Sky’s F1 channel “will be back” in 2016

The Sky Sports F1 channel will be back in 2016 in the UK, it has been confirmed. The news has been confirmed via a verified Sky representative on an Irish news forum.

In response to Sky Sports Darts taking over the F1 channel during the Christmas period, Sky’s spokeswoman on the forum said that “Motor fans will still be able to enjoy F1 content across other Sky Sports channels during this timeframe [14th December to 4th January]. As the F1 season will have already came to a close it means that F1 fans will not miss out on any live races. It also means that there will be no disruption to any live sport on any of the other Sport channels.”

The spokeswoman added that “In the New Year Sky Sports F1 will be back on channel 407, and will be the only place to see all 20 practice and qualifying sessions as well as every live race. Sky Sports F1 will continue to be a dedicated motor sport channel during the whole F1 season including preseason testing, and every race weekend live.”

Whilst a forum representative may not always be the strongest source, The F1 Broadcasting Blog has been able to independently verify the information to confirm that the F1 channel will be back in 2016. The future of Sky’s F1 channel has been under the microscope in recent months. Various race simulcasts on Sky Sports 1 have increased speculation, alongside rising contract prices for the likes of the Premier League and the news that Sky are streamlining their F1 production operation.

Of course, the continuation of Sky’s F1 channel is good news, it is after all a dedicated Formula 1 channel. However, I hope Sky make better use of the channel next season. At times it has felt like a ‘contractual obligation’ this season more than anything else, with the same Classic F1 races on a loop and little new programming outside of the race weekend beyond Midweek Report and The F1 Show. F1 Legends has been cut significantly, with Tales from the Vault and Architects of F1 the only new historical programming. Sky should look to programmes such as the Road to Mercedes for inspiration. 2015 has not all been negative – the channel has produced some stunning features such as the Mercedes behind the scenes feature alongside the ever present Notebook from Ted Kravitz (I will expand on the above in my post-season review).

It will be interesting to see if the structure of the channel changes for 2016, if at all. In the short term, the main news is that the F1 channel in the UK is definitely returning.

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22 thoughts on “Sky’s F1 channel “will be back” in 2016

  1. Do you think we will see the end of season team reviews before the channel goes into hibernation, I don’t have SkySports 1-5 but have SkyF1 so I will likely miss any new content when the channel is off air for example possibly some review and Christmas programming show on SkySports 1-4 :/

  2. Never mind ‘it’ll be back’ what about compensation for a decrease in service over December and January. Many people I know have the entire Sports package or took out the HD package specifically to get SkyF1.

    These people are no longer getting a service they’re still paying for, there should be a billing adjustment or complimentary movie access to offset this breach of contract.

    • Hmm, my prediction is that there is a clause somewhere in the contract with viewers saying “note if the channel changes name and content you will still be chargered for the remainder of your contract” or something like that, I’m one of those who took the HD pack just to get SkyF1!

  3. Josh I’m not solicitor but I don’t think you can write open ended exemptions into a contract.

    It would allow for companies to defeat the entire purpose of a contract.

  4. it seems like sky is giving up on F1, its possibly not drawn in the numbers they expected which is unsurprising given the costs of subscribing. I am still on the old get HD and get F1 package and F1 is one of the main reasons for keeping sky. If F1 goes i’ll just go Amazon and netflix. Maybe an online channel could take over F1 uk broadcasting?

    • I doubt they’re giving up on the sport, They would have gotten out of the contract or removed the channel by now if that was the case, I do wish they would show more old races on the channel though but thats prob more down to rights more then anything else

  5. Sky have consistently seized and monopolized certain content to drive subscriptions. They started with football knowing it would garner the greatest return. As new Sky subscription have dwindled they’ve chased ever more niche markets. The most recent of these being the introduction of SkyF1 and Sky Arts.

    I predicted right from the outset that Sky would drop F1 like a hot coal as soon they’d peaked subscription uptakes. I don’t know how many seasons Sky will remain in F1 but I doubt it will last to the end of their current contract.

    The way forward is for Bernie to offer a low cost web based live streaming service, not linked to any 3rd party broadcaster.

    • low cost live web streaming of F1 will never happen as it won’t reach enough eyes for the advertisers.
      Bernie cares about making F1 successful monetary wise which means getting the most out of each contract regardless of its future impact on the sport. It does mean he listens to his customers who are the broadcasters and advertisers, before the fans.

      if he wanted to enhance the offering he could make the official apps premium features free or licence it to the PPV operators so they can provide as complimentary value add.

      • Just putting this out there… When the bbc is live you can live stream it on their website along with the on board and pit lane channels

  6. I suspect Sky and Bernie do a lot of statistical manipulation to give sponsors and advertisers a false impression of the delivery rate.

    This is probably why Sky F1 is only available if you take the entire sports package. Apart from the unfair Dick Turpin nature of the cost, they can lump in every Sky Sports subscriber, many of whom only watch football, and claim they are ‘potential audience’.

    Then there’s breaking what was a single broadcast into 3 sections, giving the race segment a much higher audience rating, as it’s not pulled down by averaging the less viewed pre and post race shows.

    Once advertisers realize that the pay-per-view model doesn’t generate the unique viewers they want they may be more interested in a web based streaming service.

    Sky will drop or sell their F1 commitment at the drop of a hat as soon as the bean counters shout enough.

    • It’s a shame Sky stopped at F1 and didn’t pursue other machine based raceing formats too,
      Motor cycling all formats
      Dtm, lemans, btc, rallying
      Sailing
      Cycling, road and mountain biking

      Could have been the sports refuge for those that aren’t into football or golf.

  7. Sky simply can’t afford to put enough resources into a dedicated F1 Channel. It’s a sad state of affairs – the accountants and cost cutters are ruling the roost and the production team’s hands are tied. Expect to see the F1 Shows presented from Sky in between the races axed next season. Unfortunately Sky’s deal with FOM puts heavy restrictions on what other motorsport the channel is able to show. I’m sure fans would prefer to pay for a ‘Sky Motorsport’ channel with a richer content offering showing lots of worthwhile non F1 racing as well.

  8. how is sky cutting back? they have dropped their f1 channel while the darts are on. God help us all for 3 whole weeks!!!!

      • very true. Sky have been running 24 hours of F1 coverage since the F1 season ended to make
        up for no F1 over xmas, which makes a change for non F1 weeks when there is hardly any coverage during the day.
        I know this won’t apply to everyone, but there is plenty of F1 highlights on Catch up TV, which is what I pay part of my subscription for.

        Sky won’t be dropping F1 before their contract ends, why break a contract? They combine coverage, features, and transmission with their other European Sky broadcasters in order to save money, and they have just invested in a state of the art broadcast unit, which isn’t done by any other broadcaster. Some people may not like their coverage or begrudge paying for sport, but I’m sorry to say, times are changing and as Burnie knows “Money Talks”, which the BBC doesn’t have.

  9. How does scheduling extra stuff overnight make up for charging me for something I didn’t sign up for or have any interest in?

    It’s like your electricity company saying overnight electricity will be free until the 13th of December but between the 14th and the 4th of Jan you’ll have to use candles and a camping stove but your bill will remain the same as last year.

    Bonkers.

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