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Channel 4 extends F1 rights deal with Sky

Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas during the 2019 Italian Grand Prix (by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Channel 4 will continue to be the free-to-air home of Formula One in the UK after agreeing a multi-year extension to its deal with the motor-racing championship’s rights-holder, pay-television broadcaster Sky.

The deal announced today (Tuesday) with the free-to-air broadcaster forms part of a new, broader, strategic partnership between the pair spanning content, technology and innovation.

Sky and Channel 4 currently both show Formula One in the UK, however, from 2019, Sky became the championship’s primary rights-holder after signing a six-year deal until 2024. In September 2018, Sky and Channel 4 agreed a deal for the latter to show live coverage of the British Grand Prix in 2019, along with highlights from all races this season.

That agreement has now been extended over a multi-year term. As part of this agreement, Channel 4 will use Sky’s AdSmart technology for the first time to deliver fully-targeted, addressable ads across its portfolio of linear channels to both Sky and Virgin Media households.

The strategic tie-up builds on increasing collaboration between Sky and Channel 4 which, most recently, saw the two broadcasters share rights to the final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, enabling the entire nation to watch England win the tournament on home soil.

Channel 4 attracted an average audience of 1.8 million viewers (and a peak of 2.5 million) for this year’s British Grand Prix. The ratings were hit by competing coverage of the Cricket World Cup final and the BBC’s live coverage of the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. Sky also broadcast live coverage of the Silverstone race.

Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, said: “This landmark new partnership with Sky is a fantastic example of how broadcasters can work together to extend the reach of our content and innovate for the benefit of both viewers and advertisers.

“I’m particularly thrilled that we are extending our collaboration with Sky on Formula One, which secures highlights of all races and live coverage of the British Grand Prix on free-to-air television.”