Formula One has extended its broadcast partnership with Sky Italia until 2020.
The new deal gives the pay-TV broadcaster Italy’s exclusive rights across TV and digital platforms for the next three seasons of the global motorsport series.
The rights package includes coverage of the three free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon and the race on Sunday. All of the action will be shown on Sky Sport F1, which has also added the FIA Formula Two Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup to its offering.
The expanded agreement comes as a result of free-to-air broadcaster RAI’s inability to reach a new deal with Formula One. However, the championship’s new contract with Sky dictates that at least four of this season’s 21 Grands Prix – including the race in Italy – will also be broadcast live and free-to-air on the TV8 channel, while the remaining races will be available on delay.
“We are very happy to have renewed our partnership with Sky Italia for a further three years,” said Ian Holmes, director of media rights for Formula One. “Italy is one of the most important countries in the history of Formula One, where the passion for our sport is part of the DNA of many people, and it is very important to have reached this agreement which will ensure that all the races will be broadcast live.
“Also, it is crucial to have maintained a free-to-air package of rights, which will always include the Italian Grand Prix. Sky Italia has shown a great commitment to the sport and will offer the Italian fans a deeper and broader experience than ever before.”
Matteo Mammi, senior director of sport rights, programming and production at Sky Italia, added: “We are thrilled to have renewed our long-term relationship with Formula One for the following three years, and we are glad that, once again, Formula One has recognised Sky Italia as a key partner for engaging fans and maximising exposure of F1 brand.”
The news comes as the latest in a string of rights agreements recently announced by Formula One, immediately following deals in Spain and Latin America. The new season gets underway with the Australian Grand Prix on 25th March.