F1 renews US deal with Walt Disney, teases ESPN+ expansion

Formula 1 has unveiled a new multi-year extension of its broadcast partnership with the Walt Disney Company, meaning F1 races will continue to be shown on ESPN Networks in the US through the 2025 season. At least 16 races will air on ABC and ESPN each season, more than in each of the previous five years since F1 returned to ESPN Networks in 2018, and all race broadcasts on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will continue the commercial-free presentation used over the past five seasons.

The new agreement also includes expanded direct-to-consumer rights, giving ESPN flexibility to roll out additional ways for fans in the US to consume F1 content over the next three years, including on ESPN+, with details to be announced later.

Stefano Domenicali

2021 set a record as the most-viewed F1 season ever on US television with an average of 949,000 viewers per race. That average has increased to seven figures in 2022, with viewer numbers increasing as the sport’s popularity continues to grow. Through 18 races so far, live F1 broadcasts are averaging 1.2 million viewers on ESPN networks – with multiple events attracting race-record television audiences.

ESPN Deportes will continue as the Spanish-language home of F1 in the US and ESPN’s coverage of Formula 1 also includes a dedicated website that reports on the championship year-round. Additionally, ESPN studio shows including SportsCenter will continue on-site coverage from races in the US, including the new event in Las Vegas for 2023, with coverage at other races potentially added. ESPN also will be creating ancillary programming to support F1 coverage over the next three years.

Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO at Formula 1, said: “Formula 1 has seen incredible growth in the United States with sold out events and record television audiences, and the addition of Las Vegas to the calendar next season, alongside Austin and Miami, will see us host three spectacular races there. The ESPN networks have played a huge part in that growth with their dedicated quality coverage.”

Ian Holmes, director of media rights and content creation, Formula 1, added: “The extension and expansion of our partnership is a reflection of exciting times ahead and a result of our shared desire to bring Formula 1 to as broad and diverse an audience as possible in the US. The popular commercial-free broadcasts ensure that viewers continue to engage with F1 before, during and after the race. From next year we will have six races in the Americas, which means more favourable time zones to fans in the region, making the Formula 1 offering more compelling than ever.”

Burke Magnus, ESPN President, programming and original content, said: “We look forward to serving fans in new and innovative ways in the next three years as we continue to bring the reach and relevance of (our) networks and platforms to F1.”

Tags: Disney, ESPN, Formula 1, US

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