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Hamilton hits out at 'ridiculous' pay-TV deal

  • Published on 01 Mar 2019 14:42
  • comments 15
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton says that it's ridiculous that fans have to pay to view Formula 1 from 2019 onwards.

This year, all races in the UK and Ireland will be shown exclusively on Sky Sports, while Channel 4 will broadcast the British Grand Prix live, as well as highlight packages from each event.

When Hamilton won his maiden world championship in 2008, 8.9 million people tuned in to watch the Briton clinch the title at a nail-biting Brazilian Grand Prix. However, that figure dropped to 1.9 million people in 2018, when Hamilton won his fifth championship in Mexico.

The 34-year-old says he doesn't know why people are switching off Formula 1, but labelled the pay-TV deal as "ridiculous".

"I didn't know that," he said when informed about the viewing figures. "I didn't know those numbers. That sounds terrible from a business point of view. I'm not sure why people are switching off. I remember growing up, turning on BBC and watching the Grand Prix. It was awesome. 

"I don't understand the pay-TV situation, it's not my job. But it's bloody expensive nowadays. With all the things you have at home, your insurance, all the things that you end up paying and on top of that you have to end up paying for TV and for a TV license, it's ridiculous."

Hamilton also believes that the figures will not change anytime soon, and has warned F1 about blocking fans from the sport.

"I'm pretty sure that number is not going to change because of the economy. It's a difficult time for everyone and it's a shame that the fans don't get to see as much.

"The more people you have at a Grand Prix, the more atmosphere that you have. It's the fans that make the sport what it is, so the more you deter them, the worse the business is going to be. 

"But again, it's nothing to do with me. I just arrive and when the fans do come, the people I do get to meet, I utilise that opportunity to connect with them."


Replies (15)

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  • Welcome to Viasat, Hammy! Yes, paying 70 Euro pro month minimum just go get one channel is just a bit toss.

    • + 0
    • Mar 1 2019 - 14:56
    • LuXe

      Posts: 5

      what if I would tell you that viasat holds broadcast rights in baltic countries but does not broadcast anything related to f1 in protest to FOM so we can't even have f1tv pro :)

      • + 0
      • Mar 1 2019 - 19:43
    • Yup, it's the same here. And it's shitty. I'd love to have F1TV, yet we are refused it! Down with Viasat! Down with the Tyranny! Revolution!

      • + 0
      • Mar 1 2019 - 19:45
    • Fuck Viasat!! Just for you Calle.

      • + 1
      • Mar 1 2019 - 21:06
    • Oooh, music to my ears, AJ! :3

      • + 0
      • Mar 1 2019 - 22:12
  • Smiler121

    Posts: 53

    Those figures back up what I think almost everyone knows is common sense, how do they think it is a positive thing for the sport to have an ever reducing number of people able to watch? I'm lucky I don't pay for access to Sky, however if I stop getting it for free I won't be able to justify paying for everything just to watch one sport 🤬

    • + 1
    • Mar 1 2019 - 15:02
    • It is common sense. And honestly, we shouldn't have to pay for packages to just get one bloody sport. F1 is a big sport, but it needs to be accessible to stay relevant. Ecclestone began the process of selling out to shitty little vampires just to get a little extra money for a short while, neglecting the longterm viability of the sport. I would however not mind paying for something like F1TV, since it's a good service, but F1 need more than F1TV viewers to stay relevant. It needs to be something families can access, rich or poor. If Liberty is wise, they will listen to Hammy, and rubbish the plans of moving to pay channels. Host quali and races in accessible ways, and have F1TV for us who'd like to view FPs, hot takes and the likes.

      • + 0
      • Mar 1 2019 - 16:02
  • It was on free to air television in the States for awhile but the coverage was terrible. Now ESPN has purchased coverage from SKY and offer it in one of their premium sports channel packages. SKY's coverage is great and probably worth paying something extra for, unless you don't mind the race being interrupted every 10-15 minutes by commercial adverts with free to air coverage. I couldn't even watch the free coverage because it's impossible to follow a race when it's constantly being interrupted. I've been watching SKY online through pirated streams ever since I move back to the States from the continent about 15 years ago. If they ever find a way to block all the unauthorized streams a lot of fans won't be able to watch at all. One year most of the decent streams were getting blocked so I had to watch races that were recorded and posted to some various streaming sites (they're out there if you know where to look). Watching a race late is better than no race. Watching live streams online is not that difficult but I recommend anyone trying it have good malware and ad blocking software installed before connecting to any of those sites. With those in place I've never had any problems aside from the occasional choppy stream. Disclaimer, I'm not endorsing that anyone do anything illegal or anything unethical that violates your own morality.

    • + 1
    • Mar 1 2019 - 18:11
    • I wonder how much F1 is aware of this. And how stupid is it not that F1 almost forces many fans to view streams to be able to access this sport? If you fail to sell your product to people who'd be willing to pay some degree of cash and who want to view your product, yet you deny them the ability to, you done goofed! Its incomprehensible!

      • + 0
      • Mar 1 2019 - 18:40
    • I'm sure all media companies are aware of pirated streams and put some effort to battle them but it's like cutting the head of the Hydra, when you cut one off, two more pop up. This is part of the reason they have been fighting to take away net neutrality to be able to monitor and limit what every user is doing and has the capability to do. If they were to give away more free access to races the base might increase their base but not necessarily see more money from it.

      • + 0
      • Mar 1 2019 - 19:42
    • Thing is: never do companies better than when they are competing with the pirates. Take Steam for an example: I have my gears to grind with Valve, but no doubt they are excellent at battling piracy. It's simpler, safer and generally better to buy a game at Steam than it is to pirate it. Generally speaking. F1 need to compete with the pirates rather than banning them, because chopping of heads is redundant, but starvation isn't.

      • + 0
      • Mar 1 2019 - 19:46
  • It sounds like a shit job is being done globally ! In the UK we benefit from Sky Sports, and HD if you pay the extra. We enjoy Sky TV and would pay for it regardless of whether F1 was being broadcast. I pay c 75GBP a month for Sky HD and another sum on top for BT Sport (WTA tennis mainly) - so lets say GBP90 a month. This is on top of the GBP12 a month TV licence. The main driver of SKY cost is the live coverage deals for Premier League Football - where there are any number of players earning 450k a week, even crappy players in lowest Premier teams earning 70k a week. F1 seems to think it has as broad appeal as football - no way Jose, it can never and will never have that brand appeal. Liberty as I've said before are running a real risk of fu%%ing up here, I haven't seen too much they've done yet that is a positive.

    • + 0
    • Mar 1 2019 - 21:24
  • RogerF1

    Posts: 408

    For once I agree with Hammy. Too many sports in the UK have gone from the public courtesy of pay TV. When you do that, Joe public turns off the interest except the die hards like us. Personally, I won’t pay Sky rates. Good for Hammy to put the numbers out there. Did Sky really do a deal expecting the advertising audience to go down by 80%. Regrettably I don’t think Liberty have any different a mind set than Bernie except now it’s corporate instead of personal.

    • + 1
    • Mar 2 2019 - 00:23
  • f1ski

    Posts: 415

    F1 viewership is down because the spectacle is no longer there. Touring car lemans prototype is every bit as exciting. Motogp is more exciting. I miss 20000 rpm.

    • + 0
    • Mar 2 2019 - 01:51
    • If I wanna see refuelling, I can just go to my local gasstation. Refuelling isn't the solution for the few laps an F1 car do. Bigger fuel tanks and more slippery cars could be. Imagine, faster, heavier cars that can go almost an entire race flat out.

      • + 0
      • Mar 2 2019 - 07:23

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