Italy set to lose free-to-air F1 TV coverage

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Italy set to lose free-to-air F1 TV coverage
Adam Cooper
By: Adam Cooper
Jan 19, 2018, 11:48 AM

Formula 1 is set to all but disappear from mainstream free-to-air TV in Italy in 2018, with only the country's own race at Monza expected to feature live on RAI.

 Mostly red in the grandstands
The Italian Ir Force Aerobatics team, Frecce Tricolri, overfly the grid in their Aermacchi MB-339 PAN aircraft
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India VJM10
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Podium: race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, second place Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, third place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

State broadcaster RAI has been the backbone of live TV coverage in Italy for decades, although it has been diluted by a move to Sky Italia in recent years.

Until last season Italy operated a similar system to the UK, with all the races carried live by Sky Italia and nine live on RAI, together with highlights of the rest.

Recent negotiations over 2018 arrangements led to RAI failing to satisfy Liberty's financial requirements, and no deal was agreed, leaving Sky as the only source of live races this season.

The Italian situation is the opposite of that in France, where live F1 races are returning to free-to-air on TF1, which will be showing the French and Monaco GPs, and two others, plus highlights.

However, that arrangement may yet be replicated in Italy, albeit not on a mainstream channel.

It's understood that Sky is working on a deal to have four live races and highlights of the rest on its free-to-air digital subsidiary TV8, which already carries MotoGP events and UEFA Europa League matches.

Liberty continues to conclude TV deals on region-by-region basis, having recently confirmed the continuation of free-to-air in Germany on RTL, plus extended pay deals with Movistar in Spain and Fox in Latin America.

A key factor in any negotiations has been Liberty's plan to introduce F1's own OTT live streaming service, as many ongoing contracts give such rights to the current broadcasters.

Additional reporting by Franco Nugnes

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper
Article type Breaking news