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Ecclestone warns free-to-air F1 could end

8 June 2012

Bernie Ecclestone has warned that free-to-air coverage of F1 in the UK could come to an end in future thanks to the exposure gained in the new partnership with Sky Sports.

Under the current deal in place, Sky Sports F1 is the only place where UK fans can see all the action during the season, with live coverage of half the races on the BBC - with the remainder of the races being shown on a delay.

Speaking to the Guardian, Ecclestone suggested that the UK could manage without free-to-air coverage when the current deal comes to an end, with the BBC viewing figures having been hit by the new deal.

However, Ecclestone's comments are unlikely to go down well with fans angered by the fact they are having to pay extra to see the ten races not shown live on free-to-air.

"We will never move all countries to pay per view only though it wouldn't make any difference here in the UK," he said. "Sky reaches over 10m. We don't get 10m on the BBC, normally about 6m or 7m.”

Ecclestone also suggested that the BBC had been complacent when it came to the rights to live coverage and suggested that fans weren't keen on delayed coverage in an era when results are hard to avoid.

"Sky have done a super job," he said. "The Beeb were sure we wouldn't be able to go anywhere else.

"The thing that TV stations want to buy most is live sport. People don't want to watch delayed stuff because nowadays it's hard not to know the result if you don't want to.”


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