- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Formula 1 is staying with Disney.
The auto racing juggernaut, which is in the midst of a global resurgence in popularity, has signed a new multi-year deal with The Walt Disney Co., running through the 2025 season. The deal was officially announced at the Formula 1 Aramco U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
The new deal will see at least 16 races air on ABC and ESPN each season, in the commercial-free format ESPN has been using in its current F1 deal. Critically for ESPN, however, the deal also includes streaming rights, with F1 races to come to the ESPN+ streaming service. Details on the streaming races will be announced at a later date.
While F1 has long been a popular sport in Europe and Asia, it has struggled in the U.S. next to domestic circuits like NASCAR. However, Drive to Survive on Netflix, combined with new races in Miami (and a new tentpole event in Las Vegas set for 2023) have helped to drive renewed interest in the sport.
F1 first aired in the U.S. on ABC in 1962, and races aired on ESPN from 1984-1997. It returned to ESPN in 2018, and the new deal will keep the racing circuit on its channels for at least three more years. F1 races on ESPN are averaging 1.2 million viewers, with this year’s Miami Grand Prix drawing 2.6 million viewers.
“Formula 1 and ESPN have been a strong and successful team and we’re delighted to extend our relationship,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN president of programming and original content. “We look forward to serving fans in some new and innovative ways in the next three years as we continue to bring the reach and relevance of the Walt Disney Company networks and platforms to Formula 1.”
“After Formula 1 returned to the ESPN networks five years ago, the popularity of the sport has grown impressively,” said Ian Holmes, director of media rights and content creation for Formula 1. “The extension and expansion of our partnership is a reflection of exciting times ahead and a result of our shared desire to bring Formula 1 to as broad and diverse an audience as possible in the U.S. The popular commercial-free broadcasts ensure that viewers continue to engage with F1 before, during and after the race. From next year we will have six races in the Americas, which means more favorable time zones to fans in the region, making the Formula 1 offering more compelling than ever.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day