Kirch Signs 100-Year TV Deal
April 24, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
While the reportedly $309 million agreement does not specifically include or mention the manufacturers which threatened to form their own racing series, Kirch officials made a public pledge to keep all races on free TV.
Several carmakers announced their plans to break away from Formula One and create a new racing series if Kirch proceeded with its plans to air races on pay TV. The media giant has since backed off that plan and hopes to strike a deal with the manufacturers.
“This is a further important step by the FIA towards complying with the European Commission's requirement to separate commercial and promotional activities from the sport,” said an FIA spokesperson. “SLEC and the Kirch Group have confirmed that the Championship will continue to be shown on free - to - air television.”
F-1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone attempted to design a plan for the future of the SLEC holding company last year, but then Kirch and EMTV bought a 75 percent share of SLEC, giving Ecclestone just 25 percent.
SLEC previously held the commercial rights through the 2010 season. Formula One broadcasts reach an estimated 500 million homes during its nine-month season.