I find that it’s incredibly difficult trying to quantify how much £5 million really is. So, what happens when a figure of over £5 billion comes along? You’re left thinking “woah”. And quite rightly so. Over three seasons, from the 2016-17 season through to the 2018-19 season, BT Sport and Sky Sports will be paying the Premier League £5,136,000,000.00 (or £5.136 billion), a frankly ridiculous amount of money.
Across each season, that works out to £1.712 billion. It’s difficult to comprehend just how big that number is. But, eventually you can break it down.
– £5.136 billion across three seasons
– £1.712 billion across one season
– £10.19 million per game
In comparison, the Formula 1 numbers pale into comparison. Numbers have never been officially released into the public domain, but the best guesstimates for BBC and Sky combined put the number around £55 million.
– £55.0 million approx across one season
– £2.75 million approx per race weekend
Formula 1 is pocket money compared to the Premier League, which may be seen as somewhat surprising considering the Premier League does not bring Sky Sports four times the audience of Formula 1. However, the reach for the Premier League is significantly greater than your typical Formula 1 season on Sky. Whether we like it or not, the Premier League is such a subscription driver for both BT and Sky that both parties are willing to break the bank to get what they want to ridiculous proportions. Sadly, that means that customers suffer as a result, with higher costs, and not necessarily better quality.
It will be another two years before either Sky and BT Sport even begin thinking about the Formula 1 rights. Given that they mention it in every press release, it is pretty clear to me that the BBC are going to fulfil their contract until the end of 2018. I do wonder how much have money Formula One Management have lost as a result of the seven year deal between BBC and Sky. We say that Bernie Ecclestone is good at making deals, but if you’re looking at it from a money perspective, then he lost a massive amount of money by giving in to BBC’s and Sky’s demands in 2011. Seven year contracts are very unusual, the Premier League rights run on three year cycles, for example. Since the middle of 2011, we’ve had BT Sport enter the scene.
I am convinced that, if the Formula 1 rights had been on the market on the past twelve months, then live coverage would have disappeared from free-to-air television, and the value of the rights would have soared. How high would the rights have gone, I don’t know, but you can guarantee that there would have been a tug of war between Sky and BT to get live Formula 1 rights. Assuming that there are no fundamental changes to Formula 1, as we know it before 2018, then I think the next set of Formula 1 rights will be north of £100 million per year.
The main thing though, beyond anything else, is that the money generated goes back into the sport. It cannot go to those outside the sport. If it does stay inside the sport, with a more equal prize structure, then the sport should flourish.