Formula 1, should it stay on free to air tv discussed in parliament last week

Formula 1

14. Gavin Shuker (Luton South) (Lab/Co-op): What recent representations he has received on broadcasting rights for Formula 1 races. [70601]

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics (Hugh Robertson): I regularly receive representations on sports broadcasting—I doubt whether that will surprise anybody—including on Formula 1 races.

Gavin Shuker: The whole House will be aware that Formula 1 and motor sport more generally in this country is a multi-billion pound industry, with household names such as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta, McLaren-Mercedes and Red Bull effectively becoming great British brands. Following the shameful decision of the BBC to sell out to Sky, may I ask what the Minister will do to protect this industry so that it is not sold out in the same way that the many fans who will have poor-quality coverage for the next decade are being sold out?

Hugh Robertson: The decisions taken by the BBC about how to spend its own sports budget are, of course, matters for the BBC alone. The Government’s remit extends to the free-to-air television regime. Formula 1 has never been on that list. I was the Minister in charge of looking at the matter last time it came up, just after the election. There was no significant pressure at that point to put it on the list. At this time, therefore, it remains a matter for the BBC, which has to decide how to spend its sports budget, but we will, of course, review all these matters when the list is next reviewed in 2013.

© Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament. Licence No: P2011000006

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2 Comments

  1. 2013 will be to late as Sky will have the rights by then and Free to Air F1 will be no more, The government needs to be proactive for once and get this sorted now before Sky dominate all sports.

  2. The questions should have been… Have the BBC acted fairly in partnering with Sky TV to continue their coverage of Formula 1, albeit scaled back from the current format? This partnership was struck up before BBC’s current contract ends, thereby eliminating the opportunity for other bidders such as Channel 4 to bid. Have the BBC therefore acted in the best interest of licence fee payers, as HD coverage on Sky will cost £60 per race for the races not shown live on BBC?

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