After twelve years of covering Formula One, ITV has lost the battle to continue broadcasting the sport. Instead, from 2009 onwards the BBC will incorporate the show into BBC Sports and will have rights to mobile, radio and Internet broadcasting as well as the television rights. The deal is for five years but it is currently unknown if Martin Brundle, James Allen, Louise Goodman and Ted Kravitz will make the move as well.
ITV plc today confirmed that it has decided to exit Formula One at the end of this season. This was a straightforward commercial decision for ITV and we are pleased that Formula One will continue to be broadcast free-to-air. ITV will continue to broadcast live coverage of every race this season as Lewis Hamilton attempts to win his first world championship. ITV Statement.
They just can’t say anything without mentioning Lewis Hamilton, can they?
In 1997, when the UK coverage moved to ITV, legendary commentator Murray Walker followed the sport over and worked with ITV alongside ex-driver Martin Brundle. It is likely that the BBC will want Brundle on their books, the commentator having earned a few awards since retiring from Formula One. Whether or not the BBC will offer Allen a job is also unknown, but I think their will be a few cries from the British fans if he is.
I am delighted to conclude this new deal with the BBC. It is an exciting time in Formula One and the BBC has some innovative new ideas to consolidate and expand our UK fan base. Bernie Ecclestone.
To their credit, ITV have started to broadcast qualifying and the race via the Internet this year, and so far it appears to have been a success. Hopefully the BBC will continue this and I think I speak for most of the UK fans when I say how pleased I will be when the adverts go.
We were delighted when Bernie Ecclestone approached us about the return of F1 to the BBC. F1 is a crown jewel of sports broadcasting, so to bring the rights back to their traditional home from 2009 is tremendously exciting. Fans will be able to enjoy uninterrupted, state of the art and innovative coverage from BBC Sport, across all of our TV, radio and new media platforms, for the first time since 1996. Dominic Coles.
The only possible downside to all this is going to be the quality of the show. ITV had recently struck a deal with Sony for sponsorship, but it apparently wasn’t the amount they were looking for. Will the BBC be willing to part with much of the license fee funds to produce a quality show? Who knows at the moment, but right now, I think it is good news.
Image courtesy of Red Bull Racing.