Tag Archives: SKY

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: 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: 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: OPINION: How ITV could make a success of UK F1 coverage

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Respected British broadcasting news outlet Broadcast is reporting that ITV are set to over the free to air (FTA) broadcasting rights for Formula one from the BBC as early as 2016, 3 seasons ahead of the current contract. This site has contacted both the BBC and ITV for comment, both of whom responded that they do not comment on contract negotiations.

Under the current FTA UK agreement the BBC broadcast up to 50% of race weekend’s live with the remaining races broadcast in highlights form several hours after the race has taken place. SKY holds the broadcasting rights for all live race weekend coverage through the season.

Estimations on the costs surrounding the BBC’s agreement for F1 coverage range significantly from $20 to $60M per season. Whatever the true cost may be, in an environment in which the corporation is seeking to reduce costs F1 coverage may well be a luxury that can no longer be justified.

FTA coverage in a blend of live and highlights form, whilst not as strong as full live coverage has provided the BBC with a solid audience share since the deal came into place, although overall audience figures are on the decline.

News of ITV possibility taking on the FTA agreement comes at a time when overall audience levels for the sport are somewhat diminished, SKY are known to be exploring ways in which to reduce costs in their output.

With UK broadcasting agreements seemingly under re-evaluation perhaps now is the time to reconsider the way in which viewers receive F1 content. At present both the BBC and SKY have their own production teams sent to each race.  This leads to a duplication of costs and headcount at each race. This despite both broadcasters using the same world feed for actual race and live session content. On site teams are in place to provide race build up and analysis. This compared to the way in which Formula E coverage is broadcast, where a single world feed is available to broadcasters and each country operates studio based build up and analysis. A studio based approach is far more cost effective and sustainable.

Whilst the BBC and SKY have been rightfully applauded for their breaking down the 4th wall approach to F1 broadcasting, in a cost conscious environment is now the time to consider a change? If ITV, a commercial entity, are to take on the FTA UK rights, rather than developing a new team to support the coverage, could they simply take on the SKY coverage, using the same broadcasting and or commentary team and content? The ITV coverage could be positioned by SKY as a promotional tool for the premium ‘ALL LIVE’ coverage, and sponsorship rights of the ITV coverage sold by SKY. This would give SKY access to a larger audience which would satisfy sponsor expectations. Such a model would allow ITV to broadcast the sport with minimal investment outside of the FOM broadcasting contract, and SKY could spread costs across a second broadcaster.

The audience for sports coverage is more dynamic than ever, in an environment in which broadcasters appear almost bullied by each other into paying astronomical fees for coverage rights is now the time to reconsider how the sport is delivered to the fans?