TF1 move raises concerns about Formula 1 migration to pay TV

Formula 1 coverage in France could move to pay TV, according to local press reports. TF1, which holds the rights, transferred coverage of the interrupted Canadian Grand Prix to pay TV channel Eurosport.

According to Le Figaro newspaper, this may foreshadow a permanent shift as TF1 seeks to migrate coverage of Formula 1, which has been losing viewers on the main commercial channel, to pay TV on a permanent basis. CVC, which commercializes rights to the sport, has a contract with TF1 that requires it to broadcast Grand Prix events but does not specify that coverage should be free-to-air.

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has expressed a strong determination to keep the competition on free-to-air TV to protect sponsorship deals, placing a limit on the annual budget of Forumla 1 teams in order to keep the price of rights low enough to attract free-to-air broadcasters. 

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