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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

F1 CEO sees 'nice alternative' in TV rights talks with ESPN deal as a consequence of expire

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Formula 1 is using a wave of recognition within the U.S., and its CEO is purchasing round its success with potential media companions for a extra profitable U.S. media deal.

The racing league’s present cope with ESPN expires on the finish of 2022. It was prolonged in 2019 to the tune of $5 million per yr. Sports Business Journal reported the league, which is owned by Liberty Media, is in search of as a lot as $75 million a yr for its subsequent TV rights deal.

Formula 1 Group CEO Stefano Domenicali declined to specify which potential companions the league is talking to, or how a lot the league is in search of, however he advised CNBC he sees “great opportunity” within the negotiations and expects the following deal to “build on” the ESPN charges.

“We need to be respectful for the fact that ESPN did a great job for us to promote the business in that landscape,” he mentioned from the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. “But the great opportunity we have is to make sure that the future offers we are discussing with the partners are well positioned in terms of content, in terms of opportunity for the fans to follow and of course in terms of fees. The future is very interesting for us.”

Formula 1 set a brand new viewership file final season when it averaged 934,000 viewers per race on ESPN channels and the ABC community — up 54% in contrast with F1′s 2020 races. F1′s 2021 viewership included a median 1.2 million viewers for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.

The development reveals no indicators of slowing. ESPN mentioned the season-opener Bahrain Grand Prix in March averaged 1.3 million viewers within the U.S. and peaked at 1.5 million viewers within the race’s remaining minutes.

The share worth of Formula 1’s fundamental monitoring inventory is up 34% over the previous yr and has doubled since 2017.

The sport’s latest surge within the U.S. is largely powered by the Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive.” Season 4 of the present, launched in March, attracted its largest viewers so far and broke into the weekly Top 10 in 56 international locations, in accordance with Formula 1 and Netflix. The events introduced Thursday the sequence has been confirmed for a fifth and sixth season.

Some have speculated Netflix may search to purchase the stay F1 media rights, and mark its first foray into stay sports activities. Domenicali declined to rule it out.

“Netflix has helped us a lot,” he mentioned. “They did an incredible job. We did an incredible job together, because that’s something that you cannot do alone. I think that together we may have also some other things that we can do together to improve our accessibility in the American market.”

In 2023, F1 will host three U.S. races, with the addition of a race in Las Vegas in November and the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin in October. The first Miami Grand Prix runs this weekend.

While the game has lengthy been in style abroad, with a world viewers averaging greater than 80 million per race, it has lagged far behind NASCAR within the U.S., which averaged slightly below 3 million viewers per race final yr.

“We are just at the beginning of this new journey,” Domenicali mentioned. “The popularity of our sport has grown tremendously. It requires a lot of attention, to be sure that our narratives hit the tastes of the American fans.”

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