Channel 4 ‘reach agreement’ with Sky Sports to make Lewis Hamilton’s world title showdown with Max Verstappen free-to-air – after similar deals to show England’s World Cup cricket win and Emma Raducanu’s US Open triumph
- Formula One’s finale in Abu Dhabi ‘will be available free-to-air on Channel 4’
- Sky hold exclusive live rights to F1 having paid over £1bn for a five-year deal
- The broadcaster has seen the value of making significant events available to all
- Sky Sports agreed to share live coverage of England’s World Cup cricket win
- Channel 4 agreed deal with Amazon Prime for Emma Raducanu’s US Open final
The Times report that Channel 4, who normally only have rights for a highlights show in the evening after a race, have struck a deal for live coverage in Abu Dhabi.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that the broadcasters were in talks as Channel 4 explored similar deals to the ones previously struck to show England in the Cricket World Cup final and tennis sensation Emma Raducanu’s US Open final against Leylah Fernandez in September.
Lewis Hamilton’s title showdown with Max Verstappen will reportedly be shown free-to-air
Rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will go head-to-head in Abu Dhabi on Sunday
Sky’s coverage of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, won by Hamilton, saw a peak audience of 2.66 million, their highest ever total in the history of their F1 coverage.
Hamilton’s win in Jeddah means the bitter rivals are level on points with one race remaining, creating unprecedented interest as the English driver seeks a victory that would give him a record eighth championship.
Channel 4 have previously had success in delivering major sporting events on free-to-air TV.
Hamilton (back) crashed into the back of Verstappen (front) during Sunday’s Saudi Arabia GP
The broadcaster reached an 11th hour deal with Channel 4 to share live coverage of England’s World Cup cricket win over New Zealand at Lord’s in 2019, while last year made Scotland and the Republic of Ireland’s final European Championship qualifiers available free-to-air in those countries during lockdown.
Channel 4 also secured shared live rights of Raducanu’s stunning US Open final victory last September after approaching Amazon Prime.
It is expected that confirmation of a deal between the broadcasters will arrive later on Thursday.
Channel 4 are anticipated to do their own 30-minute pre-race show before switching to Sky’s commentary and coverage for the race.
Following the conclusion of the race – and the 2021 title race – there is set to be another 30-minute show with Channel 4’s own broadcast team.
Channel 4 struck a deal with Amazon in September to show Emma Raducanu’s US Open final