ESPN extends Formula 1 rights deal

By | October 24, 2022

The Walt Disney Company wants auto racing to continue.

The company ESPN has extended its rights deal with the Formula 1 race, with agents for Covenant Sports saying the deal, unrelated to football and basketball, has become incredibly lucrative. The new deal will keep F1 racing on ESPN networks in the United States through the 2025 season.

“Formula 1 and ESPN have been a strong and successful team and we are pleased to extend our relationship,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN’s president of programming and original content, in a statement. “We look forward to serving fans in new and innovative ways over the next three years as we continue to bring the reach and relevance of The Walt Disney Company networks and platforms to Formula 1.”

Under the new deal, at least 16 races will be broadcast on ABC and ESPN each season, more than in the previous five years since F1 returned to the ESPN network in 2018. All contest telecasts on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will continue to be commercial-free presentations, a format that ESPN has proven popular with viewers over the past five seasons in the league.

What’s more, the new deal extends ESPN’s direct-to-consumer rights to how Formula 1 telecasts will be broadcast over the next three years, including on streaming service ESPN. The company said that the details related to distribution will be announced at a later date.

The first Formula 1 race to be broadcast in the United States was in 2011. It was on ABC in 1962, and ESPN aired the races between 1984 and 1997. In the year In 2017, Disney and Formula 1 struck a new rights deal, moving the sport from NBC to ESPN and ABC the following year. . John Malone’s Liberty Media bought Formula 1 that year for $4.4 billion, with one of its goals said to be to find new ways to broadcast the sport to its fans, including broadband.

ESPN says Formula 1 has found renewed interest in its recent run with the Disney-backed sports-media giant. His 2021 season was the most watched on American TV, averaging 949,000 viewers per contest. ESPN said the average viewership “moved into seven figures by 2022.” Through 18 races, live F1 telecasts are averaging 1.2 million viewers on ESPN networks. Earlier this year, ABC’s telecast of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix averaged 2.6 million viewers, the largest audience on record for a live F1 race in the US, according to ESPN.

“The ESPN networks have played a significant role in that growth through the quality coverage they provide. “We are excited to expand our relationship and continue to bring the emotion and excitement of Formula 1 together for our viewers in the U.S.,” Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

ESPN intends to create additional ancillary programs on its platforms to support its F1 coverage over the next three years. Some of the popular studio shows, including “SportsCenter,” will continue station coverage of races in the U.S., including a new event set for Las Vegas in 2023.

Category: tv

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