2022 marks Sky’s eleventh season covering Formula 1 for fans in the UK, the sport having last aired fully free-to-air via the BBC in 2011.
From 2012 to 2018, the pay-TV broadcaster aired half of the races exclusively live, with the other half also airing live on free-to-air television.
Since 2019, Sky has covered F1 exclusively, with only the British Grand Prix airing live on free-to-air television on Channel 4. So, what options are available for UK F1 fans, and how does this compare to previous years?
Motorsport Broadcasting takes an in-depth look at the figures, to help fans decide which package is best for them…
Unlike last year, where the calendar was again subject to heavy change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks highly likely that F1 will stage a complete 23 race season with no COVID related interruptions.
F1 TV Pro
Formula 1 launched their over-the-top service in May 2018, and since then the service has grown in stature, both in terms of archive and in terms of live content.
Speculation mounted a few years ago that F1 TV Pro was set to land in the UK when F1 released a survey, suggesting that F1 TV Pro would be part of Sky’s TV platform Sky Q.
Despite the suggestions, nothing has since come to fruition, and for 2021, F1 TV Pro is again not an option for UK fans. UK fans can subscribe to F1 TV Access for £2.29 a month, or £19.99 across the year, which gives you access to F1’s rich archive.
The usual pay-TV comparisons below now include and exclude broadband, as all of Virgin Media’s pricing include broadband whether you want Virgin’s broadband package or not.
Sky’s latest attempt to entice new Sky Q subscribers to their platform is to bundle Netflix in as the default option.
The base Signature Pack costs £21.00 a month, in-line with previous years. However, when putting together a package, the Ultimate TV Add on for Netflix also appears, and it is not immediately clear how potential subscribers can remove this without phoning Sky up.
New subscribers can no longer subscribe to Sky Sports F1 only, although an offer is currently running for existing subscribers to upgrade for £18.00 a month. The cheapest broadband package, Superfast 35 costs £18.00 a month.
As always with Sky, their contracts last 18 months after which the price will increase, unless you can renegotiate the price.
|Option||HD – no broadband||HD – broadband||UHD – no broadband||UHD -broadband|
|Ultimate TV Add on||£5.00||£5.00||£5.00||£5.00|
|Ultra HD and HD||£10.00||£10.00|
|One-Off Installation Cost||£20.00||£20.00||£20.00||£20.00|
Before getting into the pricing, if you are considering subscribing to Virgin Media, do not enter your phone number when prompted on their website. Being cold called 7 times in 3 days is not fun…
Nevertheless, Virgin’s pricing is significantly better than what this site has reported in previous years. Virgin hiked up their TV pricing deliberately, to entice new customers to take out a combined TV and broadband package with them.
With the TV package on its own no longer available, the entry level price is slightly only higher than what Sky offer for TV and broadband.
One option is to combine Sky’s television package with Virgin’s cheapest broadband package (currently £25.00), resulting in a lower overall price. Like with Sky, Virgin operate on an initial 18-month contract before their prices increase.
|Maxit TV (including BT Sport)|
|M350 Fibre Broadband|
|One-Off Installation Cost||£0.00|
BT TV subscribers can watch Sky Sports via a Now pass.
Their Big Sport package encompasses both BT Sport and Sky Sports, whereas readers wanting to subscribe to BT Sport via Sky or Virgin would need to add BT Sport as a separate option to their package.
An additional benefit of BT is that you can flexibly change your packages as you see fit without any penalty.
|One-Off Installation Cost||£39.99||£39.99|
If the idea of paying a significant amount of money for the pay-TV players does not sit well with you, there is the option of Now, an over-the-top service operated by Sky.
Like last year, Now e-mailed some fans with an exclusive offer to view all 11 Sky Sports channels for a reduced £18.99 a month for 12 months.
However, Now is running an offer on their website, giving fans the Sports Membership pack for £20.00 per month for nine months, meaning fans could watch F1 2022 for £180.00 (or £240.00 for HD), by far the most attractive option.
The Sports Membership option also gives fans access to additional on-board streams and catch-up options to watch F1. The offer ends on March 27th.
Now’s day pass has increased by £2.00 to £11.98, making this an even less attractive option than previous years.
In summary, there are 10 different options, across four different players this year:
– £939.87 – BT TV (HD – Broadband)
– £908.00 – Sky (UHD – Broadband)
– £879.87 – BT TV (SD – Broadband)
– £828.00 – Virgin Media (HD – Broadband)
– £788.00 – Sky (HD – Broadband)
– £692.00 – Sky (UHD – No Broadband)
– £572.00 – Sky (HD – No Broadband)
– £275.54 – Now (Day Pass x 23)
– £240.00 – Now (9 months Sports Membership + HD boost) – offer (expires March 27th)
– £180.00 – Now (9 months Sports Membership) – offer (expires March 27th)
In comparison, F1 TV Pro for fans in America costs $79.99 per year, which translates to £60.69 across the whole year, cheaper than any option above.
Are any of the options above cheap enough to hook you in? If you have spotted anything worth adding, or noted any other deals out there, drop a line in the comments below.
Pricing and information correct as of March 19th, 2022. Pricing is subject to change.
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