Broadcast by ESPN since 2017, Formula 1 will end its current television agreement in the United States at the end of this year, when the approximately US$5 million annual contract it maintains with The Walt Disney’s brand expires. The racing competition, which has grown in popularity in recent years, is now in the sights of several industry giants, according to various US media reports.
With all the new attention it is getting, F1 is now aiming for a price of US$100 million. ESPN has made a new bid of US$70 million (more than ten times as much as the current deal), an offer that is on the table but has not been accepted yet by F1 owners Liberty Media. NBC -which had the broadcasting rights in the United States until 2017 but lost them to ESPN- is also willing to compete again.
According to Business Insider, in addition to ESPN and NBC, streaming giants Netflix and Amazon are aiming to get involved in the battle for broadcasting rights. Netflix, which at the moment does not broadcast live sports, has seen its sports docuseries “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” push audience for both the platform and the racing competition, the latter of which has enjoyed record-breaking attendance at events of late.
On the other hand, regarding sports in the United States, Amazon’s Prime Video has the rights to some New York Yankees games on YES, as well as a handful of WNBA games, and a weekly NFL game on Thursday night. On the documentary side, the streaming service was in the F1 docuseries space before Netflix with titles such as “Grand Prix Driver” and “Fernando,” which follow the McLaren racing team and Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, respectively.