Doing the sums: the cost of viewing Sky Sports F1 this year

One of the key questions fans that want to watch every F1 race live in 2013 over the Winter will have been asking is ‘how much does Sky Sports F1 cost to view?’. The answer, is that you are likely going to have to part with at least £100.00 – maybe more. But how much exactly? That answer depends on what you want to watch.

Starting with Sky, the first option is to switch from your current provider to Sky, purchasing the Sports Pack on top of the required Entertainment Pack. The Sports Pack costs £21.00 a month, meaning that when you include the compulsory Entertainment Pack, this option will put you back £42.50 a month. Given that 12 months is the minimum subscription (see the small print here), this is £510.00 a year, which is probably not the most desirable option for those just wanting their dose of Formula 1.

Aside from the Sports Pack, as with in 2012, you can also access Sky Sports F1 with the HD Pack (assuming you have a HD ready TV). The HD Pack is £10.25 a month, which on top of the Entertainment Pack as with above costs £31.75 a month, or £381.00 a year – substantially cheaper than taking the channel with the Sports Pack.

Moving away from TV, and we move towards viewing Formula 1 via Sky Go’s Monthly Ticket system. Unfortunately, Sky do not offer the Sports Pack on its own, instead like with TV you have to add the Entertainment Pack at a cost of £35.00 a month. Whilst that is more than the ‘TV with HD Pack’ option above, the benefit of Sky Go’s Monthly Ticket is that it is simply that – a monthly ticket which you renew, if you wish, every month. With that in mind, the 2013 calendar is as follows:

– March 17th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
– March 24th – Malaysia (Sepang) – Sky
– April 14st – China (Shanghai) – BBC and Sky
– April 21st – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Sky
– May 12th – Spain (Barcelona) – BBC and Sky
– May 26th – Monaco (Monte Carlo) – Sky
– June 9th – Canada (Montreal) – BBC and Sky
– June 30th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC and Sky
– July 7th – Germany (Nurburgring) – Sky
– July 21st – ‘a European round’ – BBC and Sky
– July 28th – Hungary (Hungaroring) – Sky
– August 25th – Belgium (Spa) – BBC and Sky
– September 8th – Italy (Monza) – BBC and Sky
– September 22nd – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky
– October 6th – Korea (Yeongam) – Sky
– October 13th – Japan (Suzuka) – BBC and Sky
– October 27th – India (Buddh International Circuit) – BBC and Sky
– November 3rd – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – Sky
– November 17th – United States (Austin) – Sky
– November 24th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC and Sky

If you want to watch every race live:

– ticket 1 can be used from March 14th to April 14th (Australia and Malaysia)
– ticket 2 can be used from April 14th to May 14th (Bahrain)
– ticket 3 can be used from May 14th to June 14th (Monaco)
– ticket 4 can be used from July 1st to August 1st (Germany and Hungary)
– ticket 5 can be used from September 15th to October 15th (Singapore and Korea)
– ticket 6 can be used from October 30th to November 3oth (Abu Dhabi and USA)

Six tickets at £35.00 is £210.00 at most – less than half of the first pack mentioned. Of course, you could decide you don’t want to watch Bahrain understandably so that cost can reduce to £175.00 for example.

But can you get it even cheaper? From today, you can. Sky have announced that their internet TV service NOW TV will be available on a pay-as-you-go basis for £9.99 a day. What this means is that you can watch the ten Sky exclusive races for £99.90. If you want to add Qualifying to that, however, this will increase to £199.80. My own personal opinion is that £9.99 a day is too steep – I guess it depends though whether you are just interested in F1 or Sport as a whole, if it is the latter than the Sky Go Monthly Ticket may appeal more, whereas F1 only fans may be more enticed into buying several NOW TV pay-as-you-go days.

Over on Virgin Media, their Sky Sports Collection pack is available for £25.75. Add the TV M+ package on top of that and you are looking at £39.75 a month, or £477 a year. As of writing, Sky Sports F1 is not available on BT Vision or Freeview, meaning that the above are the only viable options.

To summarise:

– £510.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment + Sports Packs
– £477.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – M+ + Sky Sports Collection
– £381.00 a year – Sky TV – Entertainment + HD Packs
– £299.70 – NOW TV – Practice, Qualifying and Race
– £210.00 – Sky Go Monthly Ticket
– £199.80 – NOW TV – Qualifying and Race
– £99.90 – NOW TV – Race

All prices correct as of Thursday 31st January 2013. Information contained in this blog post is subject to change.

Update on February 7th – Sky are running an offer concerning Sky Sports F1. Customers already with Sky can upgrade to the HD pack for £5 for the next six months, before that price increases to £10.25 a month in-line with other customers. Customers new to Sky can watch the Sky Sports F1 via the HD pack for a total of £26.50 a month, increasing to £31.75 after the six months. The offer runs out on March 31st. In theory, you can join Sky on March 14th, meaning the six months run to September 14th. As the minimum contract is 12 months, the total is £349.50 a year if you wish to upgrade or become a new customer via the HD pack. The price therefore is the cheapest way to view via Sky TV, although the Sky Go Monthly Ticket is cheaper for those that prefer that option.

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20 thoughts on “Doing the sums: the cost of viewing Sky Sports F1 this year

  1. I’m an embittered Sky+HD subscriber (got it mostly for the F1! Although I do enjoy Discovery channel and Sci Fi shows). What makes it worthwhile is that I haven’t always been at home to watch live — but I want to watch in HD. The Sky+ feature allows me to timeshift and reply whenever I want, in HD. I can’t do that on any other platform (natch, given they’re retaining exclusivity on the HD broadcasts) AND you get all the full-fat interactive goodness you won’t get on NOW TV / Sky Go.

    If you have an HDTV, there’s really only one option. If you don’t have an HDTV, it’s still worth getting Sky+HD because you can always downsample the HDMI resolution to 576i or 720p if your TV only supports those lower resolutions, and you still get all the added features and functionality not available on VM or streaming.

    If your primary interest is F1, you’ll probably find that you end up watching a few other channels anyway and all of a sudden the pro rata cost of the ‘rest of the Sky subscription’ is fairly reasonable.

    I still hate paying Murdoch anything though, and they have a curious habit of periodically upping the monthly cost a couple of quid and there’s nothing at all you can do about it except bite the pillow and pay.

  2. It should be £9:99 per event, Sky wouldn’t charge £9:99 for one half of a football match would they? Bit of a rip off.

    You can get Now TV on YouView, which is better than watching online, but still pricey.

  3. For heavens sake, if you’re not fussy about HD, and you must have all the races live, just explore the internet.

      • Not if you use XBMCbuntu (XBMC OS) with sportsdevil plugin (all free) it bypasses the webpages and brings you the video stream directly. These streams are poor quality but all the on-screen graphics are clearly readable. This is what I used (via 3G internet connection) last year and now this year, you do get occasional buffering but it is very watchable!

  4. as i none sky i have to watch f1 in german. This did change the way i watched f1. I almost stopped watching qually on saturdays also on sundays i would tune 5mins before race started and switch as soon as cars went over finish line. was bit shocked that they press conference on poduim at spa as i not seen that before.

    Wonder what say australian organisers think of this as bits before the race are used as sort free tourist advert for the country they are in.

  5. I think I’ll stick with my free streeming sites as Sky is penalising the ordinary F1 fan who doesn’t have spare cash to pay Mr Murdoch – they should try teleshopping out-of-hours to help pay for it!

  6. Actually you do get the Race Control Centre with the extra channels using the Sky Go montly ticket, not sure whether you get that with Now TV, I doubt it. Also, the gap between Now TV and Sky Go is massive when you conaider that for £10 extra a month, you can watch all the channels including entertainment channels 24/7 on Sky Go, which you can’t do on Now TV.

  7. New ad on my android phone: £4.99/month for Sky Sports 1-4, Sky F1 & ESPN (Not available on my LG phone though)

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