AUSTIN, Texas (AP)With Formula’s One popularity and viewership booming in the United States, ESPN and the global motorsports series announced a new broadcast deal Saturday through 2025.
ESPN has broadcast F1 in the U.S. since 2018 and the new deal will keep commercial-free, live telecasts for all races on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC, all owned by the Walt Disney Co. ESPN Deportes will continue as the Spanish-language home of F1 in the U.S.
The deal comes ahead of Sunday’s U.S. Grand Prix, which will air on ABC. Terms were not disclosed.
Under the new deal, at least 16 races will be on ABC or ESPN and all race weekends will include live coverage of practice and qualifying.
ESPN has been the U.S. rights holder in a boom time for F1 and the series will expand its calendar to a record 24 races in 2023. That includes three in the U.S. in Austin, Miami and Las Vegas. Only the Texas race was on the calendar when ESPN took over broadcast rights four years ago.
Last season saw an average of 949,000 viewers, the network said. That has increased to more than 1.2 million tuning in on average over the first 18 races this season.
”We are delighted to announce that our partnership with ESPN will continue,” said Stefano Domenicali, president and chief executive officer of F1. ”Formula One has seen incredible growth in the United States with sold out events and record television audiences … The ESPN networks have played a huge part in that growth with their dedicated quality coverage.”
The inaugural Miami Grand Prix on ABC generated an average viewership of 2.6 million, the largest U.S. audience on record for a live F1 race.
The network said the new deal also expands its direct-to-consumer rights, with details for more content on digital platforms to be announced later.
”Formula 1 and ESPN have been a strong and successful team,” ESPN President Burke Magnus said. ”We look forward to serving fans in some new and innovative ways in the next three years as we continue to bring the reach and relevance of the Walt Disney Company networks and platforms to Formula 1.”
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