With F1’s popularity and viewership booming in the United States, ESPN and the global motorsports series have announced a new Saturday broadcast deal through 2025.
ESPN has been broadcasting F1 in the US since 2018, and the new deal will retain commercial-free, live telecasts for all races on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC, all owned by the Walt Disney Co. ESPN Deportes will continue to be the Spanish home of F1 in the US
The deal comes ahead of Sunday’s US Grand Prix, which will be televised on ABC. Terms were not disclosed.
“To continue to build and grow and support the tremendous momentum coming out of Formula 1 in the United States for several more seasons is truly exciting for us,” ESPN President Burke Magnus said. “We will not give up. We’re just going to keep pushing because it’s spectacular content and spectacular competition.”
Under the new agreement, at least 16 races will be on ABC or ESPN, and all race weekends will include live coverage of practice and qualifying.
Magnus said ESPN was pleased with its partnership with Sky Sports, which allows ESPN to use the UK-based broadcaster’s race and training productions.
“The next step for us is to build around their great race production,” Magnus said. “More consistent presence on the site, more highlights in the Sports Center, more editorial coverage.
“Sky’s production of the race is world class, I’m not sure we can replicate this ourselves without a lot of time, effort and expense.”
The network said the new deal also extends its direct-to-consumer rights, with details of more content on digital platforms to be announced later.
ESPN was the US rights holder during F1’s boom time and the series will expand its calendar to a record 24 races in 2023. This includes three in the US in Austin, Miami and Las Vegas. Only the Texas race was on the calendar when ESPN took over the broadcast rights four years ago.
Last season averaged 949,000 viewers, the network said. That increased to more than 1.2 million tune-ins on average over the first 18 races this season.
“They (ESPN) were really the first to believe in us here in America,” said Stefano Domenicali, F1 president and CEO. “Now it seems easy because we have seen the boom in the market. But we won’t take it for granted. What ESPN has done for American fans is truly special and is the reason we are renewing this partnership for the next three years.”
The inaugural Miami Grand Prix on ABC generated an average audience of 2.6 million, the largest US audience recorded for a live F1 race.
Domenicali said continued US audience growth remains critical for F1.
“They (ESPN) know how to connect with the American public,” Domenicali said. “They know what the American public wants to hear.”
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