In an exciting development for motorsport enthusiasts across the United Kingdom, Sky and Channel 4 have announced an extension of their long-standing partnership. This agreement ensures that Formula 1 fans can continue to enjoy free-to-air coverage of the thrilling racing series until 2026.
Under the new agreement, Channel 4 will showcase the highlights of all Formula 1 qualifying, sprint, and Grand Prix races. Meanwhile, Sky will maintain its exclusive live coverage of all practice laps, qualifying sessions, sprint races, and Grand Prix events over the next three years.
This partnership guarantees that racing fans throughout the UK will have access to live action from the British Grand Prix, including practice sessions and qualifying laps leading up to the main race day. Last year, the combined audience reached an impressive 7.4 million viewers across both Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4.
This extension marks the eighth year of Formula 1 rights sharing between two of Britain’s largest broadcasters, solidifying their commitment to providing widespread access to one of the most popular events on the British sporting calendar.
Furthermore, Sky Sports experienced record-breaking viewership during the previous Formula 1 season, with a remarkable 47% increase in total viewership since securing the exclusive deal in 2019. Notably, Sky Sports F1 has successfully attracted a younger audience, with 28% of viewers aged under 35, up from 20% the previous year.
Expressing her excitement, Channel 4’s Chief Executive, Alex Mahon, stated, “Together with Channel 4 we’ve shared some of the most iconic moments in sporting history and our relationship is as strong as ever. The length and nature of this deal shows Sky’s deep commitment to help increase the reach of Formula 1 and continue to support one of the most exhilarating, and fastest growing sports in the world.”
Stephen van Rooyen, CEO Sky UK & Ireland, emphasised the strength of the partnership, stating, “Together with Channel 4, we’ve shared some of the most iconic moments in sporting history, and our relationship is as strong as ever. The length and nature of this deal show Sky’s deep commitment to help increase the reach of Formula 1 and continue to support one of the most exhilarating and fastest-growing sports in the world.”
Both Sky and Channel 4 are committed to engaging new audiences for all sports, leveraging their digital platforms to achieve extraordinary reach. Channel 4, the UK’s largest free streaming service, has become one of the leading social media brands for young people in the country. With 85% of the UK’s 16-34-year-olds registered with a Channel 4 streaming account, it has generated 3.3 billion global views in 2023 (YTD). Additionally, Channel 4 has launched seven TikTok channels, amassing 465 million global views. Their youth-focused YouTube channel, Channel 4.0, has garnered over 42 million views since its launch in October, with 75% of views coming from 13-24-year-olds.
Sky Sports boasts over 91 million subscribers/followers across its social channels and has accumulated an impressive 1.5 billion YouTube views across all its channels in just seven years. The Sky Sports app attracts more than 3.5 million monthly unique users, while SkySports.com receives over 35 million visitors, catering to sports fans on the go.
The enduring partnership between Sky and Channel 4 has yielded numerous benefits for UK sports fans, enabling them to enjoy free-to-air coverage through the collaborative efforts of both broadcasters. Previous collaborations include live coverage of England’s victories in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2022 and ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019, the thrilling finale of the 2021 Formula 1 season, which saw Max Verstappen dramatically snatch the championship from Lewis Hamilton, and live coverage of the Super League.