ESPN has confirmed it will use the Sky Sports output for its Formula 1 coverage in the United States in 2018.
The sports broadcaster took over the rights from NBC Sports at the end of last year, signing a two-year agreement as commercial rights holder Liberty Media looks to develop its own over-the-top (OTT) service. At the time it was confirmed ESPN would use the world feed, with its pre-race coverage set to start five minutes before lights out at each event.
While it is unclear if the same approach will be taken following the decision to push the start time of every grand prix back to 10 minutes past the hour, ESPN has now confirmed it will take the Sky Sports output for its coverage rather than having its own bespoke commentary and presenting team.
“We are excited to work with the Sky Sports team,” ESPN’s coordinating producer for motorsports, Kate Jackson, said. “Their coverage of F1 is second to none and we look forward to bringing their expertise and authenticity to our audiences.”
Sky’s F1 commentary team is used in a number of different markets, and as part of the new deal ESPN confirmed it will work together with Sky Sports to produce “special segments that will appear on various ESPN platforms to supplement the television coverage”.
“We are delighted to be working with ESPN and ABC, and with this partnership extend Sky Sports F1’s award-winning coverage overseas,” added Scott Young, Head of Formula 1 at Sky Sports. “Each season we look to find new ways to improve the broadcast and entertain our viewers and this year will be no different.”
Sky Sports’ coverage will include commentary and analysis from a lineup of former world champions and current F1 drivers including: Martin Brundle, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert (pictured above interviewing Valtteri Bottas last season), Paul di Resta and Anthony Davidson. The Sky broadcast team also includes presenters Simon Lazenby, Ted Kravitz, David Croft, Rachel Brookes and Natalie Pinkham.