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ITV secures broadcast rights for Formula 1 until 2010

LONDON – ITV has extended its commitment to Formula 1 in a new five-year deal with racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone, which will keep the sport on ITV until 2010.

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F1 has been exclusive to ITV since 1997 when it poached the motorsport from the BBC. Since then, the series has been a pivotal part of its sports portfolio, which also includes live Uefa Champions League Football, the Rugby World Cup, football's World Cup and European Championship.

From next year, the ITV will also broadcast the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race following a steal from the BBC in February.

The new F1 deal, which begins from the start of the 2006 season, means that the broadcaster will also be able to screen action on ITV2 and the new ITV3, as well as ITV1.

The price tag of the deal is undisclosed, but Ecclestone said: "We are delighted to retain ITV's association with F1. It has been very committed to the sport for the past seven years and in that time has moved televised coverage of F1 forward to a new level."

ITV Sales managing director Graham Duff said that F1 would be valuable to an increasingly broad range of advertisers.

ITV1 covers every F1 Grand Prix live. This year there will be 18, with new races in Bahrain and Shanghai.

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