Thoughts about Apple and F1

The suggestion last week that Apple may be discussing the acquisition of the Formula One group has led to a lot of interest and a lot of opinion. Traditional technology people argue it would never happen because it’s not the way Apple works. The company buys small clever companies and use the technology under the Apple brand. They don’t need the kind of advertising that F1 provides. So why would they buy it? The answer, it seems, is not to do with advertising, but rather with sales. Apple has built its empire on the iPhone and the iPad. The company has sold 800 million iPhones and, as a result, is now the biggest company in the world. But sales are slowing gradually and competition is increasing and Apple is following the Steve Jobs philosophy and looking for new ideas which reinvent the way we live.

The Apple car is definitely in the pipeline, but probably not until 2020, and there is still much to be done. At the same time, AppleTV, which was launched at the same time as the iPhone, has not enjoyed anything like the same success, with only around 25 million sales. However, the global TV markets are changing now and “over the top” services, delivered by the Internet, have opened up a lot of new possibilities in the TV world. Companies are rushing into this market because the idea of direct-to-consumer a la carte television is much more attractive to the public than expensive bundles of content and premium priced payTV.

PayTV is not really working for F1 because although revenues are creeping up, numbers of viewers are dropping and that is not good for the sport.

Eddy Cue, the Senior Vice President of Apple, says that there are “huge opportunities” to make it easier for customers to consume TV content. Apple does not want to get into the content business, unless it is tied to the company’s products and prefers to focus on what it knows how to do, rather than diversifying into businesses it knows nothing about.

But that does not mean that owning content is a bad thing for Apple, if that content involves little effort and massive payback. CVC Capital Partners knows nothing about F1, but has made a fortune from it. Apple has plenty of money for investment and $8 billion for the Formula One group would not be a huge deal. The sport currently generates $900 million a year for its owners, although most of this now goes to debt repayment because CVC has already taken the money. Switching the sport to AppleTV could generate big revenues. Heineken recently entered F1 believing the sport will bring it 200 million new customers. OK, it’s beer, but if Apple saw similar potential, the impact could be dramatic. AppleTVs cost $200 each, but selling 200 million of them could generate   $40 billion. With such vast numbers, one could imagine Apple being willing to perhaps even consider broadcasting the sport free-to-air, and generating money only from the sale of the devices. To put that into perspective, if only 10 percent of the world’s F1 viewers bought an AppleTV it would generate $8 billion, which would pay for the purchase of the company. Apple would then also be able to generate revenues from the new customers with its other services. The company would also be able to use the connection with the sport/technology of F1 to alert more people to the company’s long-term plans in the automotive world.

None of this is more than speculation, but one can see a solid business case for making such a move.

Having said that, there are still other bidders in the market, notably the consortium led by US real estate developer Steven Ross. I hear too that John Malone of Liberty Media is back in the ring, although much will depend on what CVC and/or its chairman Donald Mackenzie wants to do. He will retire next year and may see a role in F1 as being a good idea, as he seems to have developed a taste for the F1 lifestyle, although few in the sport have taken to him.

Right now, it is unclear whether an Apple-F1 deal is a serious possibility, but it is clear that discussions have been taking place. Logic is often the wrong way to look at F1 because decisions tend to be driven by the enthusiasm of the decision-makers, who then argue for F1 within the companies involved. In this respect, Apple should be watched because Cue is a petrolhead – not to mention a member of the board of Ferrari SpA.

95 thoughts on “Thoughts about Apple and F1

  1. I don’t usually reply, to Joe’s comments, I read them with interest but keep my views to myself.
    For those that say Apple would never give away, just remember what Sony did with the Playstation, they sold millions of the units way under cost just to get blue-ray players out to the consumers, guess what else Sony sells, oh yes, that’s right, movies on blue-ray.
    Think big picture, not just the F1 on Apple TV part of the game.

    1. Good point John,

      Sony are very clever having learnt their lesson during the betamax/vhs war. Today, Sony Corporation is a global giant in technology, entertainment and finance, why don’t they invest in Formula One? It’s a good match.

      Japan has a long and glorious history with Formula One. The West has sadly had it’s day… the future lies East.

    2. Good point John,

      Sony are very clever having learnt their lesson during the Betamax/VHS war.

      Today Sony is a global giant in technology, entertainment and finance;
      why don’t they invest in Formula One?

      Japan has a long glorious history with Formula One.
      The west is sadly in decline, the future lies east…

  2. Id buy an Apple TV tomorrow if they showed F1. I sold out to the devil this season getting Sky f1 so I could watch the Canadian GP live and have kept it but the price I pay is outrageous really, and its not even HD, that’s extra!

    Its a shame its days on the BBC are now long gone but when you see Classic Grand Prix on Sky F1 which are just re-runs of the BBC2 highlights show fronted by Murray Walker , you realise the BBC never fully appreciated what they did have when they had it.

    1. I don’t think you’d be disappointed if you did get Apple TV Anthony. We got it a year ago and it’s excellent. There are some good competitive products from Google, Amazon and Roku. They all have their benefits, Apple is particularly good if you have other Apple products as they all sync nicely. We have a MacPro, iPads and IPhones in our household so we can link them and move content seamlessly between them. I’d be delighted if F1 was on Apple TV and I’d bet they’d really improve the watching experience with things like Virtual Reality viewing, behind the scenes access and online clips and replays. It could be excellent if it happens.

  3. Apple buys F1 and puts it free to air so people buy apple TV devices. Man, those are some spaced out dots to join.

    The reason no one buys Apple TV is no one needs it. People consume content via the internet by plugging the internet into their PlayStation, Xbox or internet ready TV (or Skybox). The idea people would buy another device which is otherwise unnecessary simply to consume F1 makes no sense at all. If F1 is available online, free to air or otherwise, people can consume it already, they don’t need Apple TV.

    Even if Apple were going to go down this route they would surly opt for something which is universally popular. F1 isn’t this. The could buy the premier league or HBO or at the very least something which has mass appeal in the US and China.

    This won’t happen but if it does it will be an excellent day to short AAPL stocks.

    1. “Apple buys F1 and puts it free to air so people buy apple TV devices. Man, those are some spaced out dots to join.”

      I disagree. Amazon has toyed with the idea of giving every prime user a tablet for free is order to push sales and streaming memberships through Prime. It’s not just about pushing Apple TVs, it’s about getting people hooked on the experience so they consume everything through their apple devices.

    2. We cut off from cable/satellite about 18 months ago and have never looked back and use a combination of Apple TVs and Rokus. The key to the mass consumer audience is convenience. Internet ready TVs tend to be limited to substantially fewer channels than the current models of Apple TVs and all the Rokus. Apple has been looking to create the compelling reason to buy Apple TVs for years. The content providers keep playing ‘move the goal’ with them. Apple may have given up and are going different directions, one of which could be to purchase things like F1, possibly other sports or movie studios. Let them create the content as subsidiaries while Apple markets them through their box.

  4. If Apple is considering launching a VR product to compete with Google’s ‘Daydream’ then the F1 tie-up would benefit fans.

    I don’t think the company would rely solely on AppleTV/F1 to stimulate sales – launching a new iPhone bundled with a relatively low-cost VR headset for a general market would probably generate far better revenues.

    1. If you read what I wrote, you will see that I reach no conclusions. I am simply saying that there is talking going on. So to say that I am not adding things up correctly is just plain silly. I am not trying to add anything up

      1. Actually, there was some adding up in the article that was based on some questionable assumptions, namely:

        “Heineken recently entered F1 believing the sport will bring it 200 million new customers. OK, it’s beer, but if Apple saw similar potential, the impact could be dramatic. AppleTVs cost $200 each, but selling 200 million of them could generate $40 billion.”

        Selling beer to 200 million people is not the same as selling a new technology to the same number – the level of commoditization of beer (as well as its overall lower price point) makes the potential addressable customer base far greater. Its a volume sale, whereas AppleTV is still very much a value-based one. It is a case of comparing apples with oranges (pun intended).

        There may indeed be a justifiable business case for Apple however not based on the numbers above which are over-optimistic to say the least.

        1. These were not assumptions. In order to have an assumption, you need a conclusion. This is not an argument saying it will happen, it is a story saying they are talking. It’s really dull to have to constantly explain to readers what they have read, rather than what they think they have read…

          1. Yet another assumption made (without a conclusion) of presuming to know what one’s readership are thinking. Why describe a scenario of Apple making $40 billion of the back of sales to an additional 200 million customers if that’s not a likely outcome? Conjuring up numbers to fit the picture is not a compelling story.

  5. Apple is a company which from time to time, makes odd decisions and acquisitions. Anything after Microsoft and Nokia is going to look good in comparison. It might accelerate Apple’s involvement in UHD video (4K and 8K), which to date has been very slow. They are about the last TV set top box maker not to have the ability to stream 4K from their Apple TV. F1 on a 4K TV with 4K feeds would be spectacular and with high efficiency video compression techniques improving all the time, with H265 and its successors, the bandwidth requirement to transmit 4K is no longer unworkable.

    My fear would be that it might not be found to be a comfortable fit in Apple’s corporate hierarchy and would be passed on down the chain fairly rapidly. We might end up with someone even worse than CVC in charge.

  6. I was talking to someone about this at the weekend, and was told that Apple has a significant problem with the cash reserve it has. Most of it is currently outside the US and is not taxed in the US unless it is brought into the country. There is a suggestion that the US govt is looking to impose a windfall tax on money such as this, therefore Apple has an interest in spending it.

    Buying F1 for a paltry (in Apple terms) $8bn may only cost $6bn in real terms given the tax liability to come. Paying $6bn for something which generates $900m annually looks OK, even better when you consider the fringe benefits of content and marketing.

  7. FWIW ATV4 might have 25m sales but there’s many, many more earlier types out there and obviously these days “how many tv boxes have you sold” doesn’t correlate with “how many people use your products to watch stuff”…

    I always though that if Jobs had ever walked into the MTC he’d whip his wallet out. His personality would have fitted into F1 very well (underhanded compliment).

  8. Joe,

    While I agree that all this is speculation, I really don’t think Apple will want to buy F1 and deal with all the legal issues that would come with it. On top of that, F1 is minuscule in the US market, which means that it would be a very small pivot for apple to sell its tvs to the commercial market in the US.

    They may be able to make money by making it an exclusive in Europe and the UK, but most countries (mine included) would be hard pressed to watch it on Apple TV (Metered Bandwidth & slower connections).

    I think a better option for Apple would be do a Ferrari / Marlboro type deal for Internet streaming / marketing deal with the new owners of F1, wherein they take over all online related activities from F1 and become the sole outlet for Internet. They can then stream the online content live thru Itunes (For Macs, PCs etc) and apple TV. They also wouldn’t have to deal with the egos of F1 people or worry about the production (take a feed from F1 like terrestrial broadcasters).

    As far as the Apple Car is concerned, I would rather see them become a sponsor for McLaren, Mercedes etc and do a tech transfer deal. This gives them bleeding edge technology for their car, which would be much more useful.

    I know the above are speculations, but I do hope Apple does come into F1 in some manner.

  9. I received Apple TV as a gift…use it all the time here in the States to watch F1 races after the fact. Watched the GP2 race from Baku a couple of days later after hearing about all the fuss during the event. Also can watch- or stop watching- the Will Buxton f1 travelogue shows as I wish. A very useful device.

    1. @ Obster ..
      What speed internet connection do you have ? My Apple TV will stream all other content except NBCSN F1 replays, it stalls consistently..
      Thanks…Joe I hope you don’t mind me asking this question ?

  10. According to CNNMoney, Apple holds $181B outside of the US and won’t repatriate due to the 40% tax rate according to Tim Cook. There may very well be a tax angle at work here.

  11. Sorry if I am being thick here but I can see little difference between having to buy equipment to watch F1 on Sky and buying it to watch F1 on Apple.
    Is this Apple tv a set top box? like say NowTV or Roku? Or is it an internet streaming service?

    In 2019 when F1 disappears completely from UK FTA tv I would guess that it will loose at least 50-70% of its UK viewers. Now that has never mattered to Bernie because he has already had his money from Sky and if nobody watches he is no worse off. I would expect the Sky viewing figure to rise a bit but enough to keep F1 is doubtful. Already according to the F1 broadcasting blog, Sky is cutting F1 content and producing less for the F1 channel. If the channel survives at all is dubious, more likely F1 will become just another item on the other Sky Sports channels. But if the deal is done with Sky for the foreseeable future what of Apple tv? Of course this is F1 I should have remembered, contracts are written on flash paper.

  12. Agree with all exept the reason , sale of Apple TV is a once only purchase but exclusive streaming which is available on iTunes to Mac or PC is ongoing even for a small price .
    Add virtual reality option only available on Apple TV with glasses sales at a small profit , makes sense

  13. I for one would welcome Apple’s commercial rights ownership. I TRULY believe they’d ultimately improve the viewer’s experience tremendously. As a Yank, I am stuck with having only the NBC conglomerate for the tv coverage of races. While I enjoy the announcing crew, the viewing experience is, in a word, horrendous!

    The number of commercial breaks NBC takes during a race is sickening. Over the past two years I have tracked the number of laps lost to commercial breaks and on average a viewer misses a full 22% of the race when forced to watch on NBC. It is maddening in a sport where something is happening each lap.

    To put this a tad into perspective, NBC also has the US coverage of the Premier League soccer matches. For their 45-min halves, guess how many commercial breaks are taken? Zero! Instead, sponsors rotate on a bar at screen’s top.

    I believe that with Apple involved, I would no longer miss the equivalent of four races in a 21-race calendar due to profit gobbling.

    1. Bill you can watch F1 free on the web LIVE via streaming. I’ve only found SD versions though. If you wait a few hours you can download the whole race (the Sky version) in HD with no commercials via torrent sites. With a little searching you’d be amazed at what you can find.

        1. Bill, it isn’t illegal as such to watch such “grey market” streams. The folks who *provide* the stream are violating copyright, but that’s not your problem. Stream away! It’s better than the hellish experience you apparently have to suffer with NBC!

      1. Couldn’t agree more Bill…

        FWIW, if you happen to already have an Apple TV (and, I bet but can’t be sure, other streaming devices), the replays on the NBC Sports app seem to have fewer commercial breaks than the televised version.

  14. Joe,

    I agree with the sound reasoning of your argument for the business case on behalf of Apple. However, I don’t think that it will actually happen as you see it and the reason is this: Apple fight very hard to be seen as a ‘descent’ business. I know that we can all find many examples of areas where they could do better but I genuinely get the impression that they try their hardest not to abuse their position of scale and resources. I think that when they take a look at the agreements that exist in F1 (during due diligence and agreements that we’ve never had the chance to examine) I think FOM won’t pass the ‘sniff test’

    Possibly another way would be for Apple to lend another consortium (i.e. the teams) the funds required to buy out CVC at a reduced rate (i.e. sell the whole show to us or we walk at the end of the current agreement) Apple’s ‘interest’ could be a commitment to provide free to air coverage exclusively to the apple TV.

    Only time will tell….

    PS. thanks for the excellent blog.

    1. I am not saying it will happen. I ams imply saying it has been discussed. No-one has denied that.

  15. Having followed Apple as a company for 30 years noting in its past suggest that they would buy any sports product. In the simplest terms, the Apple MO is to buy at a super low price a company that has yet to hit it big but soon will with a unique product, nothing makes sense in Apple buying F1.
    But… there is one flawed notion that might be at work, though I doubt it, buy with overseas cash. Apple is famous for a number of things one of them is the enormous volume of cash they have overseas due to tax avoidance from the US tax man. Could it be Apple has a plan to repatriate that cash in an innovative if highly painful (risky) way? Who knows.

  16. If I can get PPV for F1 and cricket without paying the majority of my sky subscription for football I couldn’t care two hoots about, all to the good.

  17. Oh Joe, I do hope there is some truth in your speculation. I refuse to use Sky as I do not want anything to do with the Murdochs( not that they would notice) and I cannot afford their ridiculous charges anyway. I am a pensioner and have been an F1 fan for more years than I care to mention but it seems my passion will die when Channel 4 stop showing the races. I record them all and watch later, fast forwarding the adverts. Of course Bernie and his mates dont think about the little people like me but, maybe, just maybe, we will end up turning off in our thousands and hurting future profits.

  18. A plague of locusts, hybrid engines to 2020 , rent a millionaire drivers, Tilke circuits , anything, but …………….Please God no; Not Donald Mackenzie any longer in F1. Remember Donald ( not where’s your trooosers) to make a small fortune from motor racing, one must start with a large one.

  19. “None of this is more than speculation”.

    “Right now, it is unclear whether an Apple-F1 deal is a serious possibility”

    Quite. What is clear is who has an interest in spreading these rumours.

          1. Rather than patronize your readers, take it as a compliment that you have a readership with the intellect to scrutinize such whispers and suggestions (even ones endorsed by your good self) almost as thoroughly as you do yourself.

  20. The WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has a very good model that could also work very well for F1. Your typical premium wrestling pay-per-view event will run you around $50 if you get it thru your friendly cable subscriber. However, for a very reasonable $9.99 per month, you can subscribe to the WWE Network and have access to any and all of their PPV events on your TV or any of your mobile devices.
    This has been a very successful model, and when you see they draw in excess of 100,000 fans for Wrestlemania, they are raking in the cash.
    F1 would be wise to take a close look at this way of doing things.
    The weather here in Argentina is not the best for skiing, so Penelope (Wycombe Abbey) and I are catching up on our lounging.

  21. To me, the whole Apple story sounds like another one of those goofy things Bernie manages to get everybody talking about…

  22. I worked at Apple from 2000-2002. It was during those 2 years that Apple introduced the iPod and Apple Store. The pundits laughed at Jobs for being so brave. The 1st Apple store opened in the Tyson’s Mall. Steve gave a closed satellite feed tour of the store to Apple employees. I was working in the Reston< VA office at the time. What I didn't know was Tim Cook was in our small office checking how our marketing person was taking care of things. Tim was pissed what he saw ( i don't blame him) and had the person removed the next day. Now on the internet rumors about Apple and F1 and Apple TV. Apple tried for many years to get the broadcast companies to join them, The success of the iPod and iTunes was directly related to the music industry losing their shirt, mostly by pirated digital content made available to down load. Torrent sites off that today. Apple TV is a project that the industry wants to avoid. However, Tim Cook and his team have found making apps to replace cable works. The content is controlled by the app developers so the Apple TV is a delivery source. Most apps are free, but the networks charge a subscription fee. I've been a MLB.tv subscriber for years. I can watch MLB on any of my devices. That said, F1 needs a strong IT source if it plans on streaming races. Apple can provide the delivery system. That just might be the catch. Time will tell.

  23. I think it would be excellent for both Apple and, F1 the sport, if Apple bought it out from CVC. The synergies are there. Apple wants to build a car…what better way to showcase it then in the pinnacle of motorsport….Apple Safety car anyone?

    F1 would benefit greatly in alternative media as well. Let’s face it…F1 is nearly nonexistent in that area. Apple can put more and better camera angles on the cars and have interactive TV viewing by having the viewer change to what they want to see (worth switching to pay TV there if you ask me!). They can bring the drivers closer to the audience, and the audience closer to the action with social media, instead of them being controlled by handlers all the time. Video games, apps…etc, etc…there is lots to ponder with an Apple and F1 tie-up…many, many positives.

    I won’t even get into the possibility of even perhaps poaching the great F1 talent to engineer for Apple future cars as well. Imagine an Apple Supercar in candy apple red?!?!?! (sorry had to!)

    1. The upcoming Apple Car is going to be transportation appliance, anathema to the car enthusiasts who follow F1.

      There’s no synergy here. If Apple want content for their hardware they’ll buy NBC or similar. And whey would they stink up the Apple brand with all the dodgy characters (Briatore, Mallya, etc) in F1?

  24. Acknowledging that the article and comments are all speculation:

    I would be very concerned if Apple became heavily involved in F1 because they have no background or historic involvement with the sport. They likely would be yet another “owner” that was milking it for money with little regard or understanding of what makes F1 “tick” for it’s fans.

    The Apple TV device is primarily a subscription content device. If it became the sole source for live F1, diehard F1 fans might be willing to plunk down $200 for the Apple TV device + subscription fees, but that approach would be present a very narrow target for attracting new fans. I can’t see how that would do anything but serve to lessen F1 viewership.

    1. Really depends what that subscription fee would be. If I could buy a box and then pay a reasonable subscription fee to watch F1, I’d be ok with that. As it is, I’d have to sign up for a base pay TV package (none of which I want), then a separate sports package (the vast majority of which I don’t want, i.e. pretty much everything that’s not F1), and then if I want it in HD that’s another charge.

      Yes having it exclusively on Apple TV could be a problem in terms of attracting new fans. But then they could just sell the rights for free-to-air broadcasting of half the races or whatever. Throw a bunch of ads in for the full coverage on Apple TV, and they’re basically getting paid to have their product marketed. People can still catch some F1 on FTA, and if they’re interested in seeing more, make the move to Apple TV. As long as the cost is reasonable, it’s not out of the question. The problem at the moment is, if you want to see more you need to sign up with the Murdochs to pay a ridiculous amount every month for a whole bunch of other rubbish you’re not in the slightest bit interested in. Probably partly because no doubt Bernie charges them an enormous amount for the broadcasting rights.

      Also, if Apple took over in F1, I don’t suspect they’d just shift some people over to it from iPhone development or whatever other unrelated area. If they’re looking to spend 8 billion or whatever for F1, I imagine they’ll be also looking at how it’s currently run and what they do and don’t like about that, and (assuming the sale would also see the retirement of Bernie) who they’d need/want to bring in to run things. Apple running F1 is not necessarily the same as CVC running it. For CVC the goal is to make as much as possible directly from the investment and then get out. For Apple, F1 would be there to market and sell their other products. If it wants to sell those products, it’s in Apple’s interests to do a good job with it. Also, Apple have their brand to maintain. If they’re going to tie their brand to something, they’ll want to be sure it’s a positive relationship for them. CVC? I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of them outside of F1-related things. In terms of the general F1-viewing public, CVC couldn’t care less what people think of them.

      Furthermore, we’re not just talking about Apple buying the broadcasting rights, we’re talking about them over the commercial rights. This would be more than just how the sport is broadcast. It could in future mean changes to the enormous race hosting fees, where the races are run, distribution of funds to the teams, etc. Compared to the current arrangement, Apple owning the F1 rights for the purpose of basically selling their products/ecosystem is quite a different thing.

      Put it this way… Apple’s flagship audio software, Logic sells for considerably less than its competitors. Their stripped down basic recording software, Garage Band, is free. Apple’s competitors here are software companies that need to make money from the software they’re selling. But Apple isn’t particularly bothered about selling Logic, it’s interested in selling the Macs that people are running it on.

    2. I agree with your concerns. It’s hard to see such a deal as nothing more than a slicker, modernized PayTV. But it may be the best way forward. In the age of growing numbers of ‘cord-cutters’, the glory days of free broadcast viewership numbers are gone. Apple has a reputation for extracting premium prices for its products. And with a decreasing fan base, that may be the best future F1 can get.

  25. I just hope that before Apple blows this money, they understand just how many unfortunates like me, living in rural France, struggle to stream anything of significant resolution. 2Mb is a really good day here.

    A nice philanthropic gesture would be to ensure that everyone is capable of making use of its products and services, rather than wondering why take-up is somewhat slower than they expected.

    1. Rodger J, you must be on Orange! I have the same problem in France where things will only improve in 2018 when super fast arrives, although a temporary solution is at the moment being sought. In the UK I have no problems at all in the town where I live but even there locally out in the sticks it can drop off significantly. I totally agree, the infrastructure needs to be in place for products to succeed, which is where the Internet falls down.

  26. “AppleTVs cost $200 each, but selling 200 million of them could generate $40 billion.”

    But what is the profit?

    1. For starters, if you’re suggesting that Apple’s margins on their hardware might not amount to much… I think you’d be the first person in history to do so.

      Keep in mind, the idea isn’t necessarily selling just the Apple TV box anyway, it’s selling the Apple ecosystem. Someone who buys an Apple TV box for F1 might later want a tablet, and maybe the iPad can do some fancy rubbish with the ATV that an Android or whatever tablet couldn’t. And then maybe their next phone is an iPhone. And hey, if they already have the TV box, an iPad and an iPhone… well, might as well make the next computer a Mac of some sort too. Not to mention all the apps or other content they might buy along the way, which Apple of course takes a cut from.

      8 billion might be a lot of money, but in comparison to the kind of money Apple brings in, it’s practically loose change. A quick Googling of “Apple profit” returns the news that in the first fiscal quarter of 2016 they managed a profit of US$10.5 billion.

      It’s not like this would be a massive investment in some obscure oddity they’d be hoping would take off. This is a sport with an established worldwide fanbase of many millions. It pays for itself even before they’ve used it as leverage for selling their products. And that’s in its current state, owned by money-hungry investors and run by a guy who was in court for bribery charges until he effectively bribed his way out of it.

    2. The numbers suggested are erroneous. Apple could indeed look to flog more AppleTVs based on such a venture (assuming it comes to fruition), however their business case would not have been based on a sale of 200 million units (and if it was, they need better M&A personnel).

        1. Read my responses properly. I do not reject the core essence of the story. It is the unnecessary (and erroneously misleading) additional conjecture that is simply highlighted.

  27. Mr Cue may indeed be a petrolhead and Ferrari board member, but he didn’t get to his position in business by confusing his hobby passions with profit and market potentials.

    i can’t see how Apple and F1 mix on any levels of business; a future looking technology driven company taking on a fossilized fuel burning entertainment that is sliding into extinction? Would Ford have bought into the horse breeding industry at the dawn of the auto age, in order to enhance his market share of transportation? Yeah, that’s a reach, but I can’t come up with anything of a similar “non-fit”.

    i’m with you Joe, I know it’s speculation, and maybe my limited business acumen prevents me from seeing the synergy of an Apple/F1 deal.

  28. I think it makes a lot of sense. Your numbers are a little off and I’m sure they’d subsidize the cost at least at first but it’s a great illustration of why it could make sense.

  29. its about as far fetched as Amazon buying and re-imagining that other massive british TV series…Top Gear., just to sell their TV boxes
    oh…wait.

  30. I have an apple TV. Got it about a year ago and like most thing Apple it just works. We use it for Netflix, all the local TV digital channels and Youtube. Its brilliant.

    I will not pay Murdoch a cent for Fox sports F1 as he wants Aussie $750 per annuum for the privilege and its not even HD!!! Thats extra.

    But that’s not the point I can afford it but i don’t like his business model. i don’t need him (or his minions) to tell me who i should vote for what i need to be angry about or what channels i should watch…and i don’t want football….

    I miss live F1 races. My relationship with F1 was strong ever since AJ won the title in 1980. Races had been shown live, mostly in the middle of the night and all through the 80’s, the Senna and Prost years, Mansell and Hakkinen even through the bleak Schmacher years and finally through the false hope of Webber….. I watched every race. Now I feel deserted by my old love as i still hunger and she cares little about me…….very sad….

    But back to the point. I would be delighted to pay for a HD stream of live races on Apple TV or any other device for that matter but as i said before, the Apple TV works and its on my TV in my lounge room…………

  31. This is an interesting story, and I believe it is possible. I think Apple could do some great things with F1 to finally take it into the 21st century. One reason this seems like a possibility is in recent years Apple have been drastically changing as a company, and they are slowly moving away from only being known for making devices — either scaling back or making them at all (eventually); instead moving towards services. Fifteen, twenty years ago, who would have thunk IBM and Sony computer divisions would no longer be profitable and would be sold off? There is really no where for Apple device sales to go except down and surely they know this. Their competitors have been creating better and more innovative computers, tablets and phones for years and people are finally starting to take notice — recently Apple have been playing it very safe with device releases and have seemingly given up on innovation (their attempt to copy the Microsoft Surface Pro is a clear sign of this). I also think their logo power has peaked with younger generations, which I think is the main reasoning for such strong sales in the past (not implying they don’t make good devices though). All of this tells me something new is in the pipeline given how much cash they have to play with. It’s certainly shaping up to be an interesting period for both F1 and Apple regardless of whether they merge or not.

  32. Sad I know but I was thinking about this early this morning. My thoughts went back to the film Rollerball.

  33. The only reason I paid Amazon £59 (On offer) for Prime was to get Clarkson, May and Hammond’s new program. If Apple get rights to put F1 on Apple TV for less money than Sky (Spit) I’ll immediately buy an apple TV box and probably have to pay some kind of subscription

  34. Well several years ago I paid $120 Canadian for a”Apple TV” from ” Furure Shop” . Was unable to get it to function thus obtained a full refund. Was reduced to viewing F1 on a betting site , bit like having Vaseline smeared on lens! So back to “Future S” to purchase advertised refurbished / not sealed box “Apple TV”. Priced $100. Can . Same result several hours later zero happening with device! Forums addressing issue admit supplied remote is fiendishly ( sic ) user unfriendly ! I try to keep up to speed with Joe’s & Co’s Magazine , but in the meantime I shall catch the odd race when I am in the UK. I switched from Microsoft to Apple to diminish my exposure to their security issues! But have found that the best use of the “Apple TV” is as Hockey Puck!

  35. Best of luck to anyone who buys FOM. They’d have a bag of worms. A company with several arms dealing with TV, circuits, teams, paddock club, politicians and more. From what I can gather, hardly any contract is the same and practically every department runs in ‘firefighting’ mode, having to keep the people they really with either under control or happy.

    Any American buyer may face problems at home because of the deals with certain governments, especially if that clown Trump gets into the Whitehouse.

    A company like Apple needs a positive public image, as Sony has discovered.

    1. US companies already do business with (2 examples) Azerbaijan and Bahrain (over a billion dollars of exports in 2015). Unless extreme circumstances apply, democratic governments don’t tell their citizens where they can trade.

  36. Joe, I am interested in your point about revenues being up but viewer numbers being down. I hear this a lot about F1, but there are so many counter examples – mostly in soccer (where the money is up, stadiums full and the teams don’t seem to struggle to do sponsorship deals), but here where I live in SA the big three sports (soccer plus rugby and cricket) are all on pay TV now and there’s no indication that they want to revert to free to air and no complaints that they are worse off.

  37. There was comment in main UK Newspapers over the weekend about viewing figures for The Open which has transferred from BBC to Sky. Sky mustered 230000+ viewers on Thursday (when they also broadcast on Sky1, the “free” channel) and 200K+ for the Friday and Saturday when it was only broadcast on the [additional] subscription Sports service. BBC rang up 2M+ views for their highlights programme on each of the same days.

    So the viewers are there, these aren’t figures for “watched the whole programme” and highlights programmes do have certain advantages, but not enough to justify such a gap. There was also the subjective comment that the BBC coverage was better than Sky despite the resource differences as Sky had “Americianised” their broadcast to an extent that regular Open/golf viewers didn’t appreciate.

    FOM seems to be playing a version of Russian Roulette with TV viewers – the rights can be sold for whatever FOM want but if nobody is watching the sport itself is finished.

    1. From FOM’s point of view it is better to have 2000 viewers paying 60 quid each than 100 000 paying a quid each.

  38. This is taking 1 + 1 and getting 37. Check your calculator, because it’s so badly broken I can’t even….

    1. Read the article again. At no point does it say that this will happen. Thus to reach your conclusion is not genius. However, it does not mean it will not happen and so it is worth exploring some ideas – which is all that I have done.

  39. Joe, I agree with you that buying content via acquisition makes a lot of strategic sense for Apple. I just don’t think that F1 would be the target for their first $8 billion content acquisition though (probably not even their second or third $8 billion…). Yes, they have a big war chest, but they would probably want to buy a more diverse content distributor/creator (e.g. Netflix, HBO) and/or a more popular sport.

  40. How plausible is that Apple are just looking to buy content – maybe even exclusive rights to stream the races? FOM have done successful proof of concept HD streams between the circuit and their offices.

  41. What a fascinating coincidence this story follows the one with the title: The importance of silly rumours

  42. Not to be pedantic, but since we’re talking numbers and math here, Apple TVs, at least here in the States, start at $150, not $200. Doesn’t really change the argument, so I guess I am being pedantic after all 😢.

    Either way, I’m currently watching P1 replay on mine at the moment, via the NBC Sports app, and it’s brilliant.

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