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US to get new F1 broadcaster

There will be a changing of the guard in US F1 coverage next season, after the Speed channel confirmed it was being usurped.

F1 coverage in the United States is set to change hands next season, after it was announced that the sport's 17-year relationship with the Fox Sports Media Group and sports channel Speed is to end.

The move has apparently been initiated by F1's commercial bosses, who are now entertaining a better financial bid from a rival station, rumoured by Associated Press to be NBC Sports Group, although no official announcement has been made. Speed has been with F1 since its inception back in 1996, and first featured live coverage of grands prix in 1997. It has subsequently expanded its commitment to the sport by adding live coverage of qualifying and practice sessions to its schedules, with a knowledgeable presenting team of former racer David Hobbs, ex-Benetton mechanic Steve Matchett and erstwhile GP2 media man Will Buxton joining frontman Bob Varsha.

Buxton has already intimated that he will be 'out of a job' after the Brazilian Grand Prix and, while it clearly does not want to lose its hold on F1, Fox Sports is poised to rebrand Speed as a broader national sports network, potentially called Fox Sports 1, which is expected to be the home of its new deal with Major League Baseball.

"It's disappointing to learn that F1 has elected to move forward with a different media partner," Fox Sports Media Group said in a statement, "Speed has been the US voice of F1 since the mid '90s, and it is a passion for many people at the network. Fox Sports Media Group made what we believed to be a fiscally responsible bid based on the sport's current viewership levels, but F1 has elected to go in another direction. We wish them well."

NBC Sports Network currently shares broadcasting rights to the US-based IndyCar Series with ABC, and announced last month that it had struck a deal with NASCAR and off-road ace Robby Gordon to televise his new Stadium Super Trucks initiative.

F1 returns to the USA later this season, with the first USGP since the sport's break with Indianapolis in 2007 taking place at the new Circuit of the Americas in Texas. A second race is included on the 2013 calendar, as Bernie Ecclestone finally sees the realisation of a dream to take F1 to New York City.

Tagged as: speed , usa , 2013 , NBC , fox

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mac - Unregistered

October 13, 2012 5:38 AM

I agree with others that the NBC coverage will not be nearly as good as Speed Channels because NBC will mostly likely dumb it down and simplify it to accommodate it's broader audience. Speed Ch. has been doing it for so long they learned how to give auto racing enthusiasts what they want to see and hear. I very much doubt NBC will do this and to cover the winning high bid they need to induce even more commercials meaning less coverage. I will also bet there wont' be live coverage of the qualifying sessions. Doing this will kill the integrity of the race on tv. Speed Ch. could do better (it's actually pretty good) but I bet for sure the NBC coverage will not be nearly as good. NBC most probably won't show it live like they did with the Olympics. Seeing it live was one of the reasons that made F1 special. So much for that. I will very much miss Speed Channel in the mean time but if history serves right, it will be back on speed ch. or similar in about 5yrs time when NBC viewers get b

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