ITV linked with shock new F1 deal

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Speculation that Formula 1 coverage in Britain could switch from the BBC to ITV increased on Thursday, when respected media publication Broadcast suggested a deal was close to being done.

The future of the sport on the BBC has been subject to doubt for several weeks since it emerged last month that the broadcaster was trying to renegotiate its deal.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said that the BBC was eager to cut its budget – amid widespread cost cuts – but faced problems because it still had three years to run on its contract.

Ecclestone told The Daily Telegraph in November: "We had a chat with them today. What they would like to do is not spend as much money. They want to know if they can schedule it different ways or pay a bit less now.

"They don't have a lot of choice because they've got a contract with us. They're there for another three years."

Industry publication Broadcast has suggested, however, that a deal is close to being struck for the BBC to end its contract early – with ITV set to step in to replace it.

It adds that ITV will likely cover the sport in a similar way to the BBC – covering some races live while having delayed highlights from all of them.

Any switch from the BBC to ITV would be unlikely to affect Sky's exclusive deal to broadcast each race live.

The BBC's latest run of F1 coverage began in 2009. It took on the deal from ITV which, at the time, wanted to cut costs as it could not justify hosting live F1 and Champions League football.

The Champions League has been lured away by BT Sport now, though, leaving ITV eager to grab a high profile sport like F1 to boost its audience figures.

The BBC said its policy was not to comment on rights negotiations, when approached for a reaction by Motorsport.com.

ITV also declined to comment. 

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Article type Breaking news
Tags bbc