ESPN commercial-free for largest U.S. cable audience since 2012

You may have seen our comments and tweets via social media regarding the commercial-free season US fans are in store for via ESPN’s coverage and if so, you’re most likely pleased with the announcement.

“We intend to present the F1 races in this way for the balance of the 2018 season,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming & scheduling. “F1 fans are passionate and we listened to a lot of feedback from them — the fans are very informed and the feedback we received was both polite and constructive. It helped us.

“We don’t have a completely finished product but we’re very happy with the way the changes after Australia were received. We’ll continue to keep working to make it better for the fans.”

Mothers Polish will be the presenting sponsor for the season’s coverage. The broadcasts will now be commercial-free and ESPN is also focused on ways to improve its F1 coverage throughout the year.

You may have heard all of that via your surfing the internet but what you may not know is that ESPN’s live telecast of the Bahrain GP on ESPN2 averaged 682,914 viewers, the largest U.S. cable audience for an F1 race since 2012 (SPEED, USGP, 688,329).

That’s very good news for ESPN, F1 and US-based F1 fans. A surge in viewership is a very positive result heading into the new season.

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Nigel Pritchard

Yes it was much better viewing and as a Brit living in the US I have no problem with the sky team, maybe a bit over produced, to many talking heads but for a real F1 fan it’s a jewel. My Kentucky born wife wife, however, just about manages to understand what I say most of the time -having used TOP Gear as a learning aid for the first few years of marriage- but did struggle with some of the SKY F1 language, puns, in-jokes and grid interviews etc – Rory Bremner raised an eyebrow. I do think ABC would… Read more »


Now it’s time for Canada’s TSN to do the same and remove these adverts…


Wow! I think ESPN have just opened pandora’s box, which is a good thing. Can you imagine what will happen when the next broadcaster (or even ESPN next year) try to put the commercials back! Could this be the catalyst to get other sports programming commercial free(?)

Peter Riva

Yeah, well, let’s see if they also feel the pre and post race shows are worth it…


This is awesome thanks ESPN


This is awesome ESPN


Commercial-free, eh? I wonder how much Mother’s Polish paid for that effort.


But hey, it’s got me thinking the name anyway – and days later after one event at that. That’s better than any other advertising campaign that I can think of. Not to mention the positive PR ESPN is getting from it.


I wonder how much this will lessen the demand (and quality) of the OTT service that F1 has announced. I was pleasantly surprised to see Will Buxton on the F1 YouTube channel with all the post race interviews. Coupled with an uninterrupted Sky broadcast of the sessions, I think the ESPN package has surpassed the quality of the NBCSN and SPEED coverage. Todd, you just need to convince Steve Matchette to join the Podcast and start a YouTube channel!


The ESPN end is definitely better. As they said, there is still room for improvement. Exactly why they get a better market share after the “Dumpster Fire”? is the real question. I guess this is why major city highways still suffer from gaping congestion at the scene of rush hour expressway accidents… Can’t say I’m proud of it, but what can we say? Traditionally American… I have to say that for all he hoopla about how great the sky coverage is, I can’t really say yet that I’m especially impressed. Some may be attributed to Liberty, but it seems from… Read more »

The Captain

Ok I gotta admit I did not think ESPN would pull something like this off. Well done for actually listening and finding a solution. I do wonder how much Liberty had to get involved but frankly I don’t really care as long as the race is commercial free.

Hope they manage to do this for the ABC races too.