Mar 132019

F1 2019. Some interesting details on the Sky and Channel 4 deal

Sky start the first year of their 5 year exclusive live deal for F1 on UK TV. Only the British Grand Prix will be shown live and free, on Channels 4. Channel 4 will show highlights of qualifying and races.

However, some details have now emerged about the deal, and what restrictions Sky have placed on Channel Fours F1 coverage.

For example, only 50% of the total running time of C4’s programme can now be taken up by the on-track coverage – down from between 60-70% last year. They are not allowed to do interviews in what is known as the ‘pen’ – where all the drivers are taken to do a round-robin of broadcasters after qualifying and race – or in the pit lane. Any ‘pen’ interviews they use will have to come from Sky. The amount of interviews C4 can do in the paddock is restricted. And they have been forbidden from doing a ‘grid walk’.

None of these restrictions apply to the live British Grand Prix.

In addition, the highlights programmes can now not start until a minimum of three hours after the race, although this could be a blessing in disguise as it pushes them into evening prime time, when audiences are potentially bigger.

The Sky deal is worth a reputed £1.2bn to F1 over its duration. That means income from Sky UK alone amounts to about 11% of F1’s turnover and Sky has effectively become the sport’s biggest single sponsor.

But Skys exclusive pay tv deal with F1 is not alone. In many counties F1 has been behind a pay wall, including in Spain, with Movistar having exclusive rights, with only the Spanish Grand Prix being shown free and live on terrestrial TV.


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