Formula 1 has announced a new ‘multi-year’ partnership with ESPN to broadcast races on its television and digital platforms from 2018.

Since Liberty Media’s arrival as new F1 owners a number of shake-ups have been triggered regarding TV deals in multiple countries but with the American market seen as a key area of growth for the sport, a new approach has been taken offering both TV and digital streaming of the sport with ESPN.

ESPN, which is part of the ABC network, has confirmed the deal will commence at the start of next season in March and produce over 125 hours of F1 programming across practice sessions, qualifying and all 21 races shown live.

“ESPN has had a long commitment to motorsports, and Formula 1 is a crown jewel in the sport,” Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming & Scheduling said. “There are passionate Formula 1 fans everywhere and we look forward to bring the pageantry, spectacle and excitement to our viewers.”

“This multi-year linear and digital partnership with ESPN represents a significant step forward in achieving Formula 1’s aim of broadening the sport’s appeal,” Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 said. “The U.S. market is very important for us and we want to build on the success of the popular Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

“ESPN offers a powerful platform to reach new audiences and I’m pleased we are able to announce the launch of our first OTT product, as we look to strengthen Formula 1’s digital assets.”

In a separate announcement US broadcasters NBC, which has held the TV rights to F1 in America since 2013, confirmed the group has opted against entering a new deal ‘in which the rights holder itself competes with us’.

“Although we take great pride in having grown Formula One’s visibility and viewership since we became its exclusive U.S. media rights holder in 2013, this will be our last season with the series,” a statement from NBC Sports Group read. “In this case, we chose not to enter into a new agreement in which the rights holder itself competes with us and our distribution partners. We wish the new owners of F1 well.”

In other F1 TV news, reigning F1 world champion Nico Rosberg has joined the Sky Sports F1 broadcasting team for the Japanese Grand Prix and will also feature on the Sky Sports Italy and Germany programmes.


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