Bernie Ecclestone says he isn't concerned by the outcome of a European Court of Justice ruling into television rights in sport, which could have an impact in the ability to sell rights in the coming years.
The ruling came about after a pub landlady took action believing that she was right to use a foreign decoder to show Premier League football in her pub from a Greek TV channel – thus removing the need to pay for an expensive Sky
subscription in order to show the coverage to her customers.
The matter is still to go before the High Court in London, but if the green light is then given for foreign decoders to be permitted, it would give F1 fans the opportunity to watch the sport via foreign channels rather than pay for a Sky
subscription when the new TV deal comes into play next year.
Ecclestone however says he isn't worried about the impact of the ruling with F1 being 'ahead of the game' when it comes to sorting TV rights.
“We'll wait and see what happens,” he told the Daily Telegraph
. “It's not been signed off by the High Court yet. But we were ahead of the game a long time ago when we broke away from the European Broadcasting Union in the 1980s and started dealing with TV companies individually and we'll try to stay ahead in the future and find a way of maximising our revenues.
“As far as we're concerned the most important thing is to get the largest number of viewers possible to watch F1. We'll adapt."
Ecclestone also suggested that watching foreign coverage alongside commentary from Radio 5Live
wouldn't be an option for fans.
"That's if 5Live still have the rights,” he said. “We could stop that. Ultimately I think people want something they can see and listen to live with the commentary in sync. As for pubs, maybe what will happen is we'll give it to pubs for free in the future if that's what's needed.”