UK broadcaster Channel 4 has signed a content partnership with Formula One rights holder Sky Sports that sees the 2019 British Grand Prix shown in full on free-to-air TV.
The first-of-its-kind deal between the two broadcasters encompasses live coverage of the race; highlights of the British GP and the rest of the Formula One calenda; as well as other non-sporting programming such as original Sky production Tin Star heading to C4.
Going the other way, selected Channel 4 and Walter Presents drama series will be released on Sky and its contract-free NOW TV platforms as box set streaming packages.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4 chief executive, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to establish such an exciting and innovative partnership with Sky which will ensure that the British Grand Prix and highlights of the 2019 Formula One Championship remain available on free-to-air television for UK viewers.”
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky UK and Ireland chief executive, added: “[This] partnership is the start of a new era of collaboration between Sky, Channel 4 and, we hope, other British broadcasters.
“Not only will this innovative partnership benefit viewers, watching via Sky or free-to-air, but it will further strengthen the ecosystem of UK broadcasters and British originated content.”
Channel 4 had been set to lose all of its Formula One programming next season as its three-year deal which saw it share live rights with Sky came to an end. Back in 2016 Sky secured exclusive UK rights to the global motorsport series from 2019 until 2024 with the obligation to show only the British Grand Prix free-to-air.
The deal was criticised by commercial director Sean Bratches following Liberty Media's takeover with the new owners seeing free-to-air as key to growing the sport.