Italy loses almost all free F1 TV coverage as RAI deal slashed

Formula 1's mainstream free-to-air television broadcasting in Italy will be slashed in 2018, with Monza the only race expected to feature live on RAI

Italy loses almost all free F1 TV coverage as RAI deal slashed

Italy's national public broadcasting company has been the backbone of its live TV coverage for decades, although has been diluted by a move to Sky Italia in recent years.

Until last season Italy operated a similar system to the UK, with all the races carried live by Sky and RAI showing nine rounds live and highlights of the rest.

RAI failed to satisfy Liberty's financial requirements during recent negotiations over 2018 arrangements and no deal was agreed, leaving Sky as the only source of live races this season.

The Italian situation is the opposite of that in France, where live F1 races are returning to free-to-air on TF1, which will be showing the French and Monaco GPs and two others, plus highlights.

That arrangement may yet be replicated in Italy, albeit not on a mainstream channel.

It is understood that Sky is working on a deal to have four live races and highlights of the rest on its free-to-air digital subsidiary TV8, which already broadcasts MotoGP rounds and UEFA Europa League football matches.

Liberty continues to conclude TV deals on region-by-region basis, having recently confirmed the continuation of free-to-air in Germany on RTL, plus extended pay deals with Movistar in Spain and Fox in Latin America.

A key factor in any negotiations has been Liberty's plan to introduce F1's own live streaming service, as many ongoing contracts give such rights to the current broadcasters.

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