F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and pay-TV network Sky have "discussed distributing free set-top boxes," which are required for picking up the sport, in order to increase viewing figures, according to Sylt & Reid of the London Express.
F1's U.K. viewing figures fell by 3.8 million to 28.6 million in '12 "despite Sky launching a dedicated F1 channel." Last year, "Sky snatched the exclusive rights to F1 away from the BBC." The move "caused uproar from fans" due to the Â£318 ($487.88) minimum annual cost of the Sky package showing F1.
In response to criticism from fans, Ecclestone said, “I said [to Sky] you can guarantee that when you put a Sky box in the house, although it is only for F1, people are going to say ‘why can’t I watch the rest’ and they will sign up." Sky declined to comment. Express