Ecclestone promises better F1 TV show

Bernie Ecclestone, San Marino GP 2002

Bernie Ecclestone, San Marino GP 2002 

 © The Cahier Archive

Bernie Ecclestone says that things are going to change in the televising of Formula 1 races. In recent years F1 coverage has been divided into two sectors: free-to-air and pay-per-view. Pay-per-view footage has been produced by Ecclestone's own Formula One Television facility which travels from race to race and creates seven different feeds for the subscribers to switch between. This has not been a success as TV stations have struggled to attract enough viewers to make the concept pay. Now the pay-per-view companies which are left are not planning to pay Ecclestone the same kind of money for the rights to the service. At the same time the free-to-air coverage in recent years has been poor with the TV crews not getting the same access and onboard cameras. As a result TV companies are less willing to pay the prices which Ecclestone has demanded in the past. With the drop in viewers because of the Ferrari domination this year, the F1 teams are becoming worried because their income from television (which comes via Ecclestone) is dropping. For some time teams have been complaining that the pay-per-view experiment should be dropped and the free-to-air service improved to bring up the revenues again.

"Hopefully we're going to be able to be effectively the host broadcaster," Ecclestone said after the F1 Commission meeting in London. "So you'll get a lot more cameras. We've got about 80 cameras at a race, all the cars have two or three onboard cameras, which at the moment you don't see on free- over-air television. So we can make it a lot more exciting because there are a lot more things going on that you don't currently see. I think you'll see a big, big, big increase in viewing audience for free-over-air television."

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