After initially dismissing as "rubbish" rumors that a consortium led by News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch was preparing a bid to take over the commercial broadcast rights of Formula 1, the sport's longtime commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has now said that such a move would be blocked by the European Union's European Commission, if attempted.
The UK's Sky News service reported last month that News Corp. had been in preliminary talks over the purchase of F1, with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim also linked to the deal by forming a consortium with News Corp. The network said that News Corp. could "decide not to attempt to acquire a direct stake in F1 but instead bid for the broadcast rights." However, Ecclestone said any move to shift F1 from broadcast television to pay services such as News Corp's Sky – the dominant satellite TV system in Europe – would violate the terms of F1's agreement with the Commission.
“I'm sure the European Commission wouldn't let it go through, because our agreement with them was to keep F1 on free-to-air television,” Ecclestone told Britain's The Independent newspaper.