FEBRUARY 19, 2001
Schumacher against Pay television move for F1
WORLD CHAMPION Michael Schumacher revealed that he is keeping a close eye on Bernie Ecclestone's proposed sale of another 25 per cent of SLEC - because he feels it could affect his future.
Schumacher, speaking on German television program Wetten Das, said that the outcome of the deal between EM.TV, Kirch and Ecclestone's SLEC, which holds the commercial rights to Formula One, could have a direct impact on his future.
"It does interest me what will happen with the sport, because it has become very important to me and is a very meaningful part of my life," Schumacher said.
The German also stressed fears that media giant Kirch will switch Formula One to pay-per-view television and vowed that such a move will damage the sport.
He added: "I think what Bernie has to deal with I wouldn't choose for myself. Personally, I'm quite satisfied with my responsibilities.
"The fact is though, that Formula One would only be available on PayTV - I don't believes that would be a good idea. Much of the audience who are excited and watch motorsport won't be able to follow that.
"I would very much oppose that suggestion. I want everybody to have the same chance to view their program of choice - in this case Formula One."
Kirch have struck a deal to purchase 24.5 per cent stake of EM.TV's 50 per cent share in SLEC and also get a 25 per cent voting interest in EM.TV.
According to reports, the EM.TV/Kirch agreement has also negotiated to buy an extra 25 per cent share in SLEC, leaving them with a 75 per cent holding in Formula One.