A report by Broadcast, suggest that it is highly likely that the BBC is to back out of its Formula 1 coverage three years early. ITV is then expected to pick up the free-to-air rights from next season.
Broadcast understands ITV is ready to swoop for the motorsport in a deal that will allow the commercial broadcaster to follow Lewis Hamilton’s title defence from the first race in Australia on 20 March 2016. Like the BBC, ITV will broadcast a selection of races live, while others will be covered via highlights. Sky Sports’ coverage is unlikely to be impacted by the change.
As the BBC could save around £60m per season – or around £180m in total – as a result of its cancelling its Formula One deal. The current BBC contract runs until 2018.
“The BBC is slashing costs,” said one source with knowledge of the deal. “Now it has started talking about cutting channels it is difficult for it to justify spending so much on sports rights and production.” The source also suggested that the BBCs main focus in on coverage of the 2016 Olympics.
The BBC and ITV declined to comment.