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From the coming season, the most important motorsport series will no longer be running live on RTL, which once set quota records with Michael Schumacher’s success. The new Formula 1 broadcaster is not yet known, but there are many indications that a payment provider like Sky has prevailed in rights poker.
At the end of the season beginning on July 5, RTL will end after 30 years – according to the TV station, the rights costs are too high. “If there are competitors in the game who are willing to offer double, you have to deal with an exit scenario inevitably,” said RTL sports director Manfred Loppe on Sunday.
RTL managing director Jörg Graf commented: “The competition for TV rights has changed, the market has overheated in some cases and thus left the very ambitious, but economically justifiable framework that we have set ourselves.”
The free TV broadcaster assumes that the races in Germany from next year can only be seen against payment. “Both established and new, national and international players outdo each other in an effort to bring premium sports rights exclusively to pay TV,” says RTL.
The pay-TV broadcaster Sky, which will continue to broadcast in parallel with RTL until the end of the year, is considered an interested party. The German media company, which belongs to the US company Comcast, did not want to comment on Sunday. Sky had dropped out of Formula 1 reporting for 2018 after over 20 years, but returned in 2019.
German fans are now threatened by British conditions. Since 2019, television viewers have only been able to watch Formula 1 live on the island if they have a Sky subscription. The only exception is the UK Grand Prix, which continues to be broadcast on free TV. The races in the UK had previously been shown on free TV for 40 years.
RTL has shown Formula 1 in Germany since 1991 and wrote “a unique chapter in German TV history”, as it is now said at the farewell. Above all, the successful years of record world champion Michael Schumacher were shaped by the RTL team around boxing reporter Kai Ebel and enormous quotas. In the most successful times, more than ten million people regularly sat in front of the television in Formula 1 races.
But even after the hype of the Schumacher years, the values had stabilized at a remarkable quota level. RTL had an average of 4.05 million viewers and a market share of 23.2 percent on average for all 21 Formula 1 broadcasts last year. “The highest-reaching and most emotional, unforgettable moments of the premier class in racing remain forever connected to RTL,” said sports director Loppe.
According to Loppe, RTL wants to “naturally try to present our viewers with attractive sports offers in the future as well. It is clear that economic limits play a role here as well as the changed competitive conditions.”
After the end of the boxing and Formula 1 broadcasts, the broadcaster focuses on “Football as the number 1 sport in TV”. RTL currently shows games of the national team and has recently secured rights for all 282 games in the Europa League and the newly created Europa Conference League.
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