UK broadcasters Sky (pay-TV) and Channel 4 (free-to-air) have extended their long-running partnership for covering action from motor racing’s iconic Formula 1 (F1) series through to 2026.
The partnership extension, announced today (July 6), will see Sky continue to sub-license highlights from all F1 qualifying sessions, sprints, and grands prix to Channel 4 for the next three years. Sky will continue to show exclusive live coverage from practice sessions, qualifying, sprints, and grands prix through its existing agreement with F1, which is set to last through 2029.
The partnership renewal has been announced in advance of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 9, and the tie-up also involves Channel 4 continuing to air that race and its practice and qualifying sessions live.
Across both UK broadcasters, last year’s British Grand Prix secured a combined audience of 7.4 million. The circuit is currently on the calendar until the end of next season.
The extension means the partnership between Sky and Channel 4 will reach eight years in length by 2026 and Channel 4 has said it “ensures one of the most popular days in the British sporting calendar is made available for everyone to enjoy.”
The last renewal between the two broadcasters came in October last year and was a one-season deal.
Alex Mahon, chief executive at Channel 4, commented: “The partnership between Channel 4 and Sky benefits the British public and allows everyone to get into the sport, brings in new fans, and ensures Formula 1 gets much wider reach and prominence with British audiences. Just like British fans, I love that unique Formula 1 combination of engineering technology, personal humanity, glittering glamour, and unbelievable race tension.”
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky UK and Ireland chief executive, added: “Together with Channel 4 we’ve shared some of the most iconic moments in sporting history and our relationship is as strong as ever. The length and nature of this deal shows Sky’s deep commitment to help increase the reach of Formula 1 and continue to support one of the most exhilarating, and fastest growing sports in the world.”
Total viewing figures on Sky for F1 action in 2022 were up 47% from when its current deal with F1 began in 2019.
Other sports in which Sky and Channel 4 have collaborated in terms of sub-licensing deals in recent years include cricket, with the commercial broadcaster having covered the last two finals of International Cricket Council men’s tournaments which have contained England.
Channel 4 also agreed to a special deal with Sky to cover live the last race of the 2021 F1 season, as UK driver Lewis Hamilton of the Mercedes team went head-to-head for the title with Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
Earlier this week, F1 announced a record 24-race calendar for the 2024 season.
The next campaign will be the longest calendar in the sport’s history, beginning in Bahrain on March 2 and finishing more than 10 months later in Abu Dhabi on December 8.
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