Investigation into the legality of the Recent BBC/SKY F1 deal

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Created September 26, 2011 by F1_Fan


Below is a draft of a letter we want to submit to the OFT who can then refer the matter to the Competitions Commission  unfortunately the OFT will not take up the complaint from the public even though they were formed to protect the Consumers of the UK?

Therefore we ask that you sign this petition so we can then ask Consumer Focus to refer this to the OFT on our behalf.

If you are not aware of what this is about here is a general outline,

On the 29th July the BBC announced it has signed a deal with SKY TV to share the rights to Formula One for 7 years with SKY showing all Races live and the BBC only allowed to show 10 (50%) of the races Live this in effect means that to watch the sport in its entirety fans would have to subscribe to Sky + Sky Sports equating to a bill of £600 p.a this is on top of your licence fee that you have to pay regardless.

We feel that the deal is illegal and was made purely to prevent the other TV companies from acquiring the sport.


 Important !!

Once you have Signed the petition please check your email

(or Junk folder) to confirm your Vote !! Your vote will not count if you do not verify it via the email link.


Firstly can I ask that you treat this report as a Anti Competition report and not a Broadcasting report as this does not fall within the remit of OFCOM.

Below I list a number of points that I think break both
Chapter I prohibition prohibits agreements between businesses that prevent restrict or distort competition to an appreciable extent in the UK.
Chapter II prohibition prohibits the abuse of a dominant position. Holding a dominant position is not unlawful but it is unlawful to abuse that position. The prohibition therefore relates to the conduct of the company not its position in a market.
of the Competition Act 1998

As you may be aware on 29/07/2011 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced a 7 year deal to share control of the Broadcasting rights for Formula One within the UK with British Sky Broadcasting (BskyB), This new contract I believe breaks the above Chapters for the following reason.

Chapter I
I believe the BBC have Restricted/Distorted competition as they have entered into the deal during a period of dominance.

The BBC had exclusive rights under contract with the Formula One Management (FOM) to F1 until the end of the 2013 season and whilst this contract was in place the FOM could not consider any bids from any other companies who had shown interest in bidding for the rights.
On the 29/07/2011 the BBC entered into a deal with BskyB and extended the period for a further 5 years effectively preventing other interested parties from making a legitimate bid once the existing contract came to an end.
Bernie Ecclestone (head of the FOM) was qouted as saying

‘Ecclestone added with the BBC’s original contract not due to expire until the end of 2013, it effectively scuppered any moves to go with Channel 4 or even return to ITV.
also when Asked ‘ if the BBC ’held all the cards’ over the new deal, Ecclestone added: “Yes, absolutely. If they [Channel 4] had said they wanted to sign a contract today to start Broadcasting for £45m a year, then we would have probably done it.

“But that’s the problem. We couldn’t deal with them, even if they had wanted to.”
“I spoke with ITV and came up with the same problem as Channel 4 had. We had a contract with the BBC which didn’t run out until 2014.“We couldn’t very well do a deal with other people for them to start doing something next year, because we had that contract.

As you can see from the above quotes ITV & Channel 4 were interested in bidding for the contract but were unable too until the existing BBC contract had ended
The BBC had also stated that they themselves may have had end the original contract at the end of this season (2011, two years early) due to finances.
So in effect the BBC have extended a contract by 5 years whilst they were in a dominant position although they were in no position to make a new bid once the contract ended thus preventing other interested parties from making a legitimate bid.

Chapter II
I feel that the BBC while in a dominant position (being in control of the contract and rights) abused this dominance by inviting BskyB to an extended deal preventing other interested parties from making a legitimate bid once the contract in place and ended.


If you would like to discuss this deal please visit and/or

 Important !!

Once you have Signed the petition please check your email (or Junk folder) to confirm your Vote. Your vote will not count if you do not verify it via the email link.

There are currently 576 signatures for this petition:

  1. Em Collins UNITED KINGDOM

    No to Sky

  2. margie kennedy UNITED KINGDOM

    Keep f1 on the bbc

  3. Lindsay Yeoman UNITED KINGDOM

    keep F1 with the bbc! They’ve done an amazing job

  4. David Painter

    I have just cancelled my SKY subscription as a small way of showing my disgust

  5. Paul Melton UNITED KINGDOM

    the only tv i watch so what am i paying my licence fee for

  6. Paul Melton UNITED KINGDOM

    cant afford sky for a sport i love and already pay for on the bbc

  7. marianne gallagher UNITED KINGDOM

    will not pay say no to sky

  8. simon

    we want f1 on BBC not sky as i have pay my TV licence , and is not paying nothing else .

  9. marianne gallagher UNITED KINGDOM

    no to sky keep f1 free and on the bbc

  10. James Gopr UNITED KINGDOM

    For the first time in history F1 has had good coverage when it turned to the BBC. The BBC are putting loads of money into the olympics so why not F1. Why should we pay to watch a sport that is on once every two weeks!!

  11. natasha prevett UNITED KINGDOM

    its the only sport i watch and cannot justify the price of sky for it.plz plz plz dont loose it from our tv.

  12. Jonathan Casswell UNITED KINGDOM

    Sky are taking over everything, Cricket and now F1, when will it stop. I pay my TV licence already and now they want me to pay more. I wont do it. Down with Sky, you cant beat the BBC.

  13. Tracy Marshall

    Keep F1 on the BBC!! no to sky

  14. Margie Kennedy UNITED KINGDOM

    No to Sky.

  15. Pauline Jones UNITED KINGDOM


  16. Chris Hunt UNITED KINGDOM

    No to Sky. No to Murdoch. F1 for ALL license fee payers. Justice for US, the loyal fans.

  17. Will Spacerington UNITED KINGDOM

    Come On BBC lets say no to Sky!

  18. Charlie Somers UNITED KINGDOM

    Shove off Murdoch you’ve taken our cricket but you won’t take our F1

  19. gordon mcneillie UNITED KINGDOM

    agree with everything said above, and urge thOFT to take this on urgently

  20. Hugo Flock UNITED KINGDOM

    NO TO SKY!!!!!!!

  21. Jonny Masson UNITED KINGDOM

    A truly disgraceful move by the BBC to stifle the competition and create a situation which benefits neither the F1 fans nor the licence-fee payer generally.

  22. Edwin Wells UNITED KINGDOM

    I don’t want to see F1 on Sky EVER

  23. Henry Hervy UNITED KINGDOM

    No To Sky

  24. Sammy Judd UNITED KINGDOM

    What are the BBC playing at!
    Say no to F1 on sky

  25. Morwenna Bradshaw UNITED KINGDOM

    This is a total injustice to licence paying F1 fans.

    This cannot happen. It will ruin the sport’s popularity.

  26. Adrian Pipe UNITED KINGDOM

    I completely support keeping F1 free to air as Ecclestone has always promised us, and in the clear interests of the sport.

  27. Zef Hussain UNITED KINGDOM

    F1 on a free to air channel! The BBC do a great job!

  28. Andy Hodgson UNITED KINGDOM

    I could not afford the annual sky sports subscription if I wanted to

  29. Sean McCourt UNITED KINGDOM

    Keep it fair keep it free

  30. stephen huxley SPAIN

    formula 1 should be on normal t.v, not everyone can afford sky

  31. Tom Housden UNITED KINGDOM

    This is from a post from the petition on Facebook:

    just had the conversation with the lawyer and she agrees we have a strong argument both under UK competition law and EU law.
    She as advised us to take a few different approaches via consumer groups (Which, consumer focus ect) to have them file a super complaint on our behalf to the Ofcom.
    She as also suggested we contact the ICO commission office highlighting the lack of transparency the BBC are showing regarding the details of the deal with SKY and the serious issues gaining access to the agreement by using the Journalism clause.

    Also the BC have in place a Fair Trading Policy (Competitive Impact Policy) that should also address the impact selling off the sport to SKY against the UK Licence fee payers interests.

    She also advised we take the angle of Internet & mobile access limitations if the SKY exclusive races are also blocked from the BBC streaming and mobiles on these weekends as the EU feel strongly about this.

    Also MP are an important aspect and we need to get more MP’s to request an investigation into the legality of this deal.

    But most importantly she believes this deal breaks both UK and EU competition law :)

    and advises us NOT TO GIVE UP !!!!! as we have a legitimate argument

  32. Di Mitchem

    Do not want or can afford Sky, F1 should and has to be FTA….to enable all its fans to enjoy.

  33. mark tidman UNITED KINGDOM

    I like hundreds of thousands of f1 fans can not afford sky tv and do not want to line Murdoch’s corrupt pockets anyway. also this deal was not necessary and i believe the BBC set the deal up to prevent a rival free to air station from obtaining the rights. myself and millions of British people that love F1 have been adversely affected by this deal and feel it should be investigated as the deal is not in the interests of the public

  34. Sharon Costello UNITED KINGDOM

    No to Sky

  35. James Gender UNITED KINGDOM

    No to Sky

  36. Steve Steveson UNITED KINGDOM

    No to Sky

  37. Bob Jenkins UNITED KINGDOM

    No to sky

  38. Joanna Aird UNITED KINGDOM

    Please keep F1 “free” to view. I already pay a license fee to BBC and have no choice about that – I simply cannot afford a Sky Sports subscription (or any other Sky subscription) as well – nobody is more short of funds that your average viewer believe me!

  39. Diane Mitchem

    Did not receive a confirmation e-mail so trying again

  40. Stephen Smith UNITED KINGDOM

    Not a good deal for anyone.

  41. barry chapman UNITED KINGDOM

    Keep F1 free to everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Paula Hepburn UNITED KINGDOM

    BBC why did you buy F1 from ITV only to sell to SKY? Keep F1 on terrestrial television!

  43. Steve Sharp UNITED KINGDOM

    Keep F1 on the BBC

  44. christopher bradshaw UNITED KINGDOM

    its a shame this is happening , think about the fans what cant afford sky

  45. Graham Cook UNITED KINGDOM

    There are now only 2 programmes that my household really watch so why pay for a licence and subscribe.
    The BBC are becoming more and more complacent and dropping programmes that make the BBC popular. If I could opt out of the licence rip off I would. Another nail in the BBC coffin

  46. Kunal Shah INDIA

    Guys, I am from India and hence don’t have much of a say over the BBC-Sky deal, which of course will change the way F1 is viewed by you guys and several other fans. However, I have a different view to this – why bother about BBC or SKY, can one just not broadcast races on YouTube and save everyone the trouble? Read my thoughts here – – Cheers!

  47. Will Wren UNITED KINGDOM

    BBC gives deal sweetener to Bernie according to the Daily Mail:

  48. Lynne Bromwich

    F1 is deeply embedded in British culture. We have British teams, drivers, engineers and executives spread right across the whole sport.
    I have been watching for a long time suffering the Michael Schumacher years and the ITV years. Now it’s back where it belongs and this year the presentation has been better than ever, great team in all directions. It breaks my heart to be robbed of this.


    no to sky

  50. Graham Edwards UNITED KINGDOM

    save f1!

  51. Daniel Winter UNITED KINGDOM

    On BBC/SKY deal:

    I’m even more annoyed, firstly because it seems that the BBC won’t really save any money. They are still paying for a production team to be sent out to every race; still having the forum… The thing is, this wasn’t about money. F1 and Tennis are the only two sports that hit targets for cost per hour and cost per viewer per hour as well as viewer numbers. Rugby didn’t, yet they have extended that deal! Oh and the BBC hasn’t faced ‘cuts’, just a freeze in the amount they can charge through the license fee. Disgusting really!

    Oh, and as a result of the new deal, I bet that F1 cost per hour per viewer shoots through the roof and ruins the chance of the BBC retaining it in the future!

    I hope one day we get answers… Who made the deal? How much of a ‘saving’ is really involved?

  52. Adam Warburton UNITED KINGDOM


  53. Magnus Baird UNITED KINGDOM

    No to sky (With a small s)

  54. lisa turner UNITED KINGDOM

    no f1 no licence fee !

  55. lisa turner UNITED KINGDOM

    no F1 im not paying licence fee

  56. Christine Millar UNITED KINGDOM

    As a pensioner on the state pension I find difficulty in affording a tv licence Sky fees are quite out of the question. The BBC seems to have a Marie Anntionette approach of let them eat cake to ordinary people. They have no view of reality of living on the bread line.

  57. Alex Millar UNITED KINGDOM

    The Sky mole in the BBC must be feeling very smug about his apparent success. Let’s hope that the legal anti competitive approach is successful as we have to put paid to these Sky business practises. Out of principal I will not buy a News International/Sky product. We are at last seeing what the Australian has been up to with the phone hacking exposure. The senior Australian did not even have the decency to honour his home country when wanting to buy into the American media market, he just changed his spots. We are just now seeing the lengths to which they will go.

  58. mather UNITED KINGDOM

    the F1 should not go to ppv as its a national sport result I will watch my last F1 in Brazil and not bother next year at all after 30+ years

  59. james bernardi UNITED KINGDOM

    l dont normally visit bloggs etc and dont know where l have been for the last few months but the announcement on sunday regarding highlights of next years coverage and the deal with sky was a complete shock to me. l have always loved motor sport for as long as l can remember l dont have a massive income so paying to watch f1 on sky is out of the question as for the fans its another time their loyalty has been ignored again in favour of a fast buck its a pity a few drivers couldnt get behind this surely millions of fans voices cant be ignored again.

  60. anna weightman

    No to sky

  61. Sophia Brannan UNITED KINGDOM

    Paying for F1 would mean less new people interested in the sport. I only became a bigger fan this year, and if I’d had to pay it would definitely not have happened. Bring F1 to everyone!

  62. Alexander Corbett UNITED KINGDOM

    How can the BBC/SKY close the door on other company’s?

  63. Andrew Hipwell UNITED KINGDOM


  64. Christopher Mercer UNITED KINGDOM

    BBC scum

  65. k davies UNITED KINGDOM

    I love FI but i refuse to be forced to pay £600 pa to Skybsb to see it.

  66. Randy Mash UNITED KINGDOM

    FI is going the same way as the darts, down the pan and only available to those who can afford a sky subscription, and that’s not me.


    This is a disgrace, no-one wants to pay to watch F1, tax payers money goes towards elements in the sport, say no to sky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  68. james marshall

    i hope f1 fans dont give up the fight , the bbc stink the f1 deal stinks, ill never pay sky ,

  69. margaret mccabe UNITED KINGDOM

    Sky is doing to all sport what King did to boxing and all sport bodies let it happen. I will not watch any of it. Ecclestone is too greedy.

  70. Dave Carn

    I agree entirely, and will not pay Murdoch for anything

  71. Mike Brown UNITED KINGDOM

    F1 is one of the few programmes I watch on the BBC, as for the rest of it, “QUALITY PROGRAMMING” , don’t make me laugh. If the BBC don’t want to give the viewers what they want to watch, then why don’t they become a pay per view channel and stop mugging the British public to line their own pockets (the money certainly isn’t going into decent programmes.

  72. Andrew Foulger UNITED KINGDOM

    F1 was the only program on the bbc I watched on a regular basis. They can keep the rest.

  73. Colin Burroughs UNITED KINGDOM

    Utter disaster!

  74. Liam Dorcey UNITED KINGDOM

    PLEASE investigate this corrupt deal – we had 2 years of FTA F1, already budgeted for – we pay the BBC license, they are answerable to us, and so far have completely avoided giving sound reasons for this move.

  75. Geraldine Dorcey UNITED KINGDOM

    Something is not right and needs to be investigated.

  76. james oneill


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