In a shock move the BBC and pay TV network Sky Sports have announced a shared agreement that will change the way Formula One is televised in the UK as soon as next year.
The new rights deal will run from 2012–2018 and will see Sky offer live coverage for all races plus qualifying and practice sessions. The BBC will broadcast half the season (10 races) live on free-to-air television, with a 75 minute edited highlights package for the remaining races.
It’s not yet clear what effect this will have on One’s coverage here in Australia, but it is expected that the status quo will remain. That is, we should still get to see the majority of races live across the country.
The BBC and Sky will share production facilities at each race, a move that will save money for both parties. The BBC will record live commentary at all races and it’s currently being assumed One will have access to that for their coverage.
BBC’s current F1 rights deal was due to run until the end of the 2013 season, however a need to slash costs has seen them broker this new package. It’s fair to say it’s not gone down too well in ol’ Blighty. For the Beeb’s side of the story have a read of this article from Ben Gallop, BBC’s Head of F1.