Today, the news has emerged that the Formula 1 television rights will now be shared between the BBC and Sky, increasing Sky’s monopoly on sport even further. Sure, the BBC will be allowed to show half the races and highlights, but if you want to watch Formula 1 from now on, it will have to be on Sky.
In recent years, Sky has gained a monopoly over cricket, it has stolen the Ryder Cup, and now F1, a sport the BBC claims has been gaining large audiences over the last few years. What a perfect time for Sky to play its trump card – money.
Fans of the move will say that F1 should never have been on the BBC in the first place. After all, their license fees pay for it and it is one of the BBC’s most expensive programmes. But Sky would have out-bid every terrestrial broadcaster. ITV’s coverage lasted a good number of years and very successfully.
Sky’s hold over sport only seems likely to continue. If F1 proves successful, who is to say that they won’t buy the BBC out of their deal?
The list of sports that must be shown on terrestrial tv by law is very small. It does include the Olympics and Wimbledon but only the final of the Rugby Union World Cup. Terrestrial tv must show all of the FIFA World Cup but not even the final of the Cricket World Cup. Not even the Six Nations has to be shown on terrestrial tv as it is on the BBC every year.
The public’s best loved sports need to be protected now by legislation before every sports fan in Britain is forced to purchase Sky in order to watch the sport they crave.