Formula 1 is in advanced talks with Amazon – among other global digital partners – regarding streaming deals for races.
The sport already has a partnership with Amazon Web Systems (AWS) that includes the F1 Insights analysis that regularly appears in on-screen graphics during a race weekend. While F1’s current owners Liberty Media have renegotiated a number of traditional broadcast deals since taking over the sport in early 2017, the focus is now turning to the way it can reach new fans by offering races on different media.
Amazon holds the rights to a number of elite sports – including the NFL via Thursday Night Football, the English Premier League and the tennis ATP and WTA tours in some regions – that it streams on Amazon Prime Video, and F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey says grands prix could soon be added to that list.
“They’re (an) incredibly important potential partner and an opportunity for us to expand and grow our business,” Carey told the Financial Times, although adding the sport is wary of alienating fans “who probably are not quite accustomed to watching their major favorite sporting events on a digital platform.”
Sources indicate to RACER that F1 has held discussions with multiple global digital platforms about streaming services, but the Amazon talks are the most advanced as the sport looks to move into the domain in the near future.
Over-the-top (OTT) streaming has been a focus of Liberty Media even prior to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with F1 TV launching in multiple territories. However it is a complex market given the crossover with traditional broadcasters who hold the television rights in specific regions, many of which also have their own OTT services.
The move is intended to appeal to a younger fan base. F1 enjoyed significant success from its Netflix documentary series ‘Drive to Survive’, and also granted access into the paddock to Amazon Prime for the second season of its documentary following Fernando Alonso, simply called ‘Fernando’.