BBC ends F1 coverage ahead of 2016 season

BY CHARL BOSCH - DECEMBER 21, 2015

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has announced it would not broadcast next year’s Formula One season due to cost cutting measures.

In a statement on Monday, the public broadcaster, which replaced independent entity ITV in 2009 before entering into a sharing agreement with pay-operator Sky in 2012, said it could no longer commit to televising the championship on free-to-air television, and that the decision was “a tough one”.

“A significant chunk of BBC Sport's savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula 1,” Director of Sport, Barbara Slater said.

“Any decision to have to stop broadcasting a particular sport or sporting event is hugely disappointing and taken reluctantly. These are very challenging times for the BBC and sport is not immune to those financial pressures”.

Speaking to Britain’s Independent newspaper, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, who previously expressed hope that the BBC would continue until it’s contract ran out at the end of 2018, stated that his expectations remain high after the announcement that independent broadcaster, Channel 4, would show each race live from 2016 to 2018.

“I am sorry that the BBC could not comply with their contract but I am happy that we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1 events without commercial intervals during the race,” Ecclestone said.

“I am confident that Channel 4 will achieve not only how the BBC carried out the broadcast in the past but also with a new approach as the World and Formula 1 have moved on”.

It remains unconfirmed how the move is likely to affect South Africa’s broadcasting of the championship as Multichoice owned DSTV had been showing the past seasons live on its SuperSport channels, using the BBC’s coverage.

 

IMAGE sourced from BBC F1 twitter page