ESPN announce US F1 coverage with Sky Sports F1

ESPN has announced its plans for the US broadcast…we get Sky Sports F1’s coverage.

Full Press Release:

ESPN, Sky Sports, Join Forces for Formula 1 2018 World Championship

An award-winning team of broadcasters will convey the excitement of the FIA Formula One World Championship to American viewers in 2018 as ESPN, Sky Sports and Formula 1 join forces to bring Sky Sports’ presentation of the championship to the U.S.

Television audiences in the U.S. will be able to enjoy the Sky Sports coverage as ESPN and ABC air all 21 races in the championship under a multi-year linear and digital partnership between ESPN and Formula 1. Announced in October, the agreement brings Formula 1 back to its original U.S. television home as the first Formula 1 race ever aired in the U.S. was on ABC in 1962.

Sky is a leading entertainment company in Europe, serving 22.5 million customers across five countries – UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.

“We are excited to work with the Sky Sports team,” said Kate Jackson, ESPN coordinating producer, motorsports. “Their coverage of F1 is second to none and we look forward to bringing their expertise and authenticity to our audiences.”

Scott Young, Head of Formula 1 at Sky Sports, added “We are delighted to be working with ESPN and ABC, and with this partnership extend Sky Sports F1’s award-winning coverage overseas. Each season we look to find new ways to improve the broadcast and entertain our viewers and this year will be no different.”

Sky Sports’ comprehensive coverage will include commentary and analysis from a lineup of former world champions and current F1 drivers including:

· Martin Brundle – regarded by many as the Voice of Formula 1. A star in F1 and sports cars; became a broadcaster in 1997.
· Damon Hill – Formula 1 World Champion in 1996, son of former World Champion Graham Hill.
· Johnny Herbert – raced 11 years in F1, three-time grand prix winner.
· Paul di Resta – veteran of 58 F1 races, Williams reserve driver last year and competed at the Hungarian GP.
· Anthony Davidson – Mercedes No. 1 Sim (simulator) driver and works with engineers to test the design and performance of the cars.

The Sky team also includes expert presenters Simon Lazenby, Ted Kravitz, David Croft, Rachel Brookes and Natalie Pinkham. The agreement for ESPN to air the Sky Sports coverage was arranged by Formula 1, with the approval of ESPN and Sky.

ESPN and Sky Sports production personnel will work together on the U.S. presentation, with Sky Sports producing special segments that will appear on various ESPN platforms to supplement the television coverage.

Sky’s F1 coverage includes storytelling innovations such as Sky’s exclusive “Sky Pad,” a large, interactive touchscreen TV used by pundits and guests to dissect highlights and information; race control and pit wall views, and some of the most advanced on-screen information available to race fans. Sky was awarded “Best TV Broadcaster for Outstanding Coverage” by F1 in 2012 and 2013.

Beginning with the season-opening Formula 1 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix on March 25, and ending with the Nov. 25 Formula 1 2018 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, all of the races will air live in the United States on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. All in more than 125 hours of Formula 1 programming, including all practice sessions, qualifying and races, will air live and in replay across ESPN platforms in 2018.

More details regarding ESPN’s Formula 1 content plans will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Very much looking forward to Sky Sport’s coverage this season


Surely has to be better than NBCSN


This is great news and what I think we were all hoping for after the initial reports implying complete bare bones coverage with almost no analysis or additional content.

The Captain

It’s gonna be bare bones TV and stuff on the website.

“various ESPN platforms to supplement the television coverage”…
“platforms to supplement the television” I think this translates to ESPN is just gonna put up some SKY stuff on their website to make up for the spartan TV coverage.

Tom Firth

So they are delivering the full build up, or least it sounds like it, by how introduced full Sky team. If it was coming on 5 minutes before and ending straight after, it would just mention Sky commentary you would think? Perhaps ESPN2 until 5 minutes before then switches though or something? The one part that does sound concerning is “ESPN and Sky Sports production personnel will work together on the U.S. presentation, with Sky Sports producing special segments that will appear on various ESPN platforms to supplement the television coverage.” That sounds an awful lot like F1 101 and… Read more »


I see the “working together on the U.S. presentation” to mean ‘how do we get the commercial breaks in so they don’t look too forced’. I highly doubt that ESPN would allow a commercial free broadcast of… well, anything.

The Captain

ESPN has said they will not be showing any pre/post race coverage. (And that is why Liberty changed the race start time by 10 min) My guess is that the reason they introduced the whole SKY team is, well because it sounds good doesn’t it. Big it up! It’s a press release, they’re trying to make it sound as awesome as possible, but they have said no pre/post race.

Tom Firth

True but other media outlets have also cast some doubt on whether ESPN position on that has now changed, since announced it will be entirely outsourced.

The Captain

I wonder where they are getting that rumor from? I hope it’s true, but just three weeks ago Burke Magnus ESPNs VP of programing gave an interview where he was asked about any shoulder programing (pre-race, post race, other) he said it was “tough to say” wether any of that would happen. It’s a lot of ‘we would love to, but remains to be seen’ talk. Which in my experience always translates to ‘sure we would love to, but we’re not’. Granted, he also talked about just focusing on ‘making sure the presentation of the race weekend is up to… Read more »


That would be bad. The pre and ( specially) post show is great !

Matt Guss

OK, I see that’s the thing. Is it a good thing? I will absolutely miss Will Buxton. Can’t believe they didn’t pick him up for the sheer talent and continuity.

Tom Firth

Imagine Buxton might play a role on the F1 run service when it’s finally announced.

Daniel B Johnson

Please please please don’t cram commercials in this….


Of course they will… it will be interesting to see how they work them into Sky’s coverage since there are no breaks during quali and race sessions. Maybe ESPN will try the ‘side-by-side’ thing that the IRL does (or did?).


Wooooohoooooo! Love it!
I have been downloading sky sports coverage of the races for 3+ years!
Dont get me wrong, ill miss matchet & crew telling me that it can rain on 1 half of spa, and be dry on the other half, but wooooohoooo! Excited to see ted, brundle & crofty on us tv!

Heath Newland

espn/sky coverage will probably be quite successful if somebody takes the race to Mercedes on the track if Mercedes is still dominates,
done with in 2 years.

it solves one of Espn main problems though.

Schumie Toronto

FINALLY you guys will get the same coverage that we’ve (luckily) had in Canada for years! BUT don’t get your hopes up wanting less commercials! I often watch the race about 10 mins. behind, so that I can commercial-skip! However this results in practically having to tape the remote to your hand!


true, although commercials are in split screen so its not like you loose all coverage.
As for pre and post, often the feed on TSN (Canada’s version of ESPN) will just start at 06:00 and pick up the Sky broadcast mid sentence. I seem to remember last season getting the full pre and post for both the race and qualifying.

Joseph Simmons

Sounds like good news for us; big fan of the F1 weekly report from Natalie Pinkham and Ted Kravitz’s qualifying and race reports. Should be interesting to view the race with more interactive options. Looking forward to the new season with this coverage. Guess we’ll be ending the yearly drinking game of “well it could dry on one side of the track/raining on this side. And Silverstone has it own micro climate!


I’m not afraid to admit it: I was wrong.


Perfect… I’ve dumped DISH in favor of YoutubeTV ($35 a month) and they get ALL the ABC/ESPN stations. But a Roku $50 plus unit and the TV works as normal with a remote control (also I can see every show, unlimited DVR on cloud) on my phone!


I hope they bring Will Buxton into the fold. Have to admit I will miss Steve Matchett, but at least we won’t be learning F1 basics every single race anymore.

The Captain

Worse kept secrete. But don’t be fooled people, this is gonna suck! First off, yea I like the SKY team, but I also really like having a U.S. centric broadcast. So Americans get ready to probably never hear about HAAS again. Also ESPN has said many times they are NOT showing any pre/post race coverage. So we are gonna loose that (about an 1.5 hours of coverage a race). But that’s just a small niggle compared to the big problem. WHAT ABOUT THE COMMERCIAL BREAKS?! There is NO mention of ESPN showing this commercial free. So that means that unlike… Read more »


This is what I fear also… And the site I previously used to get the uninterrupted Sky broadcast has disappeared, maybe because it had the word ‘formula’ in its url !?!

The Captain

After the initial announcements all my hopes that this would be a decent product for American fans rested on ESPN saying either the broadcast would be commercial free, or SKY saying they would have a dedicated U.S. commenting team (to deal with the commercial breaks). Neither of those things happened in this announcement.

And my streaming sites have all been infested with cyrpto mining scripts.

sunny stivala

Good luck to our US F1 follower friends from over this side of the pound on their newly acquired ESPN/SKY deal, at least to those lucky enough that can afford to pay to watch/follow. The people at SKY, the team, claim to be “second to none”, and they are right over that, at least over this side of the pond, that is since they started having no competition due to their previous competition having been killed by the powers that be when things were changed to pay TV. When their competition were still available before being killed, these same people… Read more »


I think the biggest issue is the “more than 125 hours of Formula 1 programming, including all practice sessions, qualifying and races.” If you think about it there are 4hr of practice, one hour of qualifying per race that alone is 105 hr of coverage. If you and in the races it looks like we won’t get anything but that. So we miss most of what really makes the Sky coverage great its depth.


THIS!!! This is the best news ever! I wish Mr. Matchette was part of that, which would be a dreamteam for sure. I was ready to shift to paying for server access somewhere for decent coverage, because it took all these years for NBCF1 just to get up to speed, and for ESPN to start all over again, it would be painful to watch. Liberty is showing savvy positioning, a proven media commodity and full-time/developed F1 dedicated channel makes alllll the sense in the world. This is the awesome.


I already stream Sky F1, and I can definitely say that this is going to be a good thing for ESPN and the US audience.


I look forward to Martin’s keen insights being interrupted by a Diet Coke commercial, “because I can”.


Sky Sports has phenomenal Formula 1 coverage, and the on air team is excellent. But this is going to be awful. Sky runs their commentary for a subscription service, and they have no ad breaks whatsoever. That conflicts with the advertising model of American television. Typically, any us television schedule will include four 2 minute add breaks every hour. Quite often, the breaks at the top and bottom of the hour are longer than 2 minutes, in some cases as long as 5 minutes at the top of the hour. In addition networks try to sell additional ad breaks of… Read more »


I think you’ve summed it up quite well. I wouldn’t mind the side by side, IF, the race audio was available (or at the very least, closed captioning). It would be no good for the commentary to be discussing strategy while I’m looking at a miniature race video and hearing about the drug addiction network and how they can help me.

The Captain

Which is one of the big problems, no advertiser will pay to run a commercial if the viewers are not forced to hear the audio too. Our ad revenue based system is just breaks down when covering sports that do not take regular breaks in the action.

I personally blame the NFL for this since they actually gave the networks the power to stop playing the game to run commercials decades ago. It’s made the networks so complacent and lazy they can barely handle covering hockey anymore because while there is breaks the network doesn’t call them.


The coverage is great.
The commentary would be awesome if it wasn’t for the crawling up Hamilton’s @ss every two seconds.

sunny stivala

You are actually talking about his number one fan-club.