BBC races away with five-year F1 rights deal
Ad-free Grand Prix motor racing from 2009
The Beeb has bagged the rights to broadcast Formula One (F1), having signed an exclusive five-year deal.
F1 will return to the Corporation’s screens in 2009 after more than a decade’s absence.
Auntie, which snatched the rights from commercial rival ITV, remained quiet on the financial terms of the deal which includes exclusive rights to TV, radio, full broadband and mobile.
Beeb execs said they were very excited about the new agreement - hardly surprising given the recent resurgence in popularity the sport has seen in the UK, buoyed by wonder kid Lewis Hamilton’s impressive arrival on the circuit last season.
F1 Administration Ltd CEO Bernie Ecclestone said he was “delighted” with the new deal.
“I wish to thank ITV for their commitment to Formula One and the high quality of their coverage," he said in a statement. "It is an exciting time in Formula One and the BBC has some innovative new ideas to consolidate and expand our UK fan base.”
ITV oversaw terrestrial television coverage of F1 in Blighty for 12 years, during a difficult decade for the sport.
It suffered in the popularity stakes after new safety rules were imposed in 1998, following the death of Ayrton Senna four years earlier.
But according to many F1 commentators and aficionados, Hamilton’s arrival heralds a new and exciting time for Grand Prix motor racing.
Still, it’s not exactly been a bed of roses for the driver’s constructor McLaren over the past year. Last September Surrey-based McLaren was fined $100m and kicked out of the constructors' championship for spying on rival team Ferrari. ®
"It suffered in the popularity stakes after new safety rules were imposed in 1998, following the death of Ayrton Senna four years earlier."
Not really, it suffered, in the UK, due to Damon going to Arrows and then Jordon. It suffered because of a lack of overtaking which is down to less emphasis on mechanical grip and more on aerodynamics so cars lose speed as they get closer together.
I can't really remember any new safety rules having a big impact in 1998.
And.. THERE... Goes...
...a great big slice of the licence fee to televising the world's dullest sport. All the racing seems to be over at the first corner, then it's just down to who breaks down first.
I hear they've got the 4th International Paint Drying Championships on Eurosport...
From what I heard/read ITV pulled out and the Beeb paid over the odds as there was no other UK broadcaster wanting to fork out for the package.
Anway lets hope we finally get some F1 coverage in HD with The Chain theme tune back and remastered in 5.1.
As for the commentators please leave Murray in the retirement home and stuff Steve Ryder and his oil slick veneer in there with him. The guy knows nothing about F1 only how to shmooze. Mark, Martin, Louise and Ted are great and I don't understand the campaign against James Allen. Sure he's not knowledgable as the rest but he tries hard and makes the sport more accessable to those not in the know and adds excitement with his commentary, almost like Murray used to.