Ecclestone defends TV figures

Bernie Ecclestone says that F1's sliding TV figures are not all down to a drop of interest in the sport. Ecclestone said that other issues had to be taken into account, including the French election which had a major impact on figures in France while the British GP was hit by the Wimbledon Finals tennis. Ecclestone also says that "most sports were down a bit in 2002" and blamed this on changes in social activity, including the rise of the Internet and the proliferation of TV channels which means that people have much more choice than previously.

"There's only so much time that they can watch," Ecclestone was quoted as saying in The New Straits Times. "They are going to be more selective."

But Ecclestone did say that not all the news was bad. Viewing figures are going up in Brazil where Rubens Barrichello developed a much bigger following in 2002.

However teams report that whether or not the TV vieiwng figures were up or down they are receiving less income from TV revenues than has been the case in recent years.

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