A seemingly more anxious Bernie Ecclestone is continuing his stance against News Corp’s apparent interest in a takeover of Formula 1, which could apparently lead to a move to ‘pay-per-view only’ access to race broadcasts if its bid was successful.
The shift to pay-TV viewing could see teams lose significant sponsorship revenue, the 80-year-old warns as one of many themes he is keen to trumpet in his efforts to thwart any takeover of the sport he has operated for close to four decades.
“Murdoch hasn’t got anything really big to drive their TV audiences and Formula 1 would be good for that,” he is quoted as saying in an interview on the official Formula 1 website.
“They have been trying to buy the TV rights from us for a long time, but we won’t because they are not free-to-air television broadcasters. They are a subscription service.
“Very recently they wanted to do something in Germany, in the UK and in Italy, where they are, but we couldn’t do it. Sky is doing an incredible job but if you look at their audience they are nowhere. With these figures it would be almost impossible for teams to find sponsors. That would be suicidal.”
Ecclestone also echoed a curiously-worded press release from the sport’s commercial rights majority holder, CVC Capital Partners, which claimed that they were not interested in selling.
“They are the major shareholders and they do not want to sell. That is 100% for sure,” he added. “Somebody might say that they want to do it, but it doesn’t mean that when somebody wants to buy something the owner wants to sell. And CVC made it very clear that they don’t want to sell.
“If people don’t want to sell, others have to accept that fact. It’s as simple as that.”
[Image via LAT]
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