Rupert Murdoch's Sky network snags partial F1 broadcast rights in UK

A shock announcement in the commercial world of Formula One racing has British fans up in arms. The deal involves the Sky network and the BBC sharing the rights to F1 broadcasts in the UK.

Sky is part of News Corp, whose owner Rupert Murdoch, as you may recall, lead a consortium a few months ago that expressed interest in acquiring the commercial rights to the sport. That was before Murdoch found himself in hot water when his News of the World tabloid was shut down and investigated over allegations of phone tapping, and even then, speculation was that the bid for the broader rights was a cover for an attempt to acquire just the broadcasting rights.

The deal will reportedly see the BBC, which currently holds the rights to broadcast grands prix in the UK, scaling back its coverage to only half the races in the season. Meanwhile Sky Sports will air all the races, including the practice sessions and qualifying sessions, on its paid service.

In addition to the outraged fans who've become accustomed to catching all the races live and for free on the BBC, F1 team principals have expressed some concern over the deal, which could violate certain terms of the Concorde Agreement by which the sport's commercial aspect is governed.

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