The news that as of 2012, BBC would be cutting back it’s Formula One coverage did not make my day. If you’re based in the UK, this may be quite an inconvenience and a costly one if you need to get a subscription to Sky. If you’re in a country without decent F1 coverage, this is a nightmare. My mother can provide better commentary than Belgium’s VT4 reporters.

So what are we to do? It got me thinking: why is this still bound to borders? Why is there no company that provides Netflix-style streaming access to sports like Formula One? Surely there must be a market for it?

So what is the budget needed to provide the world class coverage of the BBC? And what is holding anyone back from starting such a streaming company? Is there anyone that knows people who know people in the TV industry capable of enlightening us?

Given the global viewership of F1 (over half a billion), it shouldn’t be too hard to make a profit out of this. I’ll gladly be the first to sign up (or even help out)!

  • Leif

    The same goes for many sports; golf, hockey, olympics, etc. The only reliable way of getting “live” events currently is cable/satelite. The odd time to the tv network will broadcast their own feed but it’s not consistent from my experience. There’s definitely a market for a netflix-like service for live events.

  • Benjamin Otte

    The rights to provide coverage is sold per country. There’s a bunch of legalese in place to ensure that you do not provide a similar service in other countries. I thought this was common knowledge, too, as the BBC iPlayer is only available to British residents and lots of Youtube videos get censored in various countries.
    So I expect that getting global rights to stream Formula 1 would cost you multiple billions of dollars per year.

  • Jack Hynes
  • Johan Thelin

    I’d say that the biggest hurdle is the legal aspect and the fact that the F1 organization makes loads of money from the broadcasting rights. Did you ever notice that the small highlight videos on requires you to accept a contract before watching – they are not they open, DRM-free, company that you would like to work out a streaming deal with.

    On a side note – Brundle’s commentary rocks. I watch BBC instead of the Swedish alternative, just because of him.

  • John Ludlow

    That sucks. Unfortunately, the BBC have no reason to provide any content at all since they’re funded via the license fee, so this was inevitable really. I have Sky, but not Sky Sports. Most likely I’ll just pay the extra £3 a month to get the sports pack.

    • John Ludlow

      Oh, forgot to mention that the biggest hurdle *is* the legal side of things. Services like Hulu, Netflix, and Pandora are all blocked in the UK (and I assume anywhere outside the US).

  • Peter Hagen

    Well, if you look at, they do online streaming. Don’t know what quality, but you have to buy a videopass. So, maybe the F1 should do that too? In the Netherlands the Moto GP is not even on TV anymore

  • Calum

    Two words: Bernie Ecclestone.