How do you want to watch Formula 1?

With the intended full acquisition of CVC Capital’s interest in F1 and majority stake by Liberty Media, I was contemplating the media organization’s approach to F1 and what could be an interesting change.

If you consider the change in content delivery over the last several years from music to movies and now TV, I reckon Liberty could be the right group to usher in serious change to Formula 1. The reality is that its business model relies on race hosting fees, sponsorship and broadcast rights, just to name the big three, and the broadcast model is what I am interested in discussing.

If we concede a fact that perhaps Liberty Media (LM) would be keen to lower ticket prices, that would have a knock-on effect for what they could charge promoters for a race. If we consider rattling cages and bringing more direct sponsors to the sport, that would increase the revenue. But what about broadcast rights? The legacy broadcast deals may not be the revenue stream they have been in the past if LM doesn’t stay agile with delivery methods.

There are several broadcast rights packages already in existence and these are spread out over time. Each renewal is a chance to negotiate a new contract or seek a new organization willing to pay the price you ask. What if Liberty had a more comprehensive broadcast package in mind?

Even the NFL sells broadcast rights to multiple stations so could LM sell some races to NBC and others to Fox Sports? Could or would broadcasters feel the sport has the weight to bifurcate its broadcast package or would they call for exclusive season coverage? The trouble with a master broadcast program produced by LM and then sold for re-broadcast is that there is a language barrier to work around so that may not be an alternative.

This brings us mobile devices and content on demand. With cable companies and satellite companies all experiencing a drop in subscribers, there’s no doubt that cord-cutting is a viable lifestyle for many Americans. As I’ve argued before, though, are there enough folks who would buy a on-demand F1 content package for their mobile devices that would replace a complete broadcast package with NBC or other networks?

In the past, Mr. E has been keen to charge broadcasters more for a package that would allow them to also deliver their content on demand via mobile devices rather than create an F1 package like WRC or MotoGP has done. Having a mobile package doesn’t seem to impact traditional broadcasters from still paying for MotoGP coverage although it is now on BeIn Sports in the US and that’s only included in the highest package on ATT U-Verse, which I don’t have. So has tis had a negative impact on viewers for MotoGP? My guess is that it has in the US but I could be completely wrong.

I’m just spit-balling here. I am not suggesting I have all the answers but I am offering a few talking points to start our conversation. What way would you most like to consume F1’s broadcast? On a network and DVR it, on free-to-air transmission and DVR it? A F1 broadcast package you can buy and stream on any device? Or is there something else you’d like to see? Let us know how you’d like to watch F1 in the future. The more expensive my TV package gets, the more I am keen to simply have an F1 package to buy and stream on demand if I’m honest with you. Back in the early days of satellite, we were putting up C and Ku-band dishes (5-foot-wide) and buying programming ala carte was the name of the game. I have to admit, I loved those days when I could just buy the channels I wanted and not deal with $120 per month fees for a bundled package.

In the long run, if the music and movie industry have all had to change or die, TV will have to as well. The old models aren’t working and people want choice and ala carte on-demand. Perhaps LM knows this better than anyone but I wonder if they will embrace that change and use F1 as a new way of sport entertainment delivery? Why not, it is the pinnacle of motorsport.

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Streaming please!

I work on one screen and watch on another. Please please please!

Paul KieferJr

1. I don’t have anything mobile. I’m not giving up my landline and having a mobile device is a lot like having two phones in terms of cost.
2. Uncle Sam says “don’t use government property for personal reasons”. Ergo, I don’t.
That leaves me with either free-to-air TV or my computer at home. I have to watch my pennies carefully. Being poor sucks. :(


The quick and dirty: streaming, commercial-free during the race itself, with knowledgeable commentators, and make the whole thing available on-demand for a reasonable time period for those of us who don’t want to get up at 4am to watch live. Why do I think it’s possible? I’m pretty sure I’ve harped on it a few times, but the streaming via the WEC app & website is fantastic value for the money. I prepaid $39.08 in April and in return I get 9 races/72 hours of live, uninterrupted race coverage for the year, 8 races/48 hours of it with Radio Le… Read more »


I think that a free to air highlights package is needed for each country, to attract new fans. As a highlights package this cannot be live, but should be broadcasts on the same day as the race.
On top of that a more comprehensive package could be made available. Whether this is via satellite or cable pay per view, or streaming online is technology dependent. Not everywhere has a fast enough broadband connection to support live streaming and it should be possible for the fans to be able to watch the event live.

Nick Sharratt

I currently watch using the TV, 2 iPads my phone – the TV shows the main feed and commentary, one iPad shows the Sky TV multi-camera view feeds so I can select which driver to be following in car or the main feed but delayed due to streaming to act as a personal instant replay, the other iPad uses the F1 app to show the timings (vital to be following what is happening sector by sector when the race isn’t happening on the same bit of track (most races are decided when cars are running in clear air making up… Read more »

Jack Flash (Australia)

I can’t say I am unhappy with what I have now. I know I am very fortunate, and a likely minority on that. ps: I still would like online and streaming options mind you… but here is my fortunate F1 fan circumstances. I have a Pay-TV provider here in Australia called FOXTEL. Cable/Satellite. I have Sat. I have had a Standard FOXTEL package for years, including standard squillions of Entertainment Channels like Showtime, FX, A&E, TV Classics, UKTV, etc. On top of this I have added the Fox Sports package (for extra) which covers ESPN, MLB, MBA, EPL, UAFA, NFL,… Read more »

Jack Flash (Australia)

Ommisted to say FOXTEL Sports pack has Formula E as well…. and that All “F1 Race Live” action advert free, as is all “Live” sports across the pack.

For Aust Free-to-Air Context: Half of the Races are on Free-to-Air TV here in Australia at the moment I think, but the selection of races is very ODD, the Advertising interuptions infuriating ill-timed and long, and the voice-over commentary interuptions are annoying when the FOM race coverage feed is actually is being shown.

Steve Wyant

Doesn’t really matter as long as it’s not all pay-per-view.

João Jorge

this year broadcast rights were bought in Portugal by Eurosport PT – Eurosport Extra (BTW: Eurosport is part of the Discovery/Liberty Media Group). I thought it would be free. Instead they now charge 5 € a month for the channel, and have access to all the F1 weekend sessions and races and can have on-demand access. All in all, not to bad (as in 5 € a month to watch every single second of the F1 season in HD is not a bad deal) but given that the channel was free to air – in the first two races the… Read more »

John The Race Fan

I think I’ve got it pretty good, for an American anyway. I have a cable subscription package that includes NBCSN (as well as the other NBC channels for when the race gets pushed to CNBC or something), so I watch the race on TV, either on the large on the in the living room or in the bedroom as I enjoy my coffee and the company of Mrs. Race Fan. I also sprung US$27 or thereabouts for the F1 Mobile App so I can have access to timing and scoring during sessions. The fact that I can sync the TV… Read more »


I’m in the USA. Streaming on demand with commentary sounds great as long as it is in many languages for the rest of the world. Other information along with the video would be nice if it would sync with streaming, but I don’t know how to get all those those bits to align. Maybe the wonks already can do that. Anyway, I absolutely would be willing to pay for this. Maybe Amazon? see If they added on demand historical races for extra $$$, I bet they could give Manor almost as much prize money as they give Ferrari. Talk… Read more »

Negative Camber

Great information folks, it’s interesting to see how you are currently getting the service and what you would like to see. It’s terrific to see what folks are doing globally with regards to how they consume the content. Excellent comments, folks.

charlie white

How do I want it? Off NBCSN for starters. With that rant out of the way, F1 fans in USA are so small numerically that streaming may be a viable option along with paid cable television. Bear in mind that Liberty Media owns some cable channels not broadcast television stations so free-to-air is not an option. But it seems the company has its interests in so many cable/content properties that it could expand the sport over to new USA fans but the sport itself must do that, too and it(F1) falls woefully short. For me, my biggest complaint is the… Read more »

Fred Talmadge

Well right now without broadband or cable I’m watching it on over the air Spanish TV, Una Mas I think it’s called. Then I come here to find out what I missed.

Fred Talmadge

I just wanted to add that if I could get a twitter feed then I would have a better idea what is going on. Ex: I follow Houston Astros games on twitter, because I don’t have pay TV. I know none of these ideas make any money for F1, but still just because I’m cheap is not a reason to disdain me.

Guy Fawkes

My rental apartment includes DirecTV with most of the sports channels including NBCSN. I’m also more than willing to get up in the middle of the night to watch the races live, so I do. I would love to see all the F1 races, practice and qualifying move over to something like Hulu or Amazon, with access to the races for a decent amount of time after they occur. I’d be ecstatic to have access to not only the F1 programming but also coverage of GP2/3. Even though I know there are ways to get previous seasons online (and I… Read more »

Degan Ellis

Currently forced to pay $50/mth for pay tv over here in Australia. Admittedly, the coverage is Sky, meaning i get all sessions and all races, but the catch up service they offer is beyond terrible. Would happily pay, Netflix Styles, for a truly on demand experience.
I’m hoping some changes to packages on paytv here will move more towards that, but I have a feeling I might be disappointed!


OMG…just exactly what I am dealing with here. I ‘switched’ from ATTuverse because cost kept rising to DirectTV (both owned by the death star) because NBCSN came in a lower priced packaged, which is what we want. NOW, i just found out why the hell i’m not getting motoGP, because NOW its on BeinSports which is a higher package too, just like before. So…I’m back to where I was. I hate this. I would pay for a F1 package/MotoGP/Indycar. Why can’t there be a ala-cart system? I do need a DVR replay-option, because with work I can’t watch things real-time… Read more »

Max Johnson

Web subscription like MotoGP and watch on my 4K monitor.


Interesting to hear what the drivers think, ala Skyf1.. notice though that the only 2 drivers looking somewhat dejected with their car in the background shots were Sauber? Not sure that Nasr being first meant that Todd or Paul gets a point?

Trans Batwoman ;)

I currently stream and think that the sky sports coverage is brilliant, albeit Hamilton sycophants, but still top marks to the crew, especially Martin Brundle.

Glad to finally be rid of Eddie Jordan on the BBC, can’t stand that self obsessed putz.


I watch on NBCSN (I’m in the states) but record almost all of the programming for watching later in the day. I do have Netflix and Amazon Prime and access to Hulu, etc. and would pay an up-sale fee to get a full F1 season with all practices, qualifying and race with no or very very limited commercial content (maybe at head and tail of the programming or with the occasional on screen scroll or bug popup). For a season of I would pay up to $199 for the coverage, maybe more. That’s less than $10 per race (including practice… Read more »

Tadhg O'Donovan

In Canada and watch the sky sports feed via TSN which is good bar the adverts.. Verging on almost too much coverage.

Can’t see why F1 can’t sell the download of the show or just the race say 6 hours after live broadcast.. for when the dvr craps out or you didn’t set it… Missed more than one great race because of that one (buttons win in Canada from the back of the grid) and there’s no way currently to catch up.


I am personally willing to PAY for an annual subscription to F1 so I can watch it “on demand” or live on my TV or my laptop. As it is right now, the ONLY reason I have a TV package (in Canada) is to get F1. So, I already pay about $840 per year to watch F1; the rest of my “tv” viewing is through streaming services.


Please give us a per service that is internet based no matter what country you live in. Charge a premium I really don’t mind but give us everything, testing etc press conferences everything that has to do with Formula 1 we want.