F1 has agreed to renew its rights deal with ESPN through 2025, sources told SBJ. The three-year deal still doesn’t have a signed contract, but the racing series told Amazon and Comcast executives on Friday that neither company's bid was going to be accepted. Sources say that ESPN has agreed to pay around $75-90M per year for the rights. Currently, ESPN pays in the neighborhood of $5M per year for the rights, having signed a 3-year/$15M deal in 2019.
ESPN’s deal gives the media company flexibility to put a small, but undetermined number of races exclusively on its ESPN+ streaming service. Most races will be carried on linear television, either ABC or ESPN, sources said.
Sources said that Amazon put forth a higher bid -- said to be around $100M per year -- with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s monetarily, sources said. Comcast’s offered would have put several of its races on its Peacock streaming service -- in addition to linear coverage on NBC and USA Network. Through its Sky subsidiary, Comcast is a big F1 partner outside of the U.S. Netflix had discussions with F1 and actually made an offer, but its bid wasn’t close on money. F1 executives made it clear that they were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service yet.
F1 found a robust market for its media rights thanks largely to increasing television viewership that has resulted in around 1.0 million viewers per race. League and media executives both feel that F1 has a lot of room to grow that viewership, especially considering that it added several races in the U.S. and now counts six races that occur in U.S. time zones: Austin, Brazil, Las Vegas, Mexico City, Miami and Montreal.
Already a subscriber? Click below to sign in.
Upgrade your subscription to get all the news you need:
Adding SBJ weekly content will give you the comprehensive view of sports business with:
- Award-winning original reporting, with in-depth profiles, timely research and expert opinions on the biggest issues and stories in sports business.
- 49 print issues delivered to your home or office.
- Access to easy-to-read digital editions of weekly issues.
- More than two decades of archival stories, profiles, research and data.