Australian Formula 1 fans could soon be switching to pay television if they want to follow a full season of live coverage. According to media reports Foxtel and Channel 10 will be mirroring the UK television deal which sees pay TV network Sky Sports covering the full season, while the BBC picks up the scraps on free-to-air.
There is a small chance that such a deal could be in place for the forthcoming 2015 season, which starts with the Australian Grand Prix in mid-March. However, a more likely scenario would see the new regime commence in 2016.
It’s expected half of the F1 races each year would be shown live on Channel 10 with the remaining events shown in a delayed highlights package. A similar deal has just started this year with V8 Supercars moving to a split rights agreement with Foxtel and Channel 10.
Foxtel would cover the entire season in full and would presumably take on the Sky Sports feed, including high-definition broadcasts for all practice sessions, qualifying and races. Sky Sports also has more in-depth analysis than Channel 10 does.
In terms of pure sporting coverage it’s reasonable to expect Foxtel would do a far superior job than Channel 10 or previous rights holders Channel 9 ever have. At the time of writing it costs $50 per month to get Foxtel with the relevant sports channels, plus an extra $10 per month for high-definition.
Clearly a situation where fans feel forced into getting pay TV will cause a lot of angst. Will it cause any more angst than Channel 10’s current inferior coverage? That’s a question for each individual to answer.
It’s being reported that the Fox/10 deal is currently with Formula One Management awaiting sign-off.