Sky: Formula 1 was the BBC’s ‘highest quality product’

Broadcasting giant Sky discusses high expectations ahead of the Sky Sports F1 HD channel launch

Stating that it was "surprised" to get the rights to the upcoming F1 season Sky has revealed it considers the benchmark set by the BBC 'very, very high'

With the Sky Sports F1 HD channel set to launch on March 9th, paid TV broadcasting giant Sky has revealed it faces a struggle to meet the expectations set by the BBC’s “highest quality product.”

Heaping praise on the BBC’s recent efforts at presenting the high-octane motorsport that is Formula 1; Sky has revealed it was “surprised” to be offered the rights to this year’s F1 broadcasts.

“When we got the rights it was a surprise to a lot of us,” said Martin Turner, Executive Producer on the upcoming Sky Sports F1 HD Channel. “It is something that we have wanted to be a part of for a long time but there had been this feeling that Formula 1 would never get on paid television.”

“The first thing we have to do is make sure we can live up to expectations,” Turner said of pressures placed on his team. “The benchmark has been set very, very high for Formula 1 broadcasting, everyone accepts that the BBC has done a fantastic job and that it is probably their highest quality product.”

The first time that the full Formula 1 season has been moved away from terrestrial TV in the UK, Turner has suggested Sky’s first foray into Formula 1 coverage will reverse the company’s roll as a benchmark of quality for other broadcasters.

“In programming terms we are used to pushing ourselves and other people are used to using us as a benchmark for coverage but this is one of those times where we have no history within the sport and not a huge history in motorsports.” He added that despite the lack of experience “We are there to do the sport as well as it can be done.”

Despite his seemingly confident claims, Turner revealed that living up to the standards of F1 broadcasting set by the BBC will not be an easy task. “To come in where it has already been done brilliant already and establish our reputation and continue Sky Sports’ reputation, yeah, I’m beginning to worry myself,” he said.

Should coverage of the full F1 season have been allowed to be moved to a paid TV service? Will Sky be able to live up to the standards set by the Beeb? Share your thoughts on the matter via the T3 Twitter and Facebook feeds.