ESPN wants to continue its partnership with Formula 1 for a longer-term deal beyond next season, according to its director of programming and acquisitions.
Liberty Media’s takeover of F1 was soon followed by the transfer of broadcast rights in the US from NBC Sports to ESPN. At the time, it was understood that Liberty wanted to keep its options flexible as it launched an OTT service. However, with ESPN now in its third year of broadcasting F1 and seeing ever-increasing viewership figures, John Suchenski said the network is keen to retain the rights beyond the end of its current contract that expires after 2022.
“We obviously would love to continue to partner with F1 long-term on this, and continue to grow the sport here and their property in the US,” Suchenski told RACER. “So we’re hopeful. We have nothing obviously to announce at this time on that front. We still have the rest of the season to get through as well as next season. But we’re definitely hopeful that that that we can continue our great partnership with them.
“They’re obviously very pleased, as are we. It’s a great mutual partnership and something that we hope can continue for many years into the future.”
Suchenski also believes ESPN can compliment F1’s other attempts to grow the sport further in the US, as he looks forward to a chance to activate around the United States Grand Prix for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have regular dialog on (how ESPN can help). They’re very transparent with us on what they are planning this year. We partner with them on what they did in L.A. and Miami earlier this year, we’re looking to partner again with them in Austin, so we use our outlets to help push their messaging and stuff. So that’s one way. Obviously, they’re very good at what they do on their own as well, too.
“I think they can reach the core fans more so maybe than even we can, and them continuing to do that is great. And I think what they’ve been doing thus far has been really good and and I certainly think it’s helped contribute to what we’ve seen with the growth for this year and everything.
“So we’ll continue; we always continue to look at ways that we can further partner and do things outside of the main events and the telecasts. Hopefully, when we get into as we’re leading up to Austin – as we did two years ago – we’ll have a long list of things that we and they will be doing together to help beef up that race and then coming off of that as we kind of close out the season with the races after that.”