Formula One has agreed to extend a rights deal with ESPN until 2025; sources told SBSs Jon Ourand and Adam Stern. According to the Sports Business Journal, formula One and ESPN decided on a three-year contract to share U.S. broadcast rights, valued at $75-90 million per year. ESPN, an American international cable sports channel, has reportedly secured an agreement with Formula One that allows the cable channel to broadcast the sport on U.S. television for an additional three years through the end of the 2025 season. Sports Business Journal reports that Formula One is seeking up to $75 million per year for the upcoming T.V. rights deal.
Its chief executive declined to say with whom Formula One is talking or what amount the league is seeking. However, he told CNBC that he saw “great opportunities” with negotiations and expected the following agreement to be built around $5 million per year. We previously reported that competing suitors, including Amazon and Netflix, were told by Formula One last Friday that ESPN had secured a new deal believed to be worth $75-90 million a year. Sources said that ESPN has agreed to pay about $75-90 million yearly for the rights. Currently, ESPN pays around $5M per year for the rights, having signed one three-year/$15M contract in 2019. ESPN’s current deal, signed in 2019 and set to expire this year, is worth $5m a year. ESPN would have paid $75-90 million per season over three years to extend its contract, meaning that deal would have been worth at least 15 times more than the existing partnership.
Its rights deal with ESPN is not yet under a signed contract, but Formula One told executives from Amazon and Comcast Friday that no company offer would be accepted. ESPN would keep America’s Formula One broadcast rights, after all. The F1 deal gives the media company the flexibility to air small yet uncertain numbers of races solely on its streaming service, ESPN+.
Amazon wanted to sublicense to a linear network, but Comcast wanted to broadcast on its Peacock service and NBC and USA Network. Netflix made a bid to purchase the F1 broadcast rights in the United States, but F1 did not want its product to be available simply through a streaming service.
The U.S. is scheduled to host three races starting with the 2023 season at Miami, Austin, and Las Vegas. Formula One has managed to multiply the value of its T.V. rights deals across the U.S. by an incredible 15-fold. While Formula One has long been popular abroad, averaging over 80 million viewers each race worldwide, it has lagged well behind NASCAR in the U.S., averaging a little less than 3 million viewers each season.