Sky facing Formula 1 TV crisis

With only weeks until the 2023 season begins, Sky Germany still do not have a broadcasting partner.

The German side of Formula 1 is struggling, with there currently being no race in the country and Nico Hulkenberg being the only German driver still on the grid.

The German Grand Prix was previously an important part of the race calendar and the likes of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel dominated Formula 1 year after year.

Sky Germany are now reportedly struggling to find a free-to-air partner to shows live F1 races this season, after its previous partnership with RTL ended upon the expiration of their contract.

The pay-TV channel is contractually obliged to share live rights to four Grand Prix over the course of the season as part of their long-term contract with Formula 1, something which they will currently find difficult to fulfil.

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One solution for Sky Germany to fulfil their obligation to show four races free-to-air would be to show it themselves free of charge, possibly via their YouTube channel or online.

While this would be a completely viable option for the broadcasting giants, it does then mean that they would miss out on the income that they would generate from sub-licencing the TV rights to a free-to-air channel such as RTL.

German TV channel ProSiebenSat.1 have reportedly rejected the chance to partner with Sky Germany to cover F1 next season, as have ARD.

RTL’s reasoning for not renewing their contract is the fact that they would rather focus on football and NFL rather than Formula 1, leaving them to explore other avenues other than an F1 partnership with Sky.

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ZDF were reportedly also approached by Sky but quickly turned down the chance to broadcast these four races, believing that the internal combustion engine that is part of Formula 1 does not fit in with its environmental alignment for the future.

This stressful scenario for Sky Germany unfortunately shows how downhill F1 is beginning to go in Germany, but there are high hopes for the future.

German car manufacturer Audi will join the grid in 2026 and if reports are to be believed, they could bring Mick Schumacher back to the grid following his stint as Mercedes’ reserve driver, massively increasing Germany’s presence in the sport once again.