Doing the sums: the cost of viewing F1 and MotoGP in 2015

For those of you who want to see every race of Lewis Hamilton’s 2015 Formula One championship title defence, unfortunately 2015 is another year where you will be paying more money than ever before. If you’re a MotoGP fan too, you may end up parting company with nearly £1,000. But, as always, there are cheaper options if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of quality too. A wide variety of options are available, depending on what exactly you want. I have done this post for the past few years, so the below is mostly copy and pasted from previous years with a few changes here and there to fit the narrative.

Starting with Sky, the first option is to switch from your current provider to Sky, purchasing the Sports Pack on top of the basic Original Bundle. The Original Bundle was previously called the Entertainment Pack, Sky choosing to re-brand the packages during 2014. The Sports Pack costs £24.50 a month (an increase of £2.50 compared with this time last year), meaning that when you include the compulsory Original Bundle, this option will put you back £46.00 a month. Given that 12 months is the minimum subscription (see the small print here), this is £552.00 for the year, a whopping £30.00 higher than the equivalent package twelve months ago.

To watch Sky Sports F1 in HD, you need the Family Bundle, at a cost of £33.00 per month. Aside from the Family Bundle, you need the Sports Pack and the HD Pack. As noted above, the Sports Pack is £24.50 a month, and to watch Sky Sports in HD, that is an extra £5.25 a month. Add them three numbers up brings you to £62.75 a month. That’s a staggering £753.00 across the year. If Sky want to make HD the norm (which frankly in 2015, it should be), then the HD Pack and the extra cost that comes with it should be abolished as well. The same applies for Virgin Media as well.

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, you need to have the Family Bundle as well at a cost of £35.00 a month. 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. I assume that this is still the case, although I cannot see any reference to the phrase ‘monthly ticket’ on Sky’s website (if it is no longer a monthly ticket, can someone leave a comment, and I’ll adjust as necessary). With that in mind, the 2015 calendar is as follows:

– March 15th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
– March 29th – Malaysia (Sepang) – BBC and Sky
– April 12th – China (Shanghai) – Sky
– April 19th – Bahrain (Sakhir) – BBC and Sky
– May 10th – Spain (Barcelona) – Sky
– May 24th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky
– June 7th – Canada (Montreal) – BBC and Sky
– June 21st – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky
– July 5th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC and Sky
– July 19th – Germany (TBA) – Sky
– July 26th – Hungary (Budapest) – BBC and Sky
– August 23rd – Belgium (Spa) – BBC and Sky
– September 6th – Italy (Monza) – Sky
– September 20th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky
– September 27th – Japan (Suzuka) – BBC and Sky
– October 11th – Russia (Sochi) – BBC and Sky
– October 25th – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
– November 1st – Mexico (Mexico City) – Sky
– November 15th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC and Sky
– November 29th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC and Sky

If you want to watch every race live:

– ticket 1 can be used from March 13th to April 13th (Australia and China)
– ticket 2 can be used from May 7th to June 7th (Spain and Monaco)
– ticket 3 can be used from June 19th to July 19th (Austria and Germany)
– ticket 4 can be used from September 1st to October 1st (Italy and Singapore)
– ticket 5 can be used from October 16th to November 16th (USA and Mexico)

Five tickets at £35.00, one less than in 2014, is £175.00 at most. The Now TV online service comes next in the Sky offering. To view the six Sky Sports channels for a 24 hour period, it costs £6.99. However, this is a ‘limited time offer’. How long is limited? How long is a piece of string? If it stays at £6.99, then you can watch the ten Sky exclusive races for £69.90. If you want to add Qualifying to that, however, this will increase to £139.80. The final option from Sky comes from their Sky Sports TV service for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. At £9.99 per month, it means that you can get five tickets for £49.95. If you’re an F1 addict and don’t care about other sports, why pay silly money when you can get away with parting company with only £49.95 for the year?

Over on Virgin Media, their Sky Sports Collection pack is available for £27.25 (no change). Interestingly, you can now add Sky Sports with any of their TV packages. Their basic More TV package is only £13.00 with the V HD Box, so you’re looking at £40.25 a month, or £483.00 a year. Furthermore, Sky Sports F1 is now available on the Virgin Media platform in high definition, which is an extra £7.00 a month. Factoring that in brings the cost to £567.00 a year.

As of writing, Sky Sports F1 is also not available on BT Vision or Freeview, meaning that the above are the only viable options.

To summarise, if you are a Formula 1 fan:

£753.00 a year – Sky TV – Family Bundle, Sports + HD Pack (up £102.00)
£567.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + More TV + Sky Sports Collection + HD
£552.00 a year – Sky TV – Original Bundle + Sports Pack (up £30.00)
£483.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + More TV + Sky Sports Collection (down £78.00)
£209.70 – NOW TV – Practice, Qualifying and Race (down £90.00)
£175.00 – Sky Go Monthly Ticket (down £35.00)
£139.80 – NOW TV – Qualifying and Race (down £60.00)
£69.90 – NOW TV – Race (down £30.00)
£49.95 – Sky Sports TV App (down £9.99)

But what if you like two wheels too? You’ve already parted company with several hundred pounds to watch Formula 1 for the year – what now? For those who are fans of both F1 and MotoGP, 2015 will be just as expensive as 2014. Add the BT Sport options from here (non F1 fans will be interested in reading that link) on top of the Sky and Virgin Media options above. On Sky:

– BT Sport is free if you have BT Broadband
– BT Sport is £13.50 a month if you do not have BT Broadband
– BT Sport HD is an extra £3.00 a month

This means that, for both Formula 1 and MotoGP, there are eight possible combinations.

£951.00 a year – Sky TV – Family Bundle, Sports + HD Pack + BT Sport in HD (up £120.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in HD and MotoGP in HD [if you have no BT Broadband]

£915.00 a year – Sky TV – Family Bundle, Sports + HD Pack + BT Sport (up £120.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in HD and MotoGP in SD [if you have no BT Broadband]

£789.00 a year – Sky TV – Family Bundle, Sports + HD Pack + BT Sport in HD (up £102.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in HD and MotoGP in HD [if you have BT Broadband]

£753.00 a year – Sky TV – Family Bundle, Sports + HD Pack + BT Sport (up £102.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in SD [if you have BT Broadband]

£750.00 a year – Sky TV – Original Bundle + Sports Pack + BT Sport in HD (up £48.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD [if you have no BT Broadband]

£714.00 a year – Sky TV – Original Bundle + Sports Pack + BT Sport (up £48.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in SD [if you have no BT Broadband]

£588.00 a year – Sky TV – Original Bundle + Sports Pack + BT Sport in HD (up £30.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD [if you have BT Broadband]

£552.00 a year – Sky TV – Original Bundle + Sports Pack + BT Sport (up £30.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in SD [if you have BT Broadband]

Even after that you could say “but has BT Broadband gone up in the past year?” I don’t know the answer to that, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the answer is “yes”.

Meanwhile, over on Virgin Media…

– BT Sport is free with the TV XL package
– BT Sport is otherwise £15.00 a month

Which means that it is:

£747.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + More TV + Sky Sports Collection + HD + BT Sport
=> this will get you Formula 1 in HD and MotoGP in HD

£747.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + XL + Sky Sports Collection + HD + BT Sport
=> this will get you Formula 1 in HD and MotoGP in HD

£663.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + More TV + Sky Sports Collection + BT Sport (down £12.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD

£663.00 a year – Virgin Media TV – V HD Box + XL + Sky Sports Collection + BT Sport (up £30.00)
=> this will get you Formula 1 in SD and MotoGP in HD

A final option for MotoGP fans would be to go for their video pass, which works out at about £83.00 based on the current conversion rate. Interestingly, thanks to the way the calendar has worked out, the alternative options are cheaper: whilst Sky’s prices have increased significantly, their Now TV service may prove to be a cheaper option for some.

All prices correct as of Monday 19th January 2015. Information contained in this blog post is subject to change.

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11 thoughts on “Doing the sums: the cost of viewing F1 and MotoGP in 2015

  1. I still get sky f1 free without sports as a legacy subscriber, and BT free as a bt broadband user anyway. Result. 🙂

  2. David, do you know if those that had the ‘original’ Sky HD pack, will continue to receive F1 as part of that, or will they require an’upgrade’ to Sky Sports, to see F1 in 2015?

  3. Last year I did the following. Watched the BBC’s live races on the BBC. Watched the remaining 10 races using the Now TV box and 10 Sky Sports 24h Day Passes. You can order a Now TV box with 5 Sky Sports day passes as a bundle for £35. I did this twice: once in March in time for Australia and once in July when my five day passes had been used.

    Only downsides. No HD streaming (although I have since learnt that you can stream in HD if watching Now TV via the Now TV app available on the Xbox 360). Also, you need a fast, reliable broadband connection. Finally, if you want to watch the full qualifying session, you need to start your 24hr pass at about 6pm on the Saturday, which is when Sky normally repeat their entire qualifying show.

    So I paid £70 in total to watch 10 Sky F1 races on my Now TV box.

  4. If you’re going the Now TV route for the Sky races, don’t forget you can get 24hr Sport Pass codes on eBay usually quite cheaply, around £3 to £4 (I’ve had a few as low as £1.95). And if you’re a Yank living outside the U.S., you can sign up for free TV streaming at USTVNow.com. The standard NBC channel is part of the free streaming package, and they usually show Monaco plus North American timezone races live free-to-air, albeit with ads during the race: NBC also show a lot of Saturday 5.30pm kickoff Premier League games for those interested (you can check coverage for the upcoming week on this page, times given are 5 hours behind the UK – http://www.nbcsports.com/tv-listings ).

  5. Just to clarify my previous post, the only NBC channel you get free on USTVNow is the regular NBC network, you do not get NBCSN which has the vast bulk of US F1 coverage, but is a premium pay channel.

  6. You didn’t list Talk Talk Youview as a means of getting Sky Sports F1. Purchase the Sky Sports Boost on top of your basic package for just £30 a month. So you buy 9 months (Mar-Nov) for a total of £270. Sure, you don’t get HD but the SD pic quality is excellent. Plus you can now record Sky F1 which is handy for watching your fix in a more flexible way (not to mention Friday practice when you get home from work or school).

  7. I feel that this blog is a touch misleading. All the F1 races are still shown on the BBC – it’s just that only half of them are live. The extended highlight shows still effectively show the full race action so for those who regularly record Sky F1, so that they can watch the race at a more convenient time, the BBC represents a much more cost effective option.

  8. My TalKTalk half price offer for the Sky F1 over the winter break was £15 per month, obviously no racing, but lots of old races, Legends programs and other very interesting stuff., and testing. Of course I was going to cancel when the season started, and the price went up to £30 per month, dipping in and out for when BBC were doing full coverage, but I didn’t as I’ve got hooked on Teds notebook and Formula one show texting, etc etc. I now record all that, plus practice, quali and the race, but watch the actual race on BBC because I prefer their actual race commentators, then catch up on all the fun stuff before and after, on the Sky recordings. This works out costwise somewhere between the Sky package, which is very expensive, and the now tv thing which doesn’t give all the other extra F1 programmes too. Bit late on this blog, but is relevant, I feel.

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