Could Sky Sports just buy Formula 1?

For nearly a decade CVC Capital has owned the majority interest in Formula 1. Some have claimed that the current challenges F1 faces is due to an investment group owning the sport instead of true motor sport people. Regardless, it was revealed last week that the owner of the Miami Dolphins (RSE Ventures) and Qatar Sports Investments has a strong interest in buying CVC out.

One investment group selling to two may seem like, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. Now, however, there is a new possibility as the Sunday Times reports that satellite broadcaster, Sky, is keen to make a run at buying F1 for £4.5 billion.

Sky Sports F1 is the current British-based broadcaster of F1 and there are other potential investors with them—Liberty Global, a cable conglomerate, as well as Canadian Lawrence Stroll of Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors brands.

The interesting part of the story for me is not that the attendance at races is waning and F1 is facing serious brand equity challenges but that broadcasters are paying more and more for broadcast rights in order to keep them out of the hands of online networks such as Netflix.

This is on the back of today’s news that Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are now moving their show to the streaming network instead of remaining on the BBC.

Could Formula 1’s future be online with a group like Netflix instead and capable of being streamed live around the world? Would the network pay the kind of money Formula One Management asks for its broadcast rights? Imagine global rights instead of national rights and how much that would cost!

Perhaps Netflix could do regional broadcast rights deals in the world largest markets for F1 but it would also be interesting if a broadcast company owned F1 instead of an investment group. Given Sky Sports F1’s dedicated coverage, it seems they are more passionate about the racing than CVC Capital.

Hat Tip: The Times

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Paul KieferJr

So, outside of the fact that Sky does have a dedicated network and following, which makes it worth their time to broadcast F1, who among the contenders are actually willing to invest and plw-back some profit to grow the sport (like Major League Baseball, etc.)?

mini696

NC, is there a precedent for this? Do you know of a TV company purchasing a sport and successfully enhancing “the show”?
This does worry me since I just bought Foxtel just to get F1.

Tom Firth

With Foxtel being a part of the same conglomerate, I’d imagine if anything, that would make it more secure.

Tom Firth

By the way, apologies to Todd for answering his question in part, will let him answer the other bit. Sorry mate.

Meine Postma

Well, it might be cheaper to buy then to keep paying yearly increasing coverage fees :-)

Tom Firth

Ok, that is interesting … I think what the paper is saying is that sky plc are buying F1, which is now a far larger company than just the owners of BskyB, Sky plc is the british based owners of Sky Italia, over 90% of Sky Deutschland and Sky Ireland, in addition to a controlling 49% stake in Sky UK (BskyB). What was going to happen in 2011, was BskyB was going to be purchased outright by News Corp, instead of News corp being the controlling stakeholder, now that all fell through when the News of the world scandal arose,… Read more »

Tom Firth

The sky brand has been in Italy and Germany for a few years, but not until very recently has it all appeared owned under one consolidated parent brand. All have been owned by the Murdoch family predominantly for a few years, under various names.

Tom Firth

So that is the question Todd, do you want F1 to be owned by Stephen Ross or the Murdoch family predominantly?

runnah

F1 on Netflix? Yes please!

MichaelB

“This is on the back of today’s news that Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are now moving their show to the streaming network instead of remaining on the BBC.” Huh? There hasn’t been any talk at all about “their show” remaining on BBC ever since the decision came down not to renew Clarkson’s contract. Once that happened there was no possibility of the the full trio returning to the BBC for Top Gear. Top Gear will remain on BBC with Chris Evans driving it (for better or worse) – but no announcement has been made on where Clarkson,… Read more »

Tom Firth

I believe the increased payments by broadcasters and networks to keep hold of sporting rights is less about the challenge from SVOD (Netflix) although it will play a part in the changing landscape eventually, but right now, I think it is more about the move from FTA broadcasters to pay TV. In order for pay tv networks to gain the rights, the initial rights cost has to be higher, to offset the loss of viewers and therefore potential sponsors seeing the sport, hence why we appear to have the rush of television money entering some of the major motorsport properties,… Read more »

jcn115

If F1 comes to Netflix, I hope it is commercial free just like SkyF1. I can’t stand the ad fest that NBC has here in the US. I’ve been the SkyF1 feed over the internet and I can say that their coverage is second to none.

partofthepuzzle

I couldn’t agree more re: the commercial interruptions in NBCSports. Then to add insult to injury, they often return from a commercial to a driver interview before finally getting back to the race action, argghhh! It’s unwatchable, IMO. Not mention the mediocre level of the commentary, which they do from the studio, since NBC is apparently too cheap to send them to the races (Buxton doesn’t count ;-)) Several of my friends were only marginally interested in F1, but after they watched a few Sky and BBC F1 broadcasts, they became dedicated fans. They said they learned more from one… Read more »

Andrea_Rae

I agree, Sky coverage is the best. I stream them as well, have since they obtained the rights. I can’t stand the American outfits commentators.

partofthepuzzle

Sky Sports taking over the commercial rights would be the best thing that could possibly happen to F1.