At the end of July it was announced that, from 2012, live coverage of Formula One in the UK would be shared between the BBC and Sky Sports. You’re probably aware of that by now.
I do not have a great deal of money. Currently we have a basic Sky subscription - essentially, most channels except the Sky Movies and Sky Sports packs - at a slightly discounted rate, after having called Sky and wheedled a bit about being poor. We pay £23 per month for this subscription, rising to £24.50 per month when the discount period finishes. For the Sky Sports Pack, consisting of five standard definition Sky Sports channels, we would have to pay £20 extra a month. Here’s the maths bit - that’s £240 per year on top of the current subscription.
This prohibitive cost means that watching F1 on Sky Sports in 2012 is absolutely not an option for me, unless I traverse Hampshire to watch each Sky race at my grandparents’ house. I don’t think turning up on their doorstep at five in the morning for the Korean Grand Prix would be very endearing.
So, what are the other options? Illegal streaming? Not reliable enough, in my American motorsports-watching experience. Watch the races in a pub? That would mean being sociable, not to mention the problem presented by the flyaway races. Watch the BBC’s highlights several hours after each race? No no no no no no no no with knobs on. Buy a second satellite dish, point it at Astra 19.2°E and receive European channels that show F1 for free? Well, now…