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Sky extends F1 coverage in Germany and Italy

31 January 2013

News International's Sky television network has announced new deals to provide F1 coverage in Germany and Italy in 2013.

Sky Deutschland has secured the pay television rights to F1 in Germany for the next three seasons through to the end of 2015, instead of signing a one year-only extension deal as has been the case for the past two seasons.

"I am delighted that our partnership continues with Sky into the future," said F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Meanwhile Sky Italia is to introduce the same pay-television offering offering to Italian customers as the satellite and digital broadcaster currently offers to the UK market through the dedicated Sky Sports F1 HD channel, and which will now also be rolled out to Sky Deutschland subscribers.

In both cases, Sky will share coverage with a free-to-air national broadcaster as well. In Germany, a full season of free-to-air live coverage in 2013 will be split between RTL and Sport1.

In Italy, nine races will be picked up by the free-to-air partner much as the company's UK division splits exclusive coverage of races with the BBC, although in Italy the actual broadcaster has not yet been confirmed.

The new deals between F1 and Sky in Italy and Germany suggest that Ecclestone and others in F1 regard the experiment of augmenting or splitting coverage in the UK between the BBC and Sky has overall been a success.

That's despite reports that audience figures for the races aired exclusively live on pay-channels in the UK are down by around half, and that the delayed free-to-air highlights broadcasts are still regularly getting bigger ratings than the live shows on Sky.

Sky's UK F1 service has won over many in the industry with its interactive services, and the extended comprehensive blanket coverage made possible by the introduction of the dedicated Sky Sports F1 HD channel together with an increase in coverage of F1 on their rolling news channels.

This week, Sky Sports News carried the live launch of the new Lotus F1 car during the evening prime time slot, when Lotus became the first of the teams to unveil their 2013 challenger. That avoided a repeat of the situation in 2012 where the online-only launch crashed and left fans unable to see the car until videos were subsequently posted onto YouTube.


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