Why is Foxtel showing ads during the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne?

Foxtel and in particular Fox Sports is often heavily promoting their “uninterrupted” coverage of Live sport.  We see it with NRL, and with AFL, yet this weekend for their first ever weekend of Formula One coverage we’ve been subjected to some strange split-screen advertising – will this go on all year?

IMG_9580The short answer is no.

Clarifying their position in response to customer enquiries Foxtel said this in their online forum:

FOX SPORTS and Foxtel are displaying ads in a quarter-screen picture-in-picture box as a part of the contractual obligations of the new broadcast deal. This is only for the Australian Grand Prix. The picture-in-picture box was created for these ads, so that racing coverage was not abandoned while the ads are on air. These ads will not feature during race coverage for the remaining 19 Grand Prix events on the 2015 F1 calendar

So – good news, no ads for future Grand Prix events.

But why in Australia?

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 5.26.29 pm

Keen eyed fans will notice the ads are timed exactly at the same time as those on Channel Ten.  Those with even keener eyes will notice they are the very same advertisers.

The reason?  We speculate, but given how late the deal to share the F1 coverage was done between Ten and Fox Sports I think it’s pretty clear.

Ten sales teams had sold F1 advertising packages in the months leading up to the Grand Prix.  Then it turns out a whole bunch of viewers (30% of Australians have Foxtel) might not be seeing those ads.  So I’d suggest the contract to show the season included a clause or three to ensure the pre-sold Australian GP ads were also shown to Fox Sports Viewers.

No Doubt Fox fought hard, that’s why we’ve got a split-screen approach to the ads, so we can at least see all the action!

The Australian Grand Prix is the highest rating F1 GP of the season, so Ten needed to do everything in their power to recover the most revenue.

I reckon Foxtel happily copped the ads on the chin taking into account the next 19 events will be theirs to control.

As a paid up Foxtel Subscriber – the ads annoyed me, yes, but at least I could still see the action.

And unlike some other narks and whingers in the world, I’ll take Foxtel’s word on this one – there will be no ads during future events!

Remember, we’re getting every practice, every qualifying and every race this year in Full HD (and a better quality HD than the Free to Airs have) on Fox Sports – that’s a win for subscribers.




  1. Tim Stanford

    March 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Also for future races; Foxtel users will have access to Sky Sports F1’s interactive services via the red button.

  2. Robbie Atkins

    March 16, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I was very happy to see Martin Brundle’s pre-race Pit Walk on Foxtel. That has always been one of my favorite aspects of his commentary, and I was very happy that Foxtel included it, it has always been a major absence in the Channel Ten coverage. Overall much better than listening to the rubbish that is Greg Rust in a channel ten studio when you could be watching the Pit Walk.

  3. Ken Nichols

    May 15, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    How true Robbie, that has been a major complaint on Australian forums ever since Brundle started doing his pit walk. For years Australia has been given a third rate coverage of F1 and that includes the coverage as given by all FTA channels, I.e 7 9 and then 10. Personally, I am happy that Foxtel now has the TV rites, at least we now see the complete race and without constant interruptions every 8 minutes or so for a 3-4 minute advert break

  4. John Weston

    March 20, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Agree with ChillaxedJohn. The reason I pay for Foxtel is I want to watch TV ad-free. Most of their other programs are re-runs or junk to fill out their channel list. At least let us watch the local sport without commercials. No competition = no service.

  5. Nick Brown

    March 20, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I for one am not at all happy with ads during the F1 event – absolute disgrace; we already pay our fees and why only in Australia? I know, because our b….y labour rates are so high!! Shame on you Foxtel. What a pain…quarter screen excuse the rest of the screen for the racing is too small to see what’s going on….

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