Formula One goes pay in Italy with Sky deal

MUMBAI: The days of Formula One races airing on free to air channels in Italy has come to an end with News Corp-owned pay TV broadcaster Sky Italy securing the live telecast rights for all the races starting 2013.

Of the total 20 races, only nine of the races will be shown live free-to-air while the remaining 11 races will have delayed telecast. Public service broadcaster RAI currently holds the broadcast rights.

Sky Italia has bought the rights for all platforms including web, tablet, smartphone and IPTV (Internet TV).

The national broadcaster who would acquire a share of the rights would be agreed between Sky and Formula One, the broadcaster said.

The deal follows in the footsteps of a similar deal that happened in UK where Sky Sports bagged the rights to air F1 races till 2018 while BBC has the rights to show highlights for all the races with the sole exception British Grand Prix, which will be shown live by the pubcaster.

Sky Italia CEO Andrea Zappia said, "We are proud to bring the spectacle of Formula 1 back to the Sky Italia platform, with 11 of the GP races broadcast live on an exclusive basis. This agreement with FOM adds to Sky‘s already outstanding Sports offer, which was further enriched by the recent purchase of the MotoGP TV rights. These investments show how our company is determined to confirm its leading position in the Italian TV market."

"We have worked with Sky Italia in the past and I have no doubts about their production standards. We have a similar agreement in Britain that is working very well," said Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone added.

Sky Italia recently won the broadcast rights to MotoGP from 2014.

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