and Sky
– June 22nd – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky
– July 6th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC and Sky
– July 20th – Germany (Hockenheim) – Sky
– July 27th – Hungary (Budapest) – Sky
– August 24th – Belgium (Spa) – BBC and Sky
– September 7th – Italy (Monza) – BBC and Sky
– September 21st – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky
– October 5th – Japan (Suzuka) – BBC and Sky
– October 12th – Russia (Sochi) – BBC and Sky
– October 26th – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
– November 2nd – Brazil (Interlagos) – Sky
– November 16th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC and Sky

If you want to watch every race live:

– ticket 1 can be used from March 7th to April 7th (Australia and Bahrain)
– ticket 2 can be used from April 15th to May 15th (China)
– ticket 3 can be used from May 22nd to June 22nd (Monaco and Austria)
– ticket 4 can be used from July 1st to August 1st (Germany and Hungary)
– ticket 5 can be used from September 1st to October 1st (Singapore)
– ticket 6 can be used from October 16th to November 16th (USA and Brazil)

Six tickets at £35.00 is £210.00 at most – the same amount as last year, but when you consider the alarming increase of the Sky HD option, this actually works out to be one of the better options. The Now TV online service comes next in the Sky offering. To view the six Sky Sports channels for a 24 hour period, it costs £9.99, identical to last year although I am surprised that they have no reduced the price. I said at the time that it is too steep, and I haven’t changed my thoughts a year on. What this means is that you can watch the ten Sky exclusive races for £99.90. If you want to add Qualifying to that, however, this will increase to £199.80. The final option from Sky comes from their Sky Sports TV service for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. It was £4.99 a month. Bad news. It has since doubled, and is now £9.99 a month. Nevertheless, £9.99 multiplied by six tickets means that you arrive at £59.94. If you’re an F1 addict and don’t care about other sports, why pay silly money when you can get away with parting company with only £59.94 for the year?

Over on Virgin Media, their Sky Sports Collection pack is available for £27.25 (up £1.50 a month). Add the TV M+ package with V HD Box on top of that and you are looking at £46.75 a month, or £495.00 a year. There is another option with Virgin Media, and that is the Starter Collection, however there are not any singular options there. Instead it is mostly triple play, so therefore is difficult to compare the prices with any of the other options. Note that Sky Sports F1 is not available to Virgin Media customers in HD.

As of writing, Sky Sports F1 is also not available on BT Vision or Freeview, meaning that the above are the only viable options.

To summarise, if you are a Formula 1 fan:

£651.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment Extra+, Sports + HD Packs (up £270.00)
£522.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment + Sports Packs (up £12.00)
£495.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + M+ + Sky Sports Collection (up £24.00)
£299.70 – NOW TV – Practice, Qualifying and Race
£210.00 – Sky Go Monthly Ticket
£199.80 – NOW TV – Qualifying and Race
£99.90 – NOW TV – Race
£59.94 – Sky Sports TV App (up £29.97)

But what if you like two wheels too? You’ve already parted company with several hundred pounds to watch Formula 1 for the year – what now? For those who are fans of both F1 and MotoGP, 2014 will be the most expensive year yet, and the situation does not appear to be changing any time soon. Add the BT Sport options from here (non F1 fans will be interested in reading that link) on top of the Sky and Virgin Media options above. On Sky:

– BT Sport is free if you have BT Broadband
– BT Sport is £12.00 a month if you do not have BT Broadband
– BT Sport HD is an extra £3.00 a month

This means that, for both Formula 1 and MotoGP, there are eight possible combinations.

£831.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment Extra+, Sports + HD Packs + BT Sport in HD
=> this will get you Formula 1 in HD and MotoGP in HD [if you have no BT Broadband]

£795.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment Extra+, Sports + HD Packs + BT Sport
=> this will get you Formula 1 in HD and MotoGP in SD [if you have no BT Broadband]

£702.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment + Sports Packs + BT Sport in HD
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD [if you have no BT Broadband]

£687.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment Extra+, Sports + HD Packs + BT Sport in HD
=> this will get you Formula 1 in HD and MotoGP in HD [if you have BT Broadband]

£666.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment + Sports Packs + BT Sport
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD [if you have no BT Broadband]

£651.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment Extra+, Sports + HD Packs + BT Sport
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in SD [if you have BT Broadband]

£558.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment + Sports Packs + BT Sport in HD
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD [if you have BT Broadband]

£522.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment + Sports Packs + BT Sport in HD
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in SD [if you have BT Broadband]

Meanwhile, over on Virgin Media…

– BT Sport is free with the TV XL package
– BT Sport is otherwise £15.00 a month

Which means that it is:

£675.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + M+ + Sky Sports Collection + BT Sport
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD

£633.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + XL + Sky Sports Collection + BT Sport
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD

A depressing picture and a sad state of affairs, and it also helps show why fans are the real losers here. Other than your traditional television packages, you can do a mix and match for significantly less, for example buying the Sky Sports TV App, along with BT Broadband, thus giving yourself access to the BT Sport app in the process. A final option for MotoGP fans would be to go for their video pass, which works out at about £83.00 based on the current conversion rate. I have never used it, but given the amount of content that is on there, this may be an affordable option for those not wishing to have BT Sport. An F1 equivalent, as of writing, is unavailable.

All prices correct as of Friday 7th February 2014. Information contained in this blog post is subject to change.


13 thoughts on “Doing the sums: the cost of viewing F1 and MotoGP in 2014

  1. For MotoGP, you forgot the’s VideoPass. It is in HD (720p) and it cost 99.95€/around £85 (main feed only) for the entire season.

  2. For the average Joe like me, on average wages, this is just too much. On top of the hundreds I’m forking out to go to watch races track side. Just can’t do it & the missus would b*llock me also haha

  3. Getting silly now, rather use that money to go see Lemans. Silverstone WEC is £35 for ticket and camping, or i could watch a tiny low quality stream on Sky Go. No contest really.

    When it was £25pm for F1, that was justifiable, but £50+ just for F1 in HD is too much. This was predicted by many.

  4. I paid my 30quid for eurosport player this year going yo get my petrol head fix from watching le mans, super bikes , wtCC .

  5. What I like about BT is that they don’t force all customers to have a separate subscription depending on what packages they have. I like the fact that they are aware that people, who say have the Virgin XL TV package for example, are already paying a lot of money for that package and so offer it to them for free. Whereas, with Sky, you could have a £1000 TV package for all they care, and they would still charge you an extra £30 for Sky Sports.

    When the BBC/Sky F1 deal expires, if a terrestrial channel doesn’t pick up/cant afford the rights, I really hope that BT Sport do, because at least that way many more people will be able to view full races for no extra cost.

  6. If you use Now TV for the Sky races like me, it is worth looking on eBay for people selling on unwanted Day Pass codes. These are totally legit, and I recently bought a bundle of 5 codes for just £12.95. Another way to get a couple of races free in the UK is through the USTVNow website – if you are a US citizen abroad, you can get a free account to watch streams of the main 6 US Networks, and NBC are showing Canada, Monaco, Austin and Brazil live. Couple of caveats with this though: after the first five weeks of your free account you lose the very good HD stream and only have access to a poor SD stream (although you could just sign up for another free account with a different email address after five weeks to get around this); as far as I can see through doing some research, this site is completely legal for US Citizens to use, but is not intended for use by other nationalities. I only found out about the site because my brother is American and was using it to watch live Premier League on NBC (they show most Saturday 5.30 kick-offs live), and he says it is quite decent.

  7. I agree Paul – for example the Bathurst 12 hours is being streamed live (legally as well by the way) at the moment and is a great race. There’s plenty of other forms of racing to get the fix from.

    Don’t get me wrong, the reason I started enjoying motorsport was due to F1 as this was pretty much all you got on TV in the early 80’s, but gimmicks such as DRS / double points for the last race and the impact of CVC bleeding the sport dry is becoming a major turn off. Also Sky F1 last year became the ultimate in quantity over quality….

    I see a large amount of fans turning towards other forms of motorsport – I’m also off to Silverstone for the WEC in April – £40 weekend ticket for me and free for my 2 sons. Fantastic value, lets hope that there is a good turn out over the Easter weekend.

    Lets pray that when the current F1 TV deal expires, we get all races live on a terrestrial channel.

  8. FIA gt series is also free to watch on the interweb. Any info on how to bathurst would be most helpful.

    The other problem i have with sky is multiroom. As an f1 fan i use to get banish from living room to watch it. not a problem with bbc as its free to air but with sky they sting you for more money. I dont really bother with the bbc highlights at all on bbc because it is impossible not to find out what happen at the race that day as you must not go near the internet or tv until you watched the highlights.

    I do have question about bt multiroom that this blog might know the answer to. Recently i have brought a btyouview box from cashconverters mainly to recorded the tv and have access to iplayers etc. If i switched to bt broadband and had there tv package and had there box would the youview box just look at the internet connection and go yes you can have all this tv including sport etc. do you get multiroom for free?

  9. Paul – the Bathurst 12 Hour Web site is showing the whole 12 hours from the overnight race, with the commentary (which is excellent). I saw a tweet from Motors TV over the last week that said they would be showing highlights of the race soon.

  10. In regards to NowTV and SkyGo, does anyone know if they will work with HDMI out on an Android tablet? I’ve heard conflicting reviews on if it’s been knobbled to stop working.

  11. Good detailed article and clearly illustrates how fragmented trying to watch sport on TV is now becoming. The big problem with BT Sport’s coverage of MotoGP is that Broadband strength is still very limited in many parts of the UK. So unless you already have the Sky platform you’re stuffed. I live just 6 miles from Stratford on Avon (not remote) and have a very slow download speed as I struggle to even watch short clips on youtube. I’d switch to BT Broadband if I could then watch MotoGP, but I can’t, a situation which surely applies to many other fans.

  12. While I know that all the above options are very expensive that is NOT an excuse to download the pirate browser from and use it to download all the MotoGP and F1 races for free because it is illegal!

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