Formula 1 and ESPN are close to agreeing a deal that will keep the sport with the broadcaster for a further three years.
ESPN took over the rights from NBC Sports ahead of the 2018 season and extended that at the end of 2019 with a new three-year deal. While discussions are ongoing about a further extension and a deal is not yet signed, the expectation from both sides is that it should be completed this summer and continue the partnership through to the end of the 2025 season.
RACER understands the planned extension will see ESPN investing more into F1, with a number of key races — particularly those in the Americas and potentially other flagship events — to feature significant on-site presence and live “SportsCenter” shows.
Across the duration of the new contract, there is scope for ESPN to expand its coverage further to include additional programming and output on top of the current agreement where it takes Sky’s offering.
F1 has seen significant growth in the United States since Liberty Media took over the sport in 2017, with the move to ESPN coinciding with the start of filming for the Netflix series “Drive to Survive” and more recently the addition of races in Miami and Las Vegas.
Races on ESPN are averaging 1.3 million viewers so far in 2022 — up 39% over 2021 average of 949,000 per race — and Sunday’s British Grand Prix delivered a record audience for that race, as well as providing ESPN2 with its largest audience of the year prior to midday ET.