Formula 1 owners Liberty are considering pushing back the start time of the vast majority of races in 2018 – but the news has not been well received on the PlanetF1 forum.
Liberty are mulling over changing the start time of European races to 3.10pm local time in a bid to improve TV viewing figures, yet some readers are not convinced it will have the desired effect.
It’s an attempt to improve television viewing in the US, this has nothing to do with F1.
If it “works”, then F1 will become even sillier than it already is. If it doesn’t, F1 will be up for sale in a few years time. But who will want it, after a number of fans have gone on to other Sunday interests?
If it ain’t broke…
It wouldn’t bother me personally, being in the UK. Having said that, I am slightly annoyed that Liberty Media seem intent on trying to mend things that aren’t broken.
I live in the Central time zone in the US, and have been getting up at 6:30am to watch/record the European races starting at 7am for decades. I don’t mind this schedule at all, and don’t think that Liberty Media should change it, if the goal is a wider US TV audience.
There are four time zones in the US, so shifting race start times one hour later will not make it more convenient for all time zones… Someone will always have to set the alarm for an early wake up if they want to watch the race live.
Loyal fans on the west coast (4:30am get up) will simply “suit themselves” as they always have, and use DVR capabilities that they currently use… moving the start to 6am will not make LaLa Landers happier. Heck, the reputation is that some of them don’t go to bed til 1-2am as it is.
So I don’t get the point. It is what it is in the US, and the existing fan base here will NOT balloon significantly with such piddling. I agree with Underviewer that Liberty is trying to “fix things that aren’t broken”.
“There are four time zones in the US, so shifting race start times one hour later will not make it more convenient for all time zones.”
Actually, for the most part, it will. The example you gave of watching races at 7am central basically means that people on the west coast see that race at 5am and people on the east coast see it at 8am. Everyone in that scenario would benefit from a later start time.
This is probably something that comes from an actuarial model of how to maximize their TV audience. They have to factor in the pay TV aspect of their European audience.
For the last decade, F1 has tailored all of it’s coverage and race start times to the European audience. During that time, the European audience has done nothing but shrink. They need to explore ways to grow the business and Europe may actually not be the growth market they’re looking for.
It’s a ritual…
Have to agree. I live in Florida and getting up early is part of the ritual of seeing the races, it also leaves the rest of the day open for other activities.
The problem I saw was the ads. They showed more add than the race itself, so I watched it on Mexican TV as they showed no ads during the race. I speak Spanish also so I did not mind the Spanish commentary.
It’s not the time the problem, to me the ridiculous amount of ads is something they should correct. It is so bad that most of the race was shown in picture in picture format.
Give no ads in live showing and I will wake up early or stay late, just give me good quality viewing.
You can join the discussion here or let us know in comments section below whether or not you think the start times should be changed.