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Formula One returns to Sky Deutschland

Formula One Management, the commercial rights-holder of the F1 championship, has agreed a new deal with Sky Deutschland for pay-television rights a year after being unable to do so for the 2018 season.

The new agreement appears to be a win-win for both broadcaster and rights-holder. After the news last week that pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports will drop its F1 coverage in the Middle East and North Africa after the 2019 season, FOM can help make up some shortfall with this deal. Sky will bring back a premium property, combatting any negative press it received when it initially dropped coverage of F1.

The new two-year deal with Sky, covering 2019 and 2020, is for non-exclusive rights in Germany and Austria and German-language rights in Switzerland. Sky will broadcast the entire weekend of action including practice sessions and qualifying. There will be no commercial breaks during its race coverage.

F1’s OTT platform, F1 TV, will continue to broadcast races in all three countries. Free-to-air rights in each in 2019 are held by RTL (Germany), ORF (Austria) and SRG (Switzerland).

Sky’s last deal for F1 rights in Germany, Austria and Switzerland was a two-year deal, covering 2016 and 2017. Talks broke down between FOM and Sky over a renewal for the 2018 season, leaving pay-television rights unsold. With F1 TV launching for the start of the 2018 season, pay-television coverage was no longer going to be exclusive and therefore Sky were unwilling to continue its investment. OTT service DAZN also was put off by the non-exclusivity.

For Sky, it is another statement in the market since it was acquired by US telco Comcast. The broadcaster has most recently held onto rights to several tennis properties amid intense competition and last year won back rights to the English Premier League from rival DAZN.