Virgin's Lowdon says only fans will judge the success of the BBC/Sky deal

Virgin Racing CEO Graeme Lowdon believes it will be the fans who will determine if the BBC/Sky deal will be good for Formula 1 next year

Virgin's Lowdon says only fans will judge the success of the BBC/Sky deal

The BBC announced last month that it would share Formula 1 broadcasting from 2012, in an agreement that means only half the races will be broadcast live and on free-to-air TV next year in Britain.

Fans who wish to watch all races live will have to adopt Sky's pay-to-view model.

Although some of the sport's figures have welcome the deal, Lowdon reckons it will up to the fans to judge it.

"I think we are yet to see quite a lot of the detail and the detail is important," Lowdon told AUTOSPORT. "I read in the Sky report that they are planning a fabulous experience for the fans and you have to welcome that kind of thing.

"But I think they also said that's good news for the fans, and I think, with the greatest respect, that is up to the fans to determine. We wouldn't say whether is great for the fans. We have to wait for the fans to respond on that, and I'm sure they will in this day and age.

"From the point of view of the commercial model there are potential mismatches between a broadcasting that maximises viewers and one that maximises revenue.

"Obviously that kind of thing needs to be addressed, but I'm sure it hasn't escaped those who are in involved. What's really important is to see what the fans think."

Lowdon also suggested that teams like his, with a big dependency on sponsorship revenue, may find it hard to secure new deals if the Formula 1 viewership decreases as a result of the deal.

"We are yet to see what it will actually mean, but the vast majority of our revenue - some 90 per cent of our revenue - comes from sponsors and partners, and they are very interested in ensuring that the fans enjoy the sport and are watching in maximum numbers.

"So it's really quite clear. Other teams don't have that kind of split, but everything develops in Formula 1 and I think it's pretty key to listen to what the fans want to see. We really have to see how it pans out."

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