Tag Archives: Sky Sports

Formula One: Motorsports Mayweather vs. McGregor

Mayweather Vs McGregor

The Formula One circus springs back into life this weekend with the championship heading to Spa for the iconic Belgian Grand Prix. If history is anything to go by we can expect to see Red Bull Racing have made a step forward in performance through the break, and for Lewis Hamilton’s form to kick into high gear.

For the F1 fan during a Grand Prix weekend, it can easy to forget other forms of motorsport exist let alone other forms of sport, but this weekend it will be nigh on impossible to miss the relentless coverage of Mayweather vs McGregor.

Everyone loves a cross over! Mayweather vs McGregor is the sporting world’s ultimate cross over. The undefeated heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Mayweather coming out of retirement to answer the challenge of UFC legend Conner McGregor. Cynics would say it’s all about the money with each fighter set to earn in the region of $200 Million for the night and let’s face it, it is, but who cares?

Give the fans what they want and the world will talk about it. Prepare for every social media record ever set to be broken!  It costs more for a sponsor to have their name on Conor McGregor’s elasticated waist for 1 night than it does to be title sponsor of a leading F1 team for an entire season!

How can any other sport compete? Has there ever been a comparable event in motorsport? Could F1 or any other category put on a similar show?

What the world of boxing and UFC have in Mayweather and McGregor are personalities. Neither are backward in coming forward, both believe they are the best in everything they do and both have a constant need to tell the world. Their respective categories embrace this, encouraging them to build their names, which in effect will build the category. They are showman, they are entertainers. Within Motorsports this level of self-adulation isn’t overtly encouraged, the sport is about the team and is often attached to an automotive manufacturer whose reputation could be tarnished by an extrovert driver. In the coming years, should F1 elect to move away from it’s mandate of acting as a basis for automotive development and focus more on entertainment, the Mayweather and McGregor characters could emerge. Until then, we’re stuck with drivers being forced to apologise for sneezing in a way which could damage the brand they represent.

Motorsports is no stranger to a crossover. This year alone, Fernando Alonso was given the opportunity to try his hand in Indycar and proved to be no slouch, drivers often compete in multiple categories such as Jean Eric Vergne racing in Formula E and the World Endurance Championship this season. But when did a champion of one series last race directly against another champion? The simple answer is the annual Race of Champions event, which can attract a high calibre of driver including the likes of Vettel and 2016 champion Montoya, but given the knock out style of the event do they really get to race against each other? Is it really want the fans want?

Motorsport can do better than the Race of Champions. Liberty Media should take inspiration from Mayweather vs McGregor and go all out.  What would you like to see them do? Who would you like to see compete?

Finally, how many F1 drivers will be getting up at 5AM / staying up until 5AM on Sunday morning to watch the arguably the greatest sporting event of the year, and how many drivers will dare tweet about it?

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Formula One: Sky to broadcast all races in Ultra HD from 2017 through Tata Communications

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Following successful trials at the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix, Tata Communications, Connectivity Provider of Formula 1, have confirmed Ultra High Definition (UHD) will be available for Sky at all races from 2017 onwards.

The successful proof of concept involved the installation of multiple state-of-the-art UHD cameras at the Singapore circuit. The footage from these was mixed in the FOM Broadcast Centre onsite, and the UHD output distributed live to Sky’s HQ in Osterley in the UK using Tata Communications’ Video Connect service. Video Connect enables broadcasters to deliver live video feeds over the world’s largest wholly-owned subsea fibre network, ensuring the highest quality experience for viewers.

“UHD offers four times higher resolution than HD, making F1 a more powerful, immersive experience for fans than ever before”says Keith Lane, Director of Operations at Sky.

“Delivering the race action seamlessly in UHD from any Grand Prix location to homes requires superfast, reliable connectivity on a global scale,” says Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of F1 Business at Tata Communications.

The Tata Communications relationship extends to the entire Sky group, encompassing Formula One broadcast rights across the UK, Germany and Italy. At this time access to packages from the broadcaster to access UHD coverage have not been announced.  With the recent sale of F1 to Liberty Media it should be expected Tata Communications will be working to broaden to the offering of UHD content to the entire F1 broadcast community alongside accelerating plans around live OTT & 4K broadcasting.

Formula One: Red Bull Racing do Drones

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In the build up to the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing duo Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen spent some time trialling racing drone technology armed with streaming Go Pro’s and VR headsets.

As well as showing of their drone handling skills(!), in the film below drivers give their analysis on the Monaco Grand Prix and look forward to the Canadian Grand Prix. Both expect the upgraded power unit to perform strongly around the circuit and hope to be able to compete at the front. Hopefully the two will avoid hitting each other on track, something they didn’t manage with the drones.

The use of drone technology is understood to be high on the agenda of Formula One Management’s technical revolution in race broadcasting and content creation, with trials expected to take place over the Italian Grand Prix weekend. which is coincidently a Grand Prix which Heineken are now a title sponsor. It is not clear if the trials will lead to imagery being used in broadcast or as a form of VR trail, but it is clear FOM are looking into new ways to present the sport.

Filming & streaming content from drones could enable FOM to showcase the sport in an entirely new format at a much lower cost than more traditional filming via helicopter. The sport could even consider the use of VR to allow fans to control their view of the sport from a drone. A direction, FOM, SKY, and Mercedes AMG Petronas partner Tata Communications is keen to facilitate and encourage as discussed in this interview.

FIA Formula E, trialled the use of drones earlier this year following the Mexico ePrix. Click here for more.

Formula One: Brundle absent from Montreal

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SKY SPORTS F1 co-commentator Martin Brundle has confirmed on Social Media he will be absent from the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend.

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Citing a medical procedure as his reason for missing the event Brundle confirmed his place will be covered by an existing member of the Sky Sports F1 team. With Anthony Davidson away at Le Mans, it is likely Paul Di Resta will take Martin’s place in the commentary booth.

This development follows earlier news reported here that Martin will miss the Baku Grand Prix, electing to take part in a Classic Le Mans event over the same weekend. It is unclear at this time if the medical procedure will impact these plans.

You can follow Martin Brundle on Social Media here

 

Formula One: Tata Communications partner with Sky F1

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Earlier this month Tata Communications and Sky announced an expanded partnership overseeing the broadcasters Formula One coverage delivered entirely through Tata Communications superfast fibre network, which lays claim to being the worlds only wholly owned fibre network encircling the globe.

The agreement will see Tata Communications will support Sky’s strategy to create Europe’s leading entertainment company following its acquisition of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, will ensure a seamless race experience for viewers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, regardless of Grand Prix location.

Keith Lane, Director of Operations at Sky commented on the partnership:

“It’s crucial that we’re able to bring our viewers action-packed, high-quality F1 racing experiences from Grands Prix around the world. And, as the way people experience F1 is constantly evolving thanks to technological advances that rely on superfast connectivity, there is scope for us to tap into Tata Communications’ global fibre network as we continue to drive innovation in F1 broadcasting”

All video feeds of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship season will be distributed live in high-definition to Sky viewers using Tata Communications’ Video Connect service. Sky teams based in the UK, Germany and Italy will work in close collaboration with Tata Communications’ experts at race tracks and its remote operations teams, ensuring a seamless delivery of each race to people at home. Video Connect enables broadcasters to deliver live video feeds from anywhere in the world over Tata Communications’ IP network, with connectivity to over 240 countries and territories. Underpinned by the world’s largest wholly-owned subsea fibre network, it ensures the highest quality viewing experience for F1 fans.

“It’s crucial that we’re able to bring our viewers action-packed, high-quality F1 racing experiences from Grands Prix around the world. And, as the way people experience F1 is constantly evolving thanks to technological advances that rely on superfast connectivity, there is scope for us to tap into Tata Communications’ global fibre network as we continue to drive innovation in F1 broadcasting.” remarked Keith Lane

On this site earlier in the year we interviewed Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of Formula One for Tata Communications, on the future of F1 Broadcasting, this overarching Sky partnership will facilitate rapid development in the directions mentioned in that interview. Speaking on the partnership Mehul comments:

“Bringing fans brilliant, glitch-free viewing experiences requires more than just reliable, superfast connectivity on a global scale. As fans increasingly want to be part of the action unfolding on the track, we look forward to exploring future game-changing technologies with Sky to drive innovation in F1 broadcasting.”

With an expansive partnership of this nature in place alongside SKY being awarded exclusive broadcast rights for Formula One in the UK from 2019 onwards, the broadcaster’s commitment to the sport has never been greater. Whilst some may argue the extent of Sky’s power within the sport could be detrimental for fans, the converse seems more likely, Sky are committed to the long term success and growth of Formula One, they will no doubt be exploring ways in which to add more services to the F1 broadcast product in the near future.

An interesting sidebar on the agreement is the name Sky itself. Many associate the broadcaster Sky with the need for a satellite dish on the side of your house, yet the Tata partnership will be reliant on a fibre network. Whilst this element of the deal is not customer facing, In a separate partnership Tata communications have resolved historical OTT (Over The Top – set top free view services) issues around live broadcasting. (see this article). Movement in this area will free Sky up to offer Formula One content to customers without a satellite dish. The ability to offer F1 through a streaming service with no risk of live delay opens Sky up to offering season passes, which could reduce the price point of the Sky offering, discouraging an audience from streaming content illegally at diminished quality.

Services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have shown the broadcast industry that customers are prepared to pay for content if the price point is right. What is a fair price for an F1 season pass?

The deal with Sky builds on Tata Communications’ expertise in F1 content delivery and highlights the company’s central role in the F1 ecosystem, working in close partnership with Formula One Management, The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, and many leading F1 broadcasters. Last year, the company was also chosen by Formula One Management to provide broadcast services globally for the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup racing series.

Formula One: Brundle will miss the Baku GP

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SKY SPORTS F1 commentator Martin Brundle will step down from his commentary duties for the weekend of the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe coming from Baku.  Replacing the microphone for a steering wheel Brundle for the weekend, Martin will be racing  alongside his son Alex, in the Road to Le Mans event, a precursor to the Le Mans 24 hours taking place over the same weekend.

The Brundle family will be participating in the event with the Zak Brown, co-founder of JMI, owned United Autosports team in a Ligier JS P3 competing in the LMP3 category. Brundle’s place in the commentary box alongside David Croft will be taken by an existing member of the SKY SPORTS F1 team. With regular co-commentator for Free Practice sessions Anthony Davidson also otherwise engaged at Le Mans, it is likely Paul Di Resta will be stepping up to race commentary team in Baku.

SKY SPORTS F1 will confirm the commentary team following the Monaco Grand Prix.

Formula One: Ricciardo’s new look…?

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Those of you not on social media may have missed Daniel Ricciardo’s recent perhaps unplanned new look.

After being accused of growing a mullet by Ted Kravitz in the build up to the Bahrain Grand Prix it would appear fellow Sky Sports F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham may have taken matters into her own hands, or those of her husband.

Daniel Ricciardo yesterday posted images of his ‘new look’ in progress through his Instagram profile, following it up with a film of Natalie Pinkham’s reaction.

We made some late night calls & got Vince over to finish the mess that is seen on the left 😬

A photo posted by Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) on Apr 11, 2016 at 2:06pm PDT

 

You can follow Daniel Ricciardo on Instagram here & Natalie Pinkham here

Formula One: Sky Sports to become exclusive home of F1

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Sky has agreed a new broadcast partnership with Formula One Management, strengthening its position as the home of sport offering unrivalled choice for fans.

 

The new agreement comprises:
Exclusive: Sky Sports will be the home of Formula 1® in the UK and Ireland from 2019 to 2024, offering live coverage of every Grand Prix.
Free to air: The FORMULA 1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX, together with highlights of all other races and Qualifying sessions, will be shown on a ‘free-to-air’ basis.
Sky Sports Mix: Additionally at least two other ‘prime time’ live races a season will be offered on the soon-to-be-launched Sky Sports Mix along with other F1 content.
UHD: For the first time every race starting with the 2017 Championship will be shown in the stunning picture quality of Ultra High Definition via Sky Q, the next-generation home entertainment system.

 

Sky Sports F1® will continue to be the only place to watch each Grand Prix weekend live for the next three seasons in the UK, with 21 races live in 2016 beginning with the 2016 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX last weekend.

 

The new agreement builds on the success of Sky Sports F1® since the launch of the award-winning channel in 2012. More than 13 million viewers have already enjoyed its live coverage with many more following F1® racing across Sky Sports’ digital outlets.

 

Bernie Ecclestone, CEO Formula One Group said: “I am delighted that we will continue to work together. Sky’s commitment to the Sport and standard of coverage is second to none.”

 

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports said: “This is a brilliant deal that takes Sky’s partnership with F1® to the next level.  Since 2012, we have demonstrated unrivalled commitment to F1®, offering fans innovations including a dedicated channel and the very best broadcasting talent. We are delighted that we are strengthening our coverage for viewers even further, with live and exclusive F1® from 2019 and the chance to watch in Ultra High Definition for the first time from next season.  We are pleased to support F1® and look forward to working with them to progress, develop and enhance coverage of the Championship during the agreement.”

 

Martin Brundle, commentator and analyst for Sky Sports F1® added: “I joined Sky Sports because I wanted to be part of a dedicated F1® channel with a total and long term commitment to the sport.  And we have certainly delivered on that.  In a fast changing media landscape, our coverage will get even better for F1® fans.”

Formula One: SKY & Williams bring VR to F1

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Sky is launching a major new commitment to Virtual Reality (VR) content, bringing its expertise in storytelling to the creation of immersive experiences that will put the viewer right at the heart of the action. Over the coming months, Sky will transport fans of sports, movies, news and entertainment to locations around the world, offering a truly unique perspective on major events.

To step up the production of VR content across all its markets, Sky has created Sky VR Studio, a dedicated in-house VR production unit. The first pieces of fully immersive VR content to be produced by the unit will be released on Friday – two unprecedented films shot during Formula 1 testing in Barcelona, which will transport viewers to the pit lane, into the team garages, and out onto the track.

The two F1 VR experiences, which were produced in conjunction with Formula One Management and Williams Martini Racing, will be made available via the Facebook 360 Video platform. The full VR experience will also be available on the Oculus platform, and viewable on the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift headsets. Later in the year, Sky will look to distribute content through a dedicated Sky VR app.

Over the coming year, Sky VR Studio will drive the creation of cinematic, fully immersive VR content, producing more than 20 individual films, across a unique range of Sky content – from major cultural events in news to some of the biggest sporting events on the planet.

The team, which is led by Executive Producer Neil Graham, includes production staff with rare and valuable experience in VR film making. It will be bolstered with the addition of award-winning VR director Richard Nockles, who directed Sky VR Studio’s F1 film, and is behind a wide range of VR projects for a number of global brands.

Sky has been building its expertise in VR for a number of years. In 2013, the company invested in Jaunt, a US-based company pioneering cinematic virtual reality. Since then, Sky has been carrying out testing across a range of events. Already, the Sky News team has produced ‘360’ videos, taking viewers to the centre of the migrant crisis with footage from the refugee landing beach in Lesbos, and the refugee camp in Calais. Sky Movies also trialled the technology at the recent premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving a unique view of the red carpet.

  • JWGP will post updates on the VR content from Williams and Sky as they become available.

Formula One: Sky Sports F1 Joins Williams at Autosport International

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Another major part of the F1 paddock will join next week’s Autosport International with news that UK and Ireland TV broadcaster Sky Sports F1 will be hosting a number of shows at the NEC throughout the event from January 14-17 for the visiting fans.
Joining Williams, Sky Sports F1 will be located in a specially-constructed studio at the NEC, with its household name hosts interviewing special guests from the Grove-based team including current Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa among many others.
As part of a major revamp of the Autosport Stage, the Sky Sports F1 studio will be located immediately next to another must-see feature – the eight metre-tall Williams Martini Racing motorhome, which will be constructed inside the NEC for the duration of Autosport International, the first time it has been erected anywhere outside of an F1 paddock.
Sky Sports F1 will bring along a host of its most famous presenters, including Natalie Pinkham, Ted Kravitz, Simon Lazenby and Rachel Brookes. Together they will host two shows per day on Thursday 14th January and Friday 15th January with three shows per day on the weekend, giving visitors an exclusive opportunity to watch a show.
In addition to Felipe Massa, special guests from Williams being interviewed by the Sky Sports F1 crew will include Williams Martini Racing Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams, Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer of Williams Martini Racing and Head of Performance Engineering, Rob Smedley.
As well as watching a show, event-goers can feast their eyes on a collection of eight Formula One racers from Williams’ history on display outside the Williams Martini Racing motorhome, stretching back to its very first season in 1978. Fans will also get the chance to see a Williams-Cosworth FW08C in the Live Action Arena.
Claire Williams, Williams Martini Racing Deputy Team Principal, said: “Bringing the F1 world closer to our fans is really important to us, so being able to join up with Sky Sports F1 at Autosport International is just fantastic. We’re all looking forward to taking part in the shows.”
Martin Turner, Executive Producer Sky Sports F1 said: “We’re delighted to join forces with Williams at what is one of the world’s premier pre-season motorsport events – Autosport International. It will be a thrill to have such a major presence, hear some great insight from the stars of such a great team and interact with all the fans.”
Ian France, Autosport International show director, said: “With Sky Sports F1 hosting shows from the NEC for the first time ever, visitors to Autosport International will really be getting the chance to soak up some F1 atmosphere away from the racing circuit.”
To come along to what promises to be the most exciting and action-packed edition of Autosport International to date, log on to www.autosportinternational.com to get your tickets now.