Flying directly in the face of many fans' reservations over the deal, one dissenting voice has spoken up in support of the new arrangement that will see Sky exclusively broadcast the entirety of the F1 campaign from next year onwards – contending that the subscription broadcaster could in fact 'do a lot for raising the awareness of the sport'.
As of next season and until at least 2018, Sky will show all of the F1 races, qualifying and practice sessions live, whilst the BBC will broadcast only half of the grands prix live, with either extended highlights or full re-runs of the remainder.
The general consensus when the news broke was that F1 had shot itself in the foot big-time, that casual viewers would be instantly turned away by having to henceforth pay to watch grands prix – and that if spectator numbers dwindle, then so, too, by extension, will revenue streams as sponsors depart the fray. Even Bernie Ecclestone had previously suggested that moving F1 to Sky would be 'suicidal' – and he was the key broker behind the deal.
The senior producer of 'F1 2011' developer Codemasters, Paul Jeal, however, has cautioned against judging too soon, pointing to Sky's success in raising the profile of football both in Britain and abroad.
“I think everyone's initial reaction is disappointment, especially when something changes,” he told Digital Spy
. “[The] BBC has done such a great job as well. I think, ultimately though, Sky did a lot of good for football, and I think they could do a lot for raising the awareness of the sport (F1).
“I think there might be a dip upfront, but you don't know what they've got planned. They're not having adverts. It depends on the strength of their team as well. F1 is moving into America next year with an American race, and I do think that Sky could really help push it.”