Sky Sports unveil 2015 pre-season trailer

Sky Sports have unveiled their 2015 Formula One season trailer that will air in the run-up to the Australian Grand Prix. The trailer, aptly named #TheChasingPack, will air across Sky’s portfolio of channels from today.

It also marks the first time that promotion is being done across Sky’s pan-European network, meaning that viewers in Italy and Germany will get exactly the same trailer as UK audiences.

The trailer can be viewed below:

News round-up: Australia gets 50/50 split; F1 website roll-out coming

Before I get into the round-up, a quick update on the status of this blog. As regular readers may be aware, I am currently in the final year of my undergraduate degree. This means that, especially in the last few months, I have been spending less time maintaining the blog, which is why the news round-up’s have turned up sporadically, so I can bundle what would be three or four separate articles into one succinct post.

On some days, time is limited to just University work (or relaxing!), meaning that writing new content for the blog is an afterthought. The reduction in content will continue for at least the next month, but should pick back up as we head into April. In the mean time, this is what has been dominating the agenda during the past week.

Australia gets a BBC/Sky style deal
It was rumoured late last year that Australia would be heading towards a shared coverage deal from 2016. Critically, the structure of the deal would be different to that of BBC and Sky, with Network Ten and Fox Sports sharing coverage every race, but Fox Sports would broadcast every practice and qualifying session exclusively live.

The shared deal between Fox and cash-strapped Network Ten has now been confirmed. Unfortunately for Australian readers, there were two big surprises. The first is that the deal between Fox Sports and Network Ten will be structured in exactly the same way as the BBC and Sky deal in the United Kingdom. Secondly, the deal comes into effect from this season. Yes, that is the season that is less than a month away!

Reading around, it looks like Fox Sports will be taking Sky Sports F1’s UK commentary. Some people have interpreted this as meaning that Australian viewers will also have access to content such as Ted’s Notebook and Sky’s pre and post-race coverage. I don’t believe that is the case. Australian television has taken the UK commentary for years, going back to the late 1990’s, perhaps even earlier, and never was it accompanied by the extras that UK viewers get.

The new F1 website gets closer
A teaser banner promoting the new Formula 1 website has been posted on the current Formula 1 website, with the tag-line “All the action, anytime, anywhere.” The images in the banner clearly show that the new website is mobile ready and configured for different types of devices. It looks like the new website will arrive before Australia, although no date has been confirmed. Presumably it will be the same date as the new 2015 Formula One app, but nothing has been made official.

You would have to squint to decipher anything else from the four screens, but a member button is clearly visible in the top right of each screenshot, which supports previous comments made by Marissa Pace, Formula One Management’s Digital Media Manager. In an article (£) this week, Jonathan Noble, AUTOSPORT’s Group F1 Editor, said that Formula 1 needs YouTube, a thought I completely agree with, as it would help immensely in introducing F1 to the next generation. Pace mentioned that YouTube will happen with regards to F1, but when? Well, that’s the million dollar question. Beyond the membership area, there is nothing else to say about the screenshots, but good luck to anyone who wishes to try…

Changes elsewhere
Speaking of AUTOSPORT, there is a fair bit of movement happening over there, almost like the F1 media has its own transfer window! Pablo Elizalde left AUTOSPORT to join Motorsport.com as of February 1st. Elizalde was not the only journalist heading out of AUTOSPORT’s doors, earlier this week, it was announced that Jonathan Noble will be joining Motorsport.com from May. Both of them are huge gains to Motorsport.com’s portfolio, as it becomes increasingly clear that they are looking to become a major player in the digital world. With Charles Bradley leading the ship, it will be fascinating to see where things head from here.

With exits, there are arrivals. Lawrence Barretto jumps ship from BBC’s F1 online team to AUTOSPORT as their new F1 reporter. That in itself is a big move, not only do AUTOSPORT gain a talented writer, but BBC’s F1 online output is once again sliced. At this point, Andrew Benson must be the only permanent F1 writer that BBC have.

More pre-Australia scheduling news
The special Formula 1 edition of A Question of Sport will air next Friday (27th February) at 19:30 on BBC One, it has been confirmed. I’m a bit surprised that this wasn’t held back until the Friday before Melbourne if at all possible to help build-up to the new season. The edition features McLaren test driver Kevin Magnussen and Red Bull boss Christian Horner alongside BBC F1 team members Suzi Perry and David Coulthard.

Elsewhere, the Australian Grand Prix Qualifying programme will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 as usual, but also Sky Sports 1 and Sky1, which is an unusual occurrence! The benefit of it being on Sky1 is that Sky1 has a +1 service, for anyone who wishes to have an extra hour in bed. The race will still be exclusively live on Sky’s F1 channel.

News round-up: A Question of F1; Sky looking for new sponsor

Alongside the big Premier League news from earlier this week, there are a few bits of other news worth reporting on this blog, including Sky Sports looking for a new sponsor for 2015.

Sky Sports F1 looking for new sponsor
Thanks to Jon Wilde over on Twitter for the tip here, alerting me to the news that Sky Sports F1 are looking for a new sponsor for 2015. Santander and BlackCircles.com were their sponsors for 2012, with Rolex and Shell taking over for 2013 and 2014. No idea at this stage who will be sponsoring their programming this season.

There’s a few statistics over on the Sky Media PDF for anyone interested, including a few viewing figure predictions for 2015. The headline one is that they predict a Individual 4+ TVR of 0.98 for their race day programme, equivalent to around 572,000 viewers, which looks incredibly low to me, although it presumably includes Paddock Live and the Track Parade.

Pre-Australia schedule takes shape
Sky Sports F1’s schedule, up to and including Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix, has been revealed. It is not much different to last year, so isn’t a worth a piece on its own, until the finalised version is released. Either way, The F1 Show is definitely back from Friday 6th March, Classic F1 races are back and everything else is as you would expect.

If you were hoping for a completely new batch of Classic F1 races, you’ll be disappointed to learn that three of the first six races being broadcast are from 2014 (Bahrain, Hungary and Britain). Out of the other three, two have been broadcast before (1990 US and 1996 Australia), which leaves only the 1995 Pacific Grand Prix as a new classic race to the channel.

Over on the BBC, a special Formula 1 themed episode of A Question of Sport was filmed today, presumably for transmission in the lead-up to the Australian Grand Prix. The guests were David Coulthard, Suzi Perry, Kevin Magnussen and Christian Horner.

British Eurosport announce Superbike commentary team
Tom Gaymor will be stepping up to lead World Superbikes commentator on British Eurosport for 2015. Gaymor will be commentating alongside Steve Parrish for the rounds that clash with the British Superbike Championship. Jack Burnicle and James Whitham will commentate on the World Superbikes when it does not clash with the British Superbikes. The channel will also be broadcasting the FIM Endurance World Championship live in 2015.

Over on BT Sport, no official confirmation on their MotoGP line-up, but it doesn’t appear that there will be any changes. I did ask Abi Griffiths about their coverage this season, and the response was that “all will be revealed soon.” So, we shall see.

Putting £5 billion into context – and what it means for F1

I find that it’s incredibly difficult trying to quantify how much £5 million really is. So, what happens when a figure of over £5 billion comes along? You’re left thinking “woah”. And quite rightly so. Over three seasons, from the 2016-17 season through to the 2018-19 season, BT Sport and Sky Sports will be paying the Premier League £5,136,000,000.00 (or £5.136 billion), a frankly ridiculous amount of money.

Across each season, that works out to £1.712 billion. It’s difficult to comprehend just how big that number is. But, eventually you can break it down.

– £5.136 billion across three seasons
– £1.712 billion across one season
– £10.19 million per game

In comparison, the Formula 1 numbers pale into comparison. Numbers have never been officially released into the public domain, but the best guesstimates for BBC and Sky combined put the number around £55 million.

£55.0 million approx across one season
– £2.75 million approx per race weekend

Formula 1 is pocket money compared to the Premier League, which may be seen as somewhat surprising considering the Premier League does not bring Sky Sports four times the audience of Formula 1. However, the reach for the Premier League is significantly greater than your typical Formula 1 season on Sky. Whether we like it or not, the Premier League is such a subscription driver for both BT and Sky that both parties are willing to break the bank to get what they want to ridiculous proportions. Sadly, that means that customers suffer as a result, with higher costs, and not necessarily better quality.

Comparing the Premier League live TV rights (2016-17 to 2018-19) to the current Formula 1 rights (2012-18).

Comparing the Premier League live TV rights (2016-17 to 2018-19) to the current Formula 1 rights (2012-18).

It will be another two years before either Sky and BT Sport even begin thinking about the Formula 1 rights. Given that they mention it in every press release, it is pretty clear to me that the BBC are going to fulfil their contract until the end of 2018. I do wonder how much have money Formula One Management have lost as a result of the seven year deal between BBC and Sky. We say that Bernie Ecclestone is good at making deals, but if you’re looking at it from a money perspective, then he lost a massive amount of money by giving in to BBC’s and Sky’s demands in 2011. Seven year contracts are very unusual, the Premier League rights run on three year cycles, for example. Since the middle of 2011, we’ve had BT Sport enter the scene.

I am convinced that, if the Formula 1 rights had been on the market on the past twelve months, then live coverage would have disappeared from free-to-air television, and the value of the rights would have soared. How high would the rights have gone, I don’t know, but you can guarantee that there would have been a tug of war between Sky and BT to get live Formula 1 rights. Assuming that there are no fundamental changes to Formula 1, as we know it before 2018, then I think the next set of Formula 1 rights will be north of £100 million per year.

The main thing though, beyond anything else, is that the money generated goes back into the sport. It cannot go to those outside the sport. If it does stay inside the sport, with a more equal prize structure, then the sport should flourish.

Scheduling: The 2015 Barcelona test 2 on Sky Sports F1

The final test of the 2015 Formula One pre-season occurs with just two weeks to go until the season opener down under in Melbourne. The coverage level on Sky Sports F1 in the UK is the same as the first two tests, except Ted’s Notebook is replaced by #AskCrofty.

Below are all the details you need…

Thursday 26th February
21:00 to 21:30 – Day 1 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– #AskCrofty at 21:15

Friday 27th February
20:30 to 21:00 – Day 1 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:30 – Day 2 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– #AskCrofty at 21:15

Saturday 28th February
20:30 to 21:00 – Day 2 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:30 – Day 3 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– #AskCrofty at 21:15

Sunday 1st March
20:30 to 21:00 – Day 3 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:30 – Day 4 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– #AskCrofty at 21:15

If anything changes, I will update the schedule above.

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