Pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia will hold exclusive rights to the Formula One motor-racing championship for the first time after sealing a three-season extension to its contract.
The agreement announced today (Thursday) includes exclusive television and digital rights across the 2018 to 2020 seasons.
Until last season, F1 coverage in Italy operated under a system whereby which all races were broadcast live by Sky, with state broadcaster Rai transmitting nine grands prix, along with highlights of the remaining races.
The new agreement includes the coverage of the three free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon and race on Sunday, all on the Sky Sport F1 HD channel. The main support competitions – Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup – will also be added to Sky’s lineup.
The new contract stipulates that at least four of the 21 GPs of the 2018 Formula One season – including the Italian Grand Prix at Monza – will be also broadcast live free to air on the TV8 channel, where the remaining races will be available on a delayed basis. Sky’s Now TV service will also live stream the whole season.
Ian Holmes, director of media rights for Formula One, said: “Italy is one of the most important countries in the history of Formula One, where the passion for our sport is part of the DNA of many people, and it is very important to have reached this agreement which will ensure that all the races will be broadcast live.
“Also, it is crucial to have maintained a free to air package of rights, which will always include the Italian Grand Prix, part of the Formula One World Championship since its origins in 1950. Sky Italia has shown a great commitment to the sport and will offer the Italian fans a deeper and broader experience than ever before. More hours and more quality analysis across of Sky’s channels and platforms.”
Matteo Mammì, senior director of sport rights, programming and production at Sky Italia, added: “We look very much forward to the partnership and continuing to serve Formula One fans in Italy by offering a broader and enriched multiplatform offer, including a multitude of contents via Sky digital and social media accounts.
“F1 is the second sport in Italy in terms of following, deeply rooted in the passion of the Italian sport fans and perfectly fits in our motor sport offer, which is the second pillar of Sky Sport portfolio. We are confident F1 will confirm itself as a mass high rating event throughout the seasons to come.”