ESPN Signs New 3-Year Rights Deal for F1 Races

ESPN reached a new three-year agreement to continue carry Formula 1 auto races on ESPN and ABC.

The deal also makes ESPN Deportes the exclusive Spanish-language outlet for F1 races in the U.S. starting in 2020.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

F1 returned to ESPN in 2018 and have seen double-digit ratings increases.

“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,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “That faith has been rewarded many times over, and we greatly appreciate how fans have responded in record numbers.

Through 18 races this season, Formula 1 is averaging 671,000 viewers on ESPN networks, an increase of 19%t over the average of 561,000 at this point last year on ESPN networks. It’s up 24% from 542,000 races averaged on NBCU networks in 2017.

“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,” said Sean Bratches, managing director, commercial partnerships at Formula 1.

“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,” said Bratches, a former ESPN exec.

Under the new deal, F1 races will air live on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC and all practice sessions and qualifying runs will be available and on demand across ESPN platforms including the ESPN app.

Coverage of F1 also includes the dedicated Formula 1 website, which reports on the sport year-round.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.