Ecclestone chasing free Sky Sports F1 boxes

Ecclestone chasing free Sky Sports F1 boxes

0193LW7D7056Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he has spoken to BSkyB about giving away free boxes in order to improve viewing figures in the UK.

Sky secured the contract to broadcast Formula One in the UK from the 2012 season onwards, with the BBC only showing half of the races live. The move was met with some anger from British fans who were now forced to take out a subscription with Sky in order to see every race live, and the viewing figures reflected this, falling by 3.8m last year. In order to combat this, Ecclestone is interested in making F1 available to all once again.

“I said you can guarantee that when you put a Sky box in the house, although it is only for F1, people are going to say ‘why can’t I watch the rest’ and they will sign up,” Ecclestone is quoted as saying by the Express.

“Children will say ‘my friends at school watch this so why can’t we?’ Sky are very good with that kind of idea. It would use F1 to drive their subscriptions.”

Essentially, Sky would be offering Formula One to all in the hope that they would then take out a contract for one of their other services, such as Sky Sports or Sky Movies.

The idea would make F1 more accessible, but it would also require a large outlay from Sky to make the boxes available, and they would most probably try to negotiate a reduced rate for the F1 rights should the deal go ahead. However, it would unquestionably increase the viewing figures, and Sky’s extensive programming on their dedicated channel would also benefit. Having secured the rights though, Sky may be reluctant to negotiate such a deal until their contract expires.

Ecclestone’s comments also suggest that he may be open to the entire season returning to a free-to-air channel in the near future.

Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.

Luke Smith

Luke Smith

Luke Smith is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Richland F1. Having started the website in March 2012, he has gone on to become one of the youngest members of the Formula 1 paddock after joining American broadcaster NBC Sports at the beginning of the 2013 season. Luke now works as the network's lead F1 writer, supporting the TV coverage on nbcsports.com. Luke's work has also been featured on NBC News, Yahoo! Sports, Driven Magazine and the Bahrain Mirror, and he has also appeared on CNBC's TV series "One Second in F1 Racing".