ramblings about cars, tech, web development and more. BOTB Winner in 2010

F1 heads to SKY

For me TV is not an important part of my life. I don’t watch American dramas, I don’t watch Reality TV, I don’t watch Football, Golf, Cricket or Tennis. As such I have ZERO need for Sky in my life.

I should also point out that I live in a sleepy Oxfordshire market town which isn’t LLU unbundled so I won’t get superfast broadband or cable appearing on my doorstep any decade soon.

Today’s announcement means I’ll have to either watch half the races on the BBC (with a no doubt lower salaried commentating team) and catch the rest as highlights with either a Sky sports commentator or an over dubbed, slightly less excited BBC commentator.

This also means my son (who loves F1 at the moment) won’t get to watch the race before some of his buddies at school (who no doubt have access to SKY) as he’ll be in bed before the highlights show and unable to watch it until the Monday afternoon after he’s already heard the result (I can’t imagine much more reason for a child to become disinterested in something). I’m also highly unlikely to take him to a pub to watch the race as I’m not sure it’s quite the right environment for a four year old.

Thinking about this then made me realise the effect this decision will have on the UK Motorsport industry (an industry I’m lucky enough to work within on a regular basis).

A lot of kids won’t see F1, a traditional entry for many into viewing motorsport. They won’t get addicted to the sport and seek out other race series and they won’t want to emulate their racing heroes or become involved.

Currently the UK motorsport and engineering industry is crying out for talent ( “http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-14306480”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-14306480 ) and this is just another factor that will leave us with less people interested in the sport/industry as a whole.

I won’t be buying SKY. I feel I can spend the money (£31.75 per month for the SD coverage or £42 for HD) on other things like perhaps going to some circuits to watch some other race series instead. In our household F1 will be losing a few fans and I’m not sure in what household the availability of F1 onto SKY will make people suddenly become interested. I’m sure this effect will be mirrored in a large percentage of households across the UK (“SKY has around 10 million subscribers in the UK”:http://corporate.sky.com/about_sky/key_facts_and_figures.htm , if anyone can tell me the percentage that accounts for of total UK viewers I’d love to know)

So F1 teams will lose sponsors, F1 will lose UK viewers and Motorsport in the UK will lose out as an industry due to a drop in numbers of kids who want to become drivers, mechanics, designers etc.


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  1. Chris

    I agree Alun, I will really miss the buildup & qually. I even use the BBC website to watch most of the practice sessions. Half of the fun is the other stuff running up of the race so I think next and successive years will be off to Shelsley Walsh or Prescott hill climbs at the weekend rather than watch half a season of F1. I’m not sure how they believe the viewing figures will increase, I certainly feel they will drop like a mass of titanium and carbon fibre in a ocean of engine coolant. I will hopefully enjoy watching the rest of the season as it’s likely to be the last season I (and my son) will get to see.

  2. Peter

    Everyone knows sports is good for kids. I grew up watching sports, which in those days was free (apart from the TV license of course) and it was probably the reason I started playing football at the age of 5 and just about every other form of sport you can think of. I spent at least 4 hours a day on sports and I think it has a lot to do with why I still stay reasonably in shape.

    I have two boys and they do like playing football (and other sports) but it is difficult to get them really passionate about sports because we don’t have SKY and they have no heroes in professional sport.

    I don’t watch 98% of the TV the BBC now produces and to be frank I don’t see the point of the TV license any more but I refuse to pay SKY when I have no choice but to pay the BBC.

    In short, F1 and most other broadcasted sport is out of the reach of my household. Unfortunately sport has become more about business than sport and in business the accountants make the decisions, so SKY will always outbid Free-to-air. Very sad development.

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