TVP have expressed their delight at signing a contract to broadcast live Formula 1. However the bizarre deal forbids the public broadcaster from showing the first 45 minutes of every race.
Last week Polish state broadcaster TVP bullishly promoted the fact that they had signed a deal to broadcast every F1 race live, including the season opener in Melbourne.
The deal has nonetheless been branded as pointless by motorsport fans as it only allows the second half of each race to be shown. Approximately one third of the reactions to TVP’s Facebook post publicising the deal are ‘laughs’. Things get worse in the comments section, which is full of jokes and jibes.
TVP have been desperate to land an F1 deal due to the return of Polish driver Robert Kubica. The 34-year-old, who suffered horrific injuries in a rally crash back in 2011, has secured a remarkable return to Williams partly thanks to sponsorship from state-owned petrol company Orlen.
It is thought that as much as 10 million euros of public cash is being used to fund Kubica’s seat at Williams, who are by far the worst team in the field.
Of all the drivers who finished the race, Kubica finished dead last and had a torrid weekend. Many pundits have predicted that the Williams team will be the laughing stock of the F1 grid for at least a few months.
Presumably in order to maximise the exposure from Orlen’s sponsorship of Williams, TVP bosses have been willing to spend even more public cash to get the F1 rights.
However with pay-tv firm Eleven Sports already owning the exclusive rights to broadcast F1 in Poland, TVP have been forced into making a compromise.
As a result, Poland’s state broadcaster will not show any qualifying sessions, nor the first 45 minutes of every race. TVP have stated that Eleven Sports would not allow anything more substantial, which is not a surprise given the amount Eleven invested in the rights.
Some other terrestrial channels in Europe have gone for similar cost-cutting measures due to the cost of F1 rights. For example, in recent years Channel 4 in the UK decided to show only half of the F1 calendar live – a solution that arguably makes more sense than showing the last half of every race.