Ecclestone wants free Sky F1 boxes for all

Tuesday 16th April 2013, 18:41 by TF1T Staff 

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone wants Formula 1 to once again be free-to-air for all viewers in the United Kingdom, but remain on Sky TV.

The sport moved from the BBC to Sky for the 2012 season after the publicly owned corporation ended its exclusive deal early in a bid to reduce costs.

As part of the deal, the BBC shows just nine of the 19 races live, with the remainder shown later the same day in a highlights package.

The move caused uproar amongst fans and has even angered some sponsors due to the fall in viewing figures which, on average, have dropped by 20 per cent on a race-by-race basis.

82-year-old Ecclestone is keen to boost those figures and revealed that he has discussed the idea of distributing free Sky boxes capable of delivering only the SkySports F1 channel for free in the hope viewers would purchase additional channels, providing a boost for both sides.

"I said [to Sky] you can guarantee that when you put a Sky box in the house, although it is only for F1, people are going to say 'why can't I watch the rest' and they will sign up," he told the Express.

"Children will say 'my friends at school watch this so why can't we?' Sky are very good with that kind of idea. It would use F1 to drive their subscriptions."

Whilst such a deal is unlikely, it shows Ecclestone is concerned by the falling figures and may be open to a return to free-to-air broadcasts.

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