The UK broadcast rights for the Formula One world championship will be shared by the BBC and Sky from next year until 2018. The new deal ends the BBC's exclusive coverage of the sport and means only ten Grands Prix a year will be shown live on free-to-air television.
It will be the first time that the entire Formula One will not be broadcast on free-to-air television in the UK.
While Sky will broadcast the entire season - including every race, qualifying and practice session - live, the BBC will only broadcast half live, with extended highlights of the rest. The BBC's live races will include the British and Monaco Grands Prix, as well as the season finale. The rest of the races for next season have yet to be allocated, although it is likely that races that fall outside the European lunchtime timezone will be live exclusively on Sky Sports.
The agreement supercedes the BBC's existing agreement with Formula One Managament, the sport's commercial rights holder, that saw it take the broadcast rights from rival free-to-air broadcaster ITV from 2009 onwards. That five-year deal, worth an estimated UK£40 million annually, was due to expire at the end of 2013.
The shared broadcast rights agreement comes amidst a sustained effort by the BBC to cut costs, with its sports rights portfolio one of the key areas identified for budget savings.
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The BBC's director of sport Barbara Slater said the broadcaster was "absolutely delighted" at the deal, adding: "With this new deal not only have we delivered significant savings but we have also ensured that through our live and extended highlights coverage all the action continues to be available to license-fee payers." The BBC has retained exclusive radio rights to the sport.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "This is fantastic news for Formula One fans. We will give Formula One the full Sky Sports treatment with a commitment to each race never seen before on UK television."
No immediate financial details were available, but figures are expected to emerge later.
Details of each broadcasters' productions, meanwhile, are not expected for some months, with the deal reportedly only reached in the early hours of the morning.
Reaction from the Formula One teams, who had pushed for Formula One to remain free-to-air in all the key markets, is expected later from Budapest, where the Hungarian Grand Prix takes place this weekend.
Now in its sixth year of publication the Formula One Black Book continues to serve as an invaluable reference guide to those working in the Formula One industry. Published to coincide with the start of the European leg of the Formula One season every year, the Black Book is filled with information and figures, highlighting both the previous and upcoming campaigns. This is accompanied by an all-inclusive contacts directory, noting each and every key player that make and shape the sport and business of Formula One.
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