According to recent reports, Formula One coverage could be solely available to paying customers over the coming years.
This season, German viewers were only able to access this season’s race schedule if they are subscribed to Sky’s pay-TV channel.
As a result of the change, viewership has understandably taken a major hit with many fans who would tune in on the odd Sunday unwilling to pay to watch.
Ian Holmes, media rights director of Formula 1, told Sport Bild: “We’ve had success in the German market and appreciate the large audience RTL brought, but overall viewership and rights revenue were down.”
He said that viewing figures are “as expected” this season but that Formula 1 officials are “happy”, and back the decision by saying; “There’s still a lot of coverage on digital and social channels which keeps German fans heavily engaged.”
However, there has been major opposition to the widespread move, with some worrying that it could “ruin” Formula One.
CEO of Swiss media consultants, Inmediaz, Stefan Kurten, slammed the potential move and said it would result in Formula One losing many hardcore fans.
Stefan Kurten, CEO of Swiss media consultants Inmediaz, said by making live TV access available only through paid channels Formula One would lose huge numbers of hardcore fans.
“A racing series like Formula 1 ruins itself in the long run by taking the step of running only on pay-TV,” he said.
“You reduce your audience to the hardcore of fans. So you become more and more a show only for motorsport freaks.
“You pay for higher rights revenues with an increasing loss of relevance. In the medium term, this then causes unrest among sponsors.”