Fewer races with Sky for Kravitz as coverage undergoes revamp

Further details about Ted Kravitz’s role with Sky Sports F1 in 2019 have been revealed, whilst Sky are revamping their on-screen output this season.

Potential scheduling changes for the upcoming season
Sky’s scheduling for the Australian Grand Prix suggests that there will be several changes to their programming slate line-up for the upcoming season.

Their preview show on Thursday’s, Welcome to the Weekend has doubled in length to an hour, whilst Sky have added an additional 30-minute wrap-up show to their Friday schedule following second practice. In addition, a 20-minute ‘Paddock Walkabout’ show will air following practice three on Saturday morning.

The F1 Show remains on Saturday’s, immediately following their qualifying broadcast. On race day, Sky have extended Paddock Live to an hour, however it also starts half an hour earlier, meaning that Sky are heading off-air earlier on Sunday’s than in previous years.

Overall, Sky’s schedules show a net increase for live content compared to previous years, for Australia at least, which is good news, and gives the channel a more all rounded feel to it.

Kravitz’s Sky role reduced
Industry sources in recent weeks have indicated to this site that Ted Kravitz will be with Sky for fewer races this season. His future was the subject of social media speculation during February, with this site revealing that the broadcaster u-turned on their decision to drop him from their F1 coverage.

During Motor Sport Magazine’s F1 Preview evening, it was noted that Kravitz will be with Sky for 14 of the 21 races this season. Alongside this, Sky’s schedule next weekend does not include Ted’s Qualifying or Race Notebook, which has been a regular fixture of Sky’s output since 2012.

It is unclear if Sky have axed Ted’s Notebook, or moved it to an online-only offering. Given that Kravitz’s commitments with Sky are reducing, one could draw conclusions that Sky have indeed axed the Notebook from their schedules.

Any reduction on this front is disappointing, but 14 of the 21 races is still two-thirds of the season, and clearly the situation could have been much worse as discussed in recent weeks. I hope the Notebook turns up on Sky’s online platforms in some format for the 14 races, but time will tell.

Whether Kravitz is working with a second broadcaster this season, where the Notebook output could end up airing on, is also unknown, but a distinct possibility.

On-screen revamp for Sky F1
According to marketing website The Drum, Sky’s in-house agency, Sky Creative Agency has led changes on Sky’s on-screen output on several fronts, including “interactive touch screen broadcast podiums, a new F1 zone and interview platform.”

I understand that Sky have discontinued the Sky Pad, which has featured on its F1 coverage since 2012. In its place is a new on-site mobile augmented reality (AR) studio, bringing Formula 1 in line with Sky’s Premier League coverage.

For the Premier League, most of the content comes from the studio, whereas I understand specific segments will come from the AR studio for Sky’s F1 coverage as opposed to the whole output.

One change that appears to be off the cards however is The Chain. Included as part of Sky’s pre-season promotional trailer, the latest from Sky responding to questions on social media is that it is “not feasible to use the track on the titles.”

Update on March 12th – Sky have confirmed that Kravitz will present a new weekly midweek show called the F1 Midweek Debrief. Rob Smedley is the guest for week one.

However, the show is not a Sky production. Instead, Kravitz is working with Formula 1 themselves on the weekly programme, which is airing on F1’s over-the-top service for premium users.

Sky are taking the show in addition to their own in-house content.

Update on March 15th – Viewers watching Sky’s coverage of practice will have noticed that the Sky Pad is, thankfully, still alive and well! Apologies for the error in this piece stating that the tool was no more.

10 thoughts on “Fewer races with Sky for Kravitz as coverage undergoes revamp

  1. In other words, Ted’s Notebook has been dropped in favour of extending ‘Welcome to the Weekend’ and a 20-minute ‘Paddock Walkabout’ show after P3. Not good.

  2. Sky were going to try to pinch The Chain from the free-to-air coverage too? Talk about twisting the knife… Glad they lost that one!

  3. Grammar pedant alert! You don’t need an apostrophe in ‘Saturday’s’, ‘Thursday’s’, and so on, they should read ‘Saturdays’, ‘Thursdays’, etc. in the context you’ve used them.

    I think the problem in Sky using The Chain is that their coverage is simulcast in other countries, so they would have to clear the rights for it in every territory they go out in, which would probably be very expensive. Costs for music licencing vary wildly from country to country, for example some classic Doctor Who episodes which feature tracks by artists like the Beatles have the music intact on UK DVD, but have it removed on US DVD because of the higher costs involved. I should imagine the price for using a Fleetwood Mac track to go out on ESPN and ABC dozens of times would be mental!

  4. Interesting thought’s Rhys (just kidding with the ‘s)
    I reckon Buckingham-Nicks had the rights revert back to publishing hence the costs escalated.
    Shame really as Lindsey could do with the cash for his heart operation.
    Jp

  5. Losing 30 minutes of post-race punditry and analysis seems unnecessarily cheap and stingy, though not surprising.

    I hope the new / increased programming is not more dumb and forgettable rubbish, like making drivers kick footballs, throw darts and the rest of that kind of padded magazine nonsense!

    It’s very sad to hear Ted won’t be following each qualifying and race with his own unique take. It was a nice piece of programming that broke up the more generic coverage, with an endearing way of imparting lots of interesting information whilst appearing relatively unstructured.

    Are we to assume Ted’s reduced role is not of his own choosing? If so, I’d prefer to see him go to a broadcaster better able to appreciate his talents – preferably one who would put his Notebook type output up on the web for all fans, though presumably the usual YouTubers would do their regular good work, as they do helping out with press conferences etc.

    I could understand the situation if Ted has decided to reduce his own race weekend commitments. He’s already given so much great content to fans over the years, hence would be deserving of the reduction in responsibilities.

    Sadly the misguided shenanigans that nearly saw him off our screens altogether, via whatever misguided logic, cost cutting, and / or absurdly poor programming strategies – suggests some combination of the latter is responsible for this baffling situation.

    The Notebook format was also neat as it could easily be inserted more than once in a race weekend and beyond, in different places during both live and repeat broadcasts.

    I hope Chandhok (or another similarly informed and interesting contributor) is able to offer up similar content to that which Ted previously provided. Also it will be interesting to see what Ted does get to contribute, on the race weekends he is in attendance.

    I have no objection to Sky shaking things up to keep their coverage fresh. However change for changes sake does not seem to make much sense here.

    I’d always assumed Ted and his Notebook were amongst the most watched and popular part of Sky’s coverage, going by comments on web forums and the opinions of the few friends who are big F1 fans.

    I guess this was not necessarily the case, though I’d still be pretty confident Kravitz was amongst the most popular of all the on screen Sky talent – I don’t really recall ever hearing or reading a bad word about him, whilst I can’t say the same for any of the others!

    Whatever happens, I sincerely hope Sky are not dumbing-down their coverage and leaving out Ted’s fascinating brand of specialist, technical and substantive contributions. Especially if it means more inconsequential crappy Crofty or humdrum Herbert nonsense…

  6. Not happy with this.

    I want more Ted, not less. The Notebook is the best part of Sky’s off-track coverage, and Ted is a very popular guy (as seen from the reaction to his potential axing). If Sky thinks that we will be happy to watch a bunch of ex-drivers filling airtime with their banal and cliched “post-race analysis”, they are sadly mistaken.
    I just hope Ted’s Notebook will be made available online at least.

  7. Agree with RPhil – more Ted not less. I presume Sky listened to the fans when the rumour erupted – when I contacted them at the time they told me nothing confirmed so sounds to me like a turnaround

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