Doing the sums: the cost of viewing Sky Sports F1 in 2020

A new year, a new decade, but the same calculations are necessary to work out what the cheapest method is to view Formula 1 in the United Kingdom.

2020 is Sky’s ninth season covering the sport for fans in the UK. 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.

Last year was Sky’s first covering 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…

All calculations in this article assume that we are still going to see a (relatively) full Formula 1 season without coronavirus causing a significant impact, but also therefore come with a heavy caveat attached to them.

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.

This year, the platform offers fans a richer offering, with live coverage of every session, on-board angles from every car, a Pit Lane Channel, as well as exclusive pre- and post-race programming hosted by Will Buxton.

There have always been musings that F1 TV Pro may launch in the UK, but this has never come to fruition, which is unfortunate for those wanting to cut the cord, yet understandable as Sky want to protect their investment in the sport.

It is frustrating for UK fans that want a wider variety of on-board angles (F1 TV offers angles from all 20 cars, whereas Sky does not), or want an alternative pre- or post-race offering.

From Sky’s perspective it makes little sense to expose F1 TV’s additional wrap-around content to UK fans, as it means that they now have a direct competitor.

For 2020 at least, F1 TV Pro is not an option for UK fans. However, 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.

Sky
Earlier this week, Sky unveiled a new pricing structure, which applies immediately for new customers.

The previous Entertainment offering, which was Sky’s entry level tier for new subscribers, has gone. In its place is a new Signature offering, which brings together Sky’s basic television offering and Box Set Bundles into one pack.

Currently, new customers can grab the Signature Pack for £25.00 a month, or £21.00 when taking Sky Sports, which compares favourably to the previous Entertainment price of £22.00.

The second change is that you no longer need multiscreen to access Sky Sports in ultra-high definition (UHD). Instead, Sky have rolled that into a separate, cheaper pack, which is good news for those that have no interest in multiscreen.

Option F1 only – HD
Sky Q 1TB Box
F1 only – UHD
Sky Q 1TB Box
Sports – HD
Sky Q 1TB Box
Sports – UHD
Sky Q 1TB Box
Signature £25.00 £25.00 £21.00 £21.00
Sky Sports F1 only £10.00 £10.00
Sky Sports £20.00 £20.00
Ultra HD and HD £8.00 £8.00
Monthly Cost £35.00 £43.00 £41.00 £49.00
Yearly Cost £420.00 £516.00 £492.00 £588.00
One-Off Installation Cost £20.00 £20.00 £20.00 £20.00
Yearly Cost £440.00 £536.00 £512.00 £608.00

Year-on-year, the price for viewing Formula 1 in ultra-high definition has tumbled thanks to the pricing changes. In the grand scheme of things, the ballparks all look similar, Sky continuing to try to entice new customers into their offering.

Sky are increasingly looking at the big picture: their TV shop-window on their website is currently trailing an Ultimate TV package, with the YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, All 4 and BBC iPlayer logos all present.

In addition, fans of BT Sport content can now subscribe to them through Sky as opposed to having to take out a contract with BT separately.

The prices above apply for new customers, and account for any offers that Sky are currently running, as was the case in last year’s article.

Note that, outside of the offer periods, the Signature package costs £30.00 per month, as does the Sky Sports pack, which suddenly looks a little dearer…

If you have stumbled across this article after March 260th, and want to subscribe to Sky Sports F1 on its own…

Option F1 only – HD
Sky Q 1TB Box
F1 only – UHD
Sky Q 2TB Box
Sports – HD
Sky Q 1TB Box
Sports – UHD
Sky Q 2TB Box
Signature £25.00 £25.00 £21.00 £21.00
Sky Sports F1 only £18.00 £18.00
Sky Sports £20.00 £20.00
Ultra HD and HD £8.00 £8.00
Monthly Cost £43.00 £51.00 £42.00 £49.00
Yearly Cost £516.00 £612.00 £492.00 £588.00
One-Off Installation Cost £20.00 £20.00 £20.00 £20.00
Yearly Cost £536.00 £632.00 £512.00 £608.00

Assuming the above is the case, I have no idea why you would take Sky Sports F1 only over the complete Sky Sports offering, the latter of which works out cheaper.

Overall, as the pricing structures currently stand, if you want to watch every Formula 1 race live on Sky, you are looking at a Sky monthly bill of between £40.00 and £50.00.

Virgin Media
The bad news for readers who have no interest in sports that air on BT is that Virgin Media is no longer a viable option, for TV only at least.

The only way to get Sky Sports via Virgin Media is to take their Maxit TV pack at £53.00 a month, and then add Sky Sports for an additional £31.75 a month.

Virgin’s pricing in recent years has become increasingly uncompetitive, making it an unviable option for new subscribers to the market.

This does changes radically however if also want to take Virgin’s broadband package. If you want to take their broadband offering, then you can grab their basic Maxit TV pack with Sky Sports.

That, combined with their basic broadband and phone pack works out at a total of £64.75 per month, Virgin’s strategy here to drive people down the triple-play route.

Option SD
TiVo 500GB Box
HD
TiVo 500GB Box
Maxit TV (including BT Sport) £53.00 £53.00
Sky Sports £31.75 £31.75
Sky Sports HD £7.00
Monthly Cost £84.75 £91.75
Yearly Cost £1,017.00 £1,101.00
One-Off Installation Cost £35.00 £35.00
Yearly Cost £1,052.00 £1,136.00

BT TV
A new entry to the Sky Sports market is BT themselves, thanks to the deal agreed between themselves and Sky last month. BT TV subscribers can now watch Sky Sports via a Now TV pass.

BT TV is an IPTV service, meaning that readers wanting to subscribe to Sky Sports F1 will first need to sign up to BT’s broadband offering, making the below an apple and oranges comparison compared to Virgin Media and Sky.

BT’s pricing does compare favourably with Virgin Media, although Virgin’s television offering is more comprehensive than BT’s. The benefit of BT is that you can flexibly change your packages as you see fit without any penalty.

Option SD HD
BT Broadband £27.99 £27.99
Big Sport £40.00 £60.00
Monthly Cost £67.99 £87.99
Yearly Cost £815.88 £1,055.88
One-Off Installation Cost £19.99 £19.99
Yearly Cost £835.87 £1,075.87

Now TV
If the idea of paying a significant amount of money for the pay-TV players does not sit well with you, there is still the option of Now TV, which is a viable option this season.

As in 2019, Sky are also airing the IndyCar Series live, which is good news for fans of the American-based series.

The F1 Season Ticket returns to Now TV, but is only available to purchase until the end of March. The pass allows fans to watch F1 and IndyCar for £198.00 across the year, an increase of £3.00 compared with the price of last year’s pass.

Now TV’s day pass has increased in price for the third year running to £9.98, however the weekly pass remains at £14.99. The monthly pass remains at £33.99, but an offer currently running allows subscribers to grab the pass for £20.00 for the first three months.

This year, fans need to purchase seven monthly passes to watch every race live:

  • pass 1 from March 13th to April 13th (Australia, Bahrain, and Vietnam)
  • pass 2 from April 25th to May 25th (Dutch, Spain, and Monaco)
  • pass 3 from June 5th to July 5th (Azerbaijan, Canada, France, and Austria)
  • pass 4 from July 10th to August 10th (Hungary)
  • pass 5 from August 20th to September 20th (Belgium, Italy, Singapore)
  • pass 6 from September 25th to October 25th (Russia, Japan, USA)
  • pass 7 from October 29th to November 29th (Mexico, Brazil, and Abu Dhabi)

The passes exclude the British Grand Prix, which airs live on Channel 4. For IndyCar fans, the seven passes cover all bar one race, the exception being Long Beach on April 15th.

Making use of the £20.00 offer means you can view Formula 1 using the seven monthly passes for £223.94 across the year (or £237.93 without the offer).

In comparison, twenty weekly passes cost £299.80 across the year (or £314.79 if F1 reschedules China). The individual day passes cost £199.60 across the year, a steep increase year-on-year.

The day and weekly passes are not ideal, leaving realistically the monthly pass your best bet, unless you plan on dipping heavily in and out of F1 throughout 2020. And, of course, you may waste money because of coronavirus…

Sky Sports Mobile TV
The cheapest of the bunch remains Sky Sports Mobile TV by some margin, at just £10.99 per month. The app, which is available on iPhone and Android, costs fans £76.93 across seven calendar months.

You hear many people reference Now TV elsewhere, yet Sky Sports Mobile TV gets very little mention despite being a far cheaper alternative.

In summary, there are 15 different options, across five different players this year:

– £1,136.00 a year – Virgin Media (HD)*
– £1,075.87 a year – BT TV (HD)**
– £1,052.00 a year – Virgin Media (SD)*
– £835.87 a year – BT TV (SD)**
– £632.00 a year – Sky (F1 – UHD) – post-offer period
– £608.00 a year – Sky (All – UHD)
– £536.00 a year – Sky (F1 – UHD) – offer (expires March 30th)
– £536.00 a year – Sky (F1 – HD) – post-offer period
– £512.00 a year – Sky (All – HD)
– £440.00 a year – Sky (F1 – HD) – offer (expires March 30th)
– £299.80 – Now TV (Weekly Pass x 20)
– £237.93 – Now TV (Monthly Pass x 7)
– £223.94 – Now TV (Monthly Pass x 7) – offer (expires March 16th)
– £199.60 – Now TV (Day Pass x 20)
– £197.00 – Now TV (F1 Season Ticket) – offer (expires March 30th)
– £76.93 – Sky Sports Mobile TV

* includes BT Sport as mandatory
** includes BT Broadband as mandatory

In comparison, F1 TV Pro for fans in America costs $79.99 per year, which translates to £61.30 across the whole year, undercutting every single price listed above.

Comparing Sky’s platform with F1 TV Pro is a false economy, the former is always going to cost more given that it offers consumers more breadth for their money.

Sky reaches viewers across different age groups, demographics, and genders, whereas F1 aims to please the passionate fan with their over-the-top service.

However, if you love your motor racing, but are not really interested in other sports, maybe dabble in a bit of Twitch or gaming as an alternative hobby, then are Sky or Virgin Media really serving your needs?

For me personally, I like my motor sport, but also like other sports, such as football and wrestling, as well as the usual mainstream television entertainment programmes, which does make some of the choices listed viable.

Are any of the options above cheap enough for you, and has Sky’s 2020 pre-season offer hooked 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 8th, 2020. Pricing is subject to change.


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Scheduling: The 2020 Australian Grand Prix

Update – both F1 and IndyCar have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

An air of uncertainty surrounds motor sport as the Formula 1 paddock beckons on Melbourne, Australia for the start of the 2020 Grand Prix season.

As I write this article, the Australian Grand Prix is still set to take place on Sunday 15th March. However, the coronavirus outbreak means that nothing is certain, and that the details in this article are accurate as of right now, but could change rapidly in the days ahead.

On the broadcasting side, very little has changed in terms of personnel over the winter break, a stark contrast to twelve months ago.

Simon Lazenby continues to lead Sky’s coverage of Formula 1 in Melbourne, alongside the likes of Paul di Resta, Martin Brundle, Jenson Button, Karun Chandhok and David Croft.

Ted Kravitz remains with Sky for 2020, in what Motorsport Broadcasting understands will be a similar arrangement to 2019, with Kravitz part of Sky’s output for most of the 22 races this year.

Meanwhile, Steve Jones continues to steer Channel 4’s ship, with David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Ben Edwards again alongside the Welshman. Over on BBC Radio 5 Live, Jack Nicholls, Jolyon Palmer and Jennie Gow preside over events from Melbourne.

As reported earlier, close sources have indicated to this site that Sky will be presenting their output from Melbourne on-site, however the situation for Channel 4 and BBC is unclear.

On the scheduling front, Sky’s build-up for the 22 races extends to 130 minutes this season, which must be some kind of record. The change means that their live race day shows clock in at five and a half hours when also accounting for the Notebook.

There are other smaller changes to Sky’s schedule, namely Welcome to the Weekend moving from Thursday’s to Friday’s immediately before the first practice session.

Channel 4’s highlights programming also changes for 2020, moving back towards its previous ‘Extended Highlights’ format, as revealed exclusively by this site in January.

The free-to-air broadcaster can now air 60 minutes of the race itself, instead of 45 minutes as was the case last year.

Elsewhere, the IndyCar Series is back for its second season on Sky Sports F1, whilst the World Rally Championship heads to Mexico for round three of 2020.

Channel 4 F1
14/03 – 12:00 to 13:30 – Qualifying Highlights
15/03 – 14:10 to 16:40 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
13/03 – 00:30 to 02:45 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 00:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 01:00 – Practice 1
13/03 – 04:45 to 06:45 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
14/03 – 02:45 to 04:30 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 02:45 – Practice 3
=> 04:10 – Paddock Walkabout
14/03 – 05:00 to 07:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 05:00 – Pre–Show
=> 05:55 – Qualifying
15/03 – 03:00 to 08:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 03:00 – Sunday Social
=> 04:00 – Grand Prix Sunday (also Sky One)
=> 05:05 – Race (also Sky One)
=> 07:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 08:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
12/03 – 05:00 to 05:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
13/03 – 07:30 to 08:00 – The Story so Far (also Sky Sports Main Event)
14/03 – 07:30 to 08:00 – The F1 Show (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
18/03 – 20:00 to 20:30 – F1 Weekend Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
12/03 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
13/03 – 00:55 to 02:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/03 – 04:55 to 06:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/03 – 02:55 to 04:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/03 – 05:55 to 07:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
15/03 – 04:30 to 07:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

IndyCar Series – St. Petersburg (Sky Sports F1)
14/03 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying
15/03 – 18:30 to 22:00 – Race

World Rally Championship – Mexico (All Live)
Also airs live on WRC+ (£)
13/03 – 01:15 to 03:00 – Stages 1 and 2 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 02:08 – Stage 1
=> 02:31 – Stage 2
13/03 – 13:45 to 03:00 – Stages 3 to 12 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 15:08 – Stage 3
=> 16:16 – Stage 4
=> 17:14 – Stage 5
=> 18:12 – Stage 6
=> 21:35 – Stage 7
=> 22:43 – Stage 8
=> 23:41 – Stage 9
=> 01:21 – Stages 10 and 11
=> 02:14 – Stage 12
14/03 – 13:45 to 02:30 – Stages 13 to 21 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 14:58 – Stage 13
=> 16:01 – Stage 14
=> 17:08 – Stage 15
=> 20:56 – Stage 16
=> 21:59 – Stage 17
=> 23:08 – Stage 18
=> 00:38 – Stages 19 and 20
=> 01:26 – Stage 21
15/03 – 13:30 to 18:45 – Stages 22 to 24 (BT Sport Extra 2)
=> 14:38 – Stage 22
=> 15:56 – Stage 23
=> 17:18 – Stage 24

World Rally Championship – Mexico
13/03 (Thursday night) – 02:00 to 03:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 2)
14/03 (Saturday morning) – 06:00 to 06:30 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
14/03 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Stage 15 (BT Sport 3)
15/03 (Saturday night) – 04:30 to 05:00 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
15/03 – 17:00 to 18:30 – Stage 24 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
16/03 (Sunday night) – 03:00 to 03:30 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
17/03 – 22:30 to 23:30 – Highlights (ITV4)

Of course, the listings above are subject to change, so keep an eye on both this site and the official championship social channels for the latest up to date information.


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Coronavirus and motor sport broadcasting

For many, March normally signals the start of another exciting, exhilarating, and tense motor racing season, with many twists and turns set to greet drivers, teams, and broadcasters.

This year, things are different, thanks to the unknown quantity that motor sport has little to zero control over, as coronavirus is set to wreak havoc over the early phase of the 2020 motor racing season.

The list of events impacted is growing, with the main casualties to date F1’s Chinese Grand Prix, and MotoGP’s Qatar and Thailand rounds of the championship.

The impact coronavirus is having on motor sport goes far beyond broadcasting, however this being a broadcasting site, we are going to stick to the subject in hand.

On the broadcasting side, there is not only the financial impact, but also the human impact as events disappear off the calendar. A scenario such as coronavirus impacting the season is unprecedented in the modern era.

Many of the questions posed below are rhetorical, some of which broadcasters will no doubt be thinking about day and night currently.

Compensation for broadcasters?
To air motor sports, broadcasters pay the respective promoters a pre-agreed amount covering each season, which can vary from a few pounds (literally) to £200 million if you are Sky paying F1.

Now, given that parties agree contracts years in advance, the agreement is unlikely to specify a set number of races per year. However, in my view it is likely that the contract states that the commercial rights holder must deliver a minimum of X races per year to deliver the contract.

For example, the F1 contracts may state that the commercial rights holder must deliver at least 16 races per year to fulfil the agreement, otherwise be subject to potential refunds.

Over in MotoGP, the CEO of commercial rights holder Dorna Carmelo Ezpeleta has revealed that a season must have 13 races to constitute a World Championship.

Motor racing is unlike other sporting events, such as the Rugby World Cup, whereby the number of matches in that case is known years in advance. Anyone who follows motor sport knows that calendars can flip from 20 to 19 to 21 races year-on-year-on-year.

I mention the Rugby World Cup because last year’s event saw three matches cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis, which cost French broadcaster TF1 “more than €1 million,” although Sports Business reported at the time that organisers would “hold talks with affected broadcasters over any possible compensation.”

The point here is that F1 and MotoGP will want to show broadcasters that they have made every possible attempt to hold races, hence why organisers have postponed both the F1 China and MotoGP Thailand rounds until later dates and not cancelled them outright.

MotoGP organisers have already rescheduled Thailand for October, however reorganising the Chinese round is proving to be more difficult for F1 and Liberty Media…

Remote coverage?
As a broadcaster, do you treat races as business as usual, or do you take the more cautious approach and keep your personnel away from the race track?

German F1 free-to-air broadcaster RTL are taking the cautious route, opting to present their shows for Australia, Bahrain, and Vietnam from their base in Cologne, with none of their talent heading overseas.

Writing on their website, RTL’s Sports Director Manfred Loppe said “The spread of the coronavirus, the associated incalculable health risks for all colleagues and, furthermore, a broadcast security that can no longer be guaranteed due to the immediate measures when infected.”

“This only allows for one decision, namely to produce from the Cologne broadcasting centre.” As of writing, RTL are the only broadcaster to declare that they are not travelling to Melbourne.

Closer to home, Motorsport Broadcasting understands from close sources that Sky Sports plan to present their coverage of the Australian Grand Prix from on-site in Melbourne, but that UK government and internal advice is being “closely monitored.”

The BBC’s and Channel 4’s plans for Australia remain unclear as of writing, both keeping their cards close to their chest. BT Sport have opted to present commentary of this weekend’s Qatar Moto2 and Moto3 races off-tube, although arguably Dorna made the decision for them by cancelling the premiere class.

Talent working for those broadcasters will follow the instructions given – whether that is “stay at home” or “fly out,” irrespective of their own personal preferences.

Further afield, Sky have labelled Vietnam, the site of round three of the 2020 Formula One season, as a “high-risk” country. The categorisation means that staff who have returned from Vietnam cannot work on a Sky broadcast for a further 14 days.

For all within broadcasting, working remotely is becoming an ever-present thing, which helps when faced with situations such as this one.

Formula 1’s live coverage of testing last month was delivered remotely from Biggin Hill, with only on-air talent, camera operators and a disaster recovery function present on-site in Barcelona.

If needed as a last resort, F1 could rely on local camera operators for the three early season fly-away races which, whilst not ideal, would keep the show moving.

Working remotely also helps from a logistical perspective, with many within the F1 circus having to change their travel plans for Australia to avoid travelling through Singapore.

The fewer people F1 takes to Australia without impacting their broadcasts, the better.

Human impact
Behind every motor sport broadcast that fans watch worldwide is a team of fantastic producers, directors, camera operators, floor assistants, the list goes on.

Some of those will be employed directly by the broadcasters they are working for; others will be freelance. As an example, a freelancer may work on a football match one weekend, a Grand Prix the next, and then tennis the weekend after to keep the income flowing in.

The moment one Grand Prix disappears is the moment a freelancer loses income. The situation becomes critical if organisers cancel multiple events in quick situation, exactly the situation we currently find ourselves in thanks to coronavirus.

This might sound like an exaggeration, but for many people inside and outside of broadcasting, this is their livelihood at stake, which looks to be uncertain in the immediate short-term future unless coronavirus rapidly disappears.

Whilst no one likes to see sporting events get cancelled, there is not only the financial impact from an organisational perspective, but also the financial impact from a personal perspective to bear in mind.

The Formula 1 season starts in just 10 days’ time, but whether F1 ends up racing in 10 days’ time, is anyone’s guess in an uncertain climate…


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Live F1 testing coverage performs solidly on Sky Sports F1

Live coverage of the first Formula 1 test of 2020 performed solidly in the UK, consolidated figures released by BARB show.

For the first-time ever, F1 covered all six days of testing live, with Sky Sports acting as co-producers throughout the two tests.

Viewing figures in this article only include those that watch via the TV set, excluding those that watched via other devices such as Sky Go and Now TV.

Audience figures were generally stable during the first test. The first afternoon from Barcelona averaged 49,000 viewers from 13:00 to 17:00, with the post-session wrap-up show averaging 31,200 viewers. The morning session averaged fewer than 21,400 viewers via the TV set.

Action on the second day averaged 29,500 viewers, with 22,200 viewers watching the morning session and 36,800 viewers watching the afternoon segment. 29,200 viewers watched The Story so Far after the chequered flag had fallen.

The final day of test one recorded the highest numbers of the week, with an average of 38,200 viewers watching testing, split 37,500 and 39,100 respectively. The week hit a peak with The Story so Far on Friday, averaging 53,000 viewers.

Year-on-year comparison are difficult given that some of last year’s action also aired on Sky Sports Main Event.

However, we can see the impact of F1 testing through Sky Sports F1’s weekly reach, which surged from 348,000 viewers for the week commencing 10th February to 850,000 viewers for the week commencing 17th February, a jump of 144 percent.

Last year, the weekly reach jumped from 372,000 viewers to 679,000 viewers for the first test, a weaker jump of 82 percent, although this could be because Sky Sports Main Event simulcasted some of the coverage.

During February 2018, when testing did not air live, Sky F1 hit a weekly reach high of 472,000 viewers, and the jump back then was a result of the annual Race of Champions event. All other weeks in that month averaged under 300,000 viewers.

In comparison, a typical race week reaches just over two million viewers, showing that, although the testing figures are naturally lower, there is appetite for it.

The reason for the huge difference between the averages and the channel reach will be because of the ‘dip in, dip out’ nature of testing, meaning different viewers may have viewed different days, and so on.

Formula E increases on Eurosport; WRC starts positively on ITV4
Although figures for the BBC are unavailable, consolidated viewing figures for Eurosport’s coverage of Formula E show a significant jump for season six so far.

The Santiago E-Prix in January averaged 42,400 on Eurosport, whilst the Mexico City E-Prix four weeks later February 15th averaged 61,700 viewers in a 22:00 time slot.

What is unclear is whether these are new viewers to Formula E, or viewers who previously watched the electric series on Channel 5 but opted to migrate to Eurosport instead of pressing the BBC’s Red Button.

Elsewhere, highlights of the first two rounds of the World Rally Championship on ITV4 have averaged 213,900 viewers and 232,900 viewers for Monte Carlo and Finland respectively.

Both numbers are in-line with what the series was averaging when it last aired on ITV4 in 2015.


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Sky Sports F1 launches 2020 promotional trailer

Sky Sports F1 have unveiled their 2020 promotional trailer, ahead of the new season which begins on March 15th.

The trailer, which comes with Fatboy Slim’s ‘Right Here, Right Now’ as the backing track, depicts the build-up to a Grand Prix, followed in the latter half by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc trying to navigate his way past Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Commentary from David Croft, and snippets of team radio from drivers, including Leclerc and Hamilton, also feature throughout the promo.

Given that last year’s trailer had a budget of £750,000 attached to it as part of Sky’s pre-season promotional drive, this year’s offering was always going to stand in the shadow of 2019’s excellent promo. Nevertheless, the 2020 version is still one of Sky’s better F1 efforts to date in my opinion.

In addition to the trailer launch, Sky have announced that they are bringing back their special F1 offer during March.

The offer, available until March 26th, allows Sky subscribers to add the F1 channel to their package for £10.00 a month for twelve months, a reduction on the usual price of £18.00, working out at a potential saving of £96.00 across the year.

Keep an eye on this site in March for a detailed summary of the different pricing options available for UK fans viewing F1 in 2020.

New look schedule for 2020?
A new look schedule is set to greet viewers of Sky’s Formula 1 coverage when the 2020 season begins, provisional schedules for the Australian Grand Prix suggest.

Since the middle of 2018, a live preview show called Welcome to the Weekend was the channel’s main offering on a Thursday afternoon. Now, the show will air live on Friday’s immediately before the first F1 practice session, increasing the build-up to the first session from 15 to 30 minutes.

The remainder of Friday’s schedule remains identical to 2019, with The Story so Far following the second practice session.

Current schedules suggest that Saturday’s offering will also remain the same, with Paddock Walkabout in between third practice and qualifying. The F1 Show remains in its post-qualifying time slot on the F1 channel.

However, it is race day that sees the biggest changes, with Sky revamping their build-up. The Australian Grand Prix schedule shows that Sky plan to go live on-air 130 minutes before lights out, increasing their pre-race offering by half an hour.

Only twice before have Sky gone live two hours before the race: for Britain and Belgium back in their debut season in 2012.

Sunday Social takes viewers through the first hour of the show, aiming to cover the main talking points, as well as the social media buzz. Grand Prix Sunday takes over afterwards to guide fans in the 70 minutes before lights out.

Following the race, Chequered Flag directly replaces Sky’s Paddock Live offering, whilst the Notebook is again a fixture of Sky’s schedule on race day. Currently, there is no sign of the Notebook returning to Saturday’s schedule.

Across the weekend, there is a net increase of 45 minutes in terms of time on-air year-on-year, based on the current schedule. Provisional schedules also show that, as in 2019, the race will air live across Sky One, Sky Sports Main Event and the F1 channel itself.

Sky are expected to confirm further details shortly.

Meanwhile, as exclusively revealed in January, Channel 4’s offering this year will also have a different feel to it, with their race day edit increasing year-on-year thanks to a revised deal agreed between themselves and Sky.


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