Oct.10 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Britain’s highly controversial new split television rights deal appears in doubt following a ruling last week of the European Court of Justice.

The Telegraph reports that the court showed a green light to the use of foreign digital TV decoders within the United Kingdom, meaning viewers might be able to avoid paying for Sky’s subscription coverage.

“We’ll wait and see what happens,” said Bernie Ecclestone, suggesting that he might in reaction allow pubs to show grands prix free of charge.

“As far as we’re concerned the most important thing is to get the largest number of viewers possible to watch F1. We’ll adapt,” added the F1 chief executive.

Ecclestone said he doubts British people will want to watch coverage with foreign-language commentary, and cast doubt on some viewers’ plans to use foreign decoders in conjunction with British ‘5 Live’ radio.

“That’s if 5 Live still have the rights,” he said.

“We could stop that. Ultimately I think people want something they can see and listen to live with the commentary in sync.”

  • K Terry

    If Sky UK has as few viewers as Sky Germany, (a fair assumption), then the cumulative loss to the sponsors in brand awareness will be £3.4 million per race.

    The BBC brought in Sky to stop Channel 4 showing F1 'free-to-air', and if Ecclestone really believes what he says, “As far as we’re concerned the most important thing is to get the largest number of viewers possible to watch F1."
    Then the Sky deal is the worst thing to happen to F1 broadcasting ever, because Sky will not, and can not deliver 6 million viewers.