Sky faces huge threat to its F1 TV rights from an unexpected source

Global streaming rights could shake up the way we watch Formula One forever

F1 Grand Prix - Max Verstappen
(Image credit: Dan Istitene - Formula 1 / Getty Images)

Sky will reportedly face a new rival when the TV rights to show live Formula One races come up for tender again, and it's not from any of the UK's traditional broadcasters.

Apple is said to be considering a mammoth bid for the exclusive global streaming rights to the sport.

Business F1 Magazine (via 9to5Mac) writes that the company could bid around $2 billion per year to add live F1 coverage to its Apple TV service. This would be featured in a similar style to the MLS Season Pass and, if it does go ahead, will likely be offered for a monthly subscription fee.

Considering that this would be restricted to streaming the Grand Prix globally, it might not affect Sky's TV broadcast rights in the UK and Ireland, but it could hamper its coverage through Sky's Now streaming service.

The Sky deal currently runs to 2029, so we doubt there will be any major impact until after that season, however.

Apple might decide to take up exclusive regional rights beforehand, with ESPN's deal with Formula One reportedly set to expire in after 2025. It could then extend the service to other regions as other rights become available.

This would be a major coup for Apple TV, for sure. F1 is an internationally loved sporting event, with millions of fans around the globe.

Apple has also previously been linked with securing exclusive rights to other sporting bodies, including the NBA.

Certainly, its MLS coverage has been very well received outside of the US and in. It even has some aspects that we wish the Premier League would adopt in England – including the broadcast of every match.

T3 spoke with former USA star and host on the MLS Season Pass, Taylor Twellman, about the fact that Premier League coverage was split across multiple channels and broadcasters, and not even universal: "I cannot believe the Premier League fan in England cannot watch every game when I can watch any game I want," he explained. "That is unfathomable to me in this day and age - in 2023."

F1 doesn't have the same issue in the country, with the entire season being shown on Sky's F1 channel (in up to 4K), but the choice might be welcomed by those who don't want to take other Sky services.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.