The way Formula 1 is televised has been a topic of discussion for as long as I can remember, whether it was ITV getting the rights from BBC in 1997, the decision to go back to BBC in 2009 or, especially, the move to pay-to-view with Sky from 2012.
Today's dilemma is a far cry from the days when we expressed our horror at the way advertising breaks were once upon a time shoehorned into a race. I wonder now how many would happily watch the odd ad break if it meant coverage remained free?
The news this week that Sky will acquire exclusive rights to F1 in the UK from 2019 has unsurprisingly been met with disdain, not only from those that currently suffice with Channel 4's part live, part-delayed coverage, but those currently subscribed who fear this is carte blanche for the broadcaster - knowing it has no rivals - to hike up the prices further.
Now we have just three more seasons to enjoy F1 on terrestrial television before those who have avoided the Sky cough up or rely on other means for their F1 fix.
This all of course comes in the week that F1's power brokers have come under intense scrutiny, even more so following the qualifying U-turn-turned-un-U-turn, so public opinion of the likes of Bernie Ecclestone isn't riding at an all-time high.
As someone who works at the F1 events, the closest we tend to get to TV coverage is when we accidentally 'photobomb' them on the grid, though I have in the past had the chance to watch Sky's efforts and, granted, it has shown a lot of commitment with its channel and it has clearly spent plenty of dollar to reflect its premium cost.
That said, it will be very interesting to see what Channel 4 can manage with its first live race in Bahrain by comparison. After all, the BBC's coverage was always on point but seemed increasingly hampered by budget in the final throes, whereas Channel 4 - knowing this is only a three-year deal - looks like it wants to match Sky in quality without the need to busk for payment.
Of course, pay-to-view is absolutely nothing new - whether you're a fan of football, cricket and most forms of international motorsport -, while UK fans have admittedly benefited from a unique dual-rights deal between Sky/BBC/Channel 4 for a while. However, this is another blow to sports fans generally. How many subscriptions services are you signed up to to watch the sports you love?
Which brings me onto my question to you - with exclusive, pay-to-view F1 coverage coming, we'd like to know whether you are planning to keep your subscription and whether those without one will sign up come 2019.
We'd also, like to know how much you are currently paying for your Sky F1 coverage, whether you think it is good value and if not how much you think it is worth
Simply comment below to let us know what you think...
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