Formula 1 Sets New Deal With Disney, Enables Race Streaming on ESPN+
Seems like Formula 1 found a winning formula for TV coverage of its races. Formula 1 announced on Saturday, October 22, that it had signed a multi-year extension of its broadcast partnership with The Walt Disney Company, meaning ESPN will continue to air F1 races through the 2025 season.
Additionally, the agreement means that a minimum 16 races will air on ABC and ESPN every Formula 1 season, a higher total than those of the past five seasons. And the races broadcast on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 will continue to air without commercial breaks.
“All race weekends will continue to include live broadcasts of all practice sessions, qualifying (including the F1 Sprint) and races, as well as pre-race and post-race coverage,” Formula 1 says in a press release. “The new agreement includes an increased focus on qualifying, with more sessions airing on ESPN or ESPN2.”
Plus, the partnership extension seems the stage for F1 races to come to streaming, as it “includes expanded direct-to-consumer rights, giving ESPN flexibility to roll out additional ways for fans in the United States to consume F1 content over the next three years, including on ESPN+.”
As Formula 1 notes, the 2021 season ranked as the most-watched F1 season on U.S. television, with an average of 949,000 viewers tuning in for each race. So far in 2022, the average viewership has surpassed 1 million. And this year’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix, shown on ABC in May, attracted an average of 2.6 million viewers.
“We are delighted to announce that our partnership with ESPN will continue,” said Domenicali, Formula 1’s president and CEO. “Formula 1 has seen incredible growth in the United States with sold-out events and record television audiences, and the addition of Las Vegas to the calendar next season, alongside Austin and Miami, will see us host three spectacular races there. The ESPN networks have played a huge part in that growth with their dedicated quality coverage. We are excited to expand our relationship and continue to bring the passion and excitement of Formula 1 to our viewers in the US together.”
Burke Magnus, ESPN’s president of programming and original content, added, “Formula 1 and ESPN have been a strong and successful team, and we’re delighted to extend our relationship. We look forward to serving fans in some new and innovative ways in the next three years as we continue to bring the reach and relevance of the Walt Disney Company networks and platforms to Formula 1.”