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Hamilton hopes fans stay 'loyal' in pay TV era

Hamilton hopes fans stay 'loyal' in pay TV era
© Reuters
Lewis Hamilton hopes Formula 1 can ride the wave of its "transition" from free television coverage.

Lewis Hamilton hopes Formula 1 can ride the wave of its "transition" from free television coverage.

Across the spectrum of the sport's broadcast markets, the trend towards pay-TV coverage is growing by the month and year.

"We used to have 8 million fans on TF1 in France," said F1 legend Alain Prost.

"Now there are less than 750,000 on digital television on Canal Plus. But that's how it works when you move everything to pay TV."

According to Speed Week, seven time world champion Hamilton is also concerned.

"There seems to be a tendency that you have to pay for what you want to see on television," said the Mercedes driver. "You have to pay for Netflix too.

"I see this as a kind of transition. The world has changed in that way. I just hope people stay loyal to the sport and at least follow it on social media.

"I think Formula 1 is doing a good job to make the sport more accessible to the fans, but there has to be more if they're going to be persuaded to pay for F1 on television," he added.

Former F1 driver David Coulthard has an even stronger position on the matter of pay TV.

"Formula 1 belongs on free television," he said. "But I understand the economics of it.

"I'm happy that Channel 4 has found a solution with Sky so that at least the highlights of the other races are shown," the British broadcaster added.

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Spanish Grand Prix on May 9, 2021
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events

· Two-time Olympic gold medallist and comeback queen Helen Glover teams up with Polly Swan in the heats of the women's pair (12.30am-4.30am)

· Two-time Rio gold medallist Max Whitlock leads Team GB's charge in the men's qualification, while Rhys McClenaghan flies the flag for Ireland (2am-2pm)

· The first gold medal of the Games will be awarded in the Air Rifle women's final (from 2.45am)

· The men's road race should be a wide-open thriller, with Team GB among those going for gold (3am-10am)

· Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are among the names in action on the opening day of tennis (from 3am)

· Adam Peaty and many others get their Olympics campaigns underway on the opening day of swimming (11am-12.50pm)

· Team GB's women try to make it two wins from two against hosts Japan (11.30am)
· Netherlands and Brazil, who scored 15 goals between them on matchday one, face off (12pm)
· World champions USA look to bounce back from a shock opening defeat against New Zealand (12.30pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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