There were some recent discussion amongst F1 fans in the US about a possible return to NBC Sports for the world’s premier racing series but according to F1.com, those discussions were just that, discussion.
It seems that F1 is happy with its relationship with ESPN and the growth they’ve experienced on the platform. So much so that they have inked an extension until 2022. F1 said:
F1 Press Statement
- Deal will see all F1 races continue to air live on ESPN, ESPN2 & ABC
- F1 has seen 19% viewing increases since ESPN’s return in 2018
- ESPN Deportes exclusive Spanish – language F1 race coverage from 2020
- ESPN will air the races commercial – free
Formula 1® is pleased to announce that its successful partnership with broadcaster ESPN in the USA will continue until 2022 season included. This comes off the back of double-digit television viewership growth in the United States over the past two seasons since coverage returned to ESPN in 2018.
Through 18 races this season, Formula 1 is averaging 671,000 viewers on ESPN networks, an increase of 19 percent over the average of 561,000 at this point last year on ESPN networks and up 24 percent from the average of 542,000 on NBC networks in 2017. All but three of the 18 races this season have seen year-over-year viewership increases on ESPN networks. In addition, the demographic of persons aged 18-34 has grown 81 percent from 2018 and is up 87 percent from 2017.
The new deal will see all F1 races continue to air live on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC and all practice sessions, qualifying and races will air live and in replay across ESPN platforms, including on-demand replays on the ESPN App. ESPN also will continue to air the races commercial-free and will again partner with Sky Sports and Formula 1 to bring Sky Sports’ award-winning presentation of Formula 1 racing to American viewers. The FIA Formula 2 Championship™ and the FIA Formula 3 Championship™, as well as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup series, will also continue to be broadcast across the network.
As an additional element of the new deal, ESPN Deportes will serve as the exclusive Spanishlanguage home for all Formula 1 races in the U.S. starting in 2020. Spanish-language coverage of F1 will be made available to fans on ESPN Deportes television network and streaming on the ESPN App.
When it began in 2018, the relationship marked the return of Formula 1 to its original U.S. television home – the first race ever aired in the country was on ABC in 1962. F1 races also aired on ESPN from 1984-1997.
In addition to the telecasts, ESPN’s coverage of Formula 1 also includes the dedicated ESPN.com Formula 1 website, which reports on the championship year-round.
Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1, said:
“Our partnership with ESPN has delivered a 19 percent increase in viewership across the US and we are delighted to extend our partnership through to 2022. The U.S is one of our key focuses for growth and ESPN know and understand the US Sports audience like no one else. The combination of their dedicated coverage and Formula 1’s amazing racing spectacle is a perfect partnership for us to build on our recent success with US audiences.”
Burke Magnus, ESPN executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling
“When we brought Formula 1 back to ESPN two years ago, we had faith that Formula 1 fans in the United States would support the coverage. That faith has been rewarded many times over, and we greatly appreciate how fans have responded in record numbers. We’re also delighted to add Spanish-language rights to this new deal. This provides us with a unique opportunity to serve Hispanic Formula 1 fans across ESPN platforms in English and Spanish. We look forward to continuing the relationship with Formula 1 and working together to build the sport in America.”