NEW YORK — ESPN and Formula One have agreed to a multi-year linear and digital partnership that brings the FIA Formula One World Championship back to its original television home in the United States starting next year.
ESPN and ABC will televise all 21 races in the championship. The first Formula One race aired in the U.S. was on ABC in 1962.
Beginning with the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 25 and ending with the Nov. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, all of the races will air live in the United States on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC.
All in more than 125 hours of Formula 1 programming, including all practice sessions, qualifying and races, will air live and in replay across ESPN platforms.
“ESPN has had a long commitment to motorsports, and Formula 1 is a crown jewel in the sport,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president of programming & scheduling. “There are many passionate Formula One fans in the U.S. and we look forward to bringing the pageantry, spectacle and excitement of F-1 to viewers across the ESPN platform.”
Among the season highlights will be the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, May 27 (Memorial Day weekend in the U.S.), which will air live on ESPN at 7:55 a.m. ET and re-air later in the day on ABC at 3:30 p.m. after the Indianapolis 500.
The United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on Oct. 21 and the Mexican Grand Prix on Oct. 28 will also air live on ABC, while the Canadian Grand Prix (June 10) and British Grand Prix (July 8) will be featured live on ESPN.
The Singapore Grand Prix, the only night race of the championship, will air on ESPN2 on Sept. 16.
“We are excited about the return of the world’s foremost motor racing platform to the ABC and ESPN platforms,” said Sean Bratches, managing director, commercial operations at Formula 1. “ABC’s Wide World of Sports first started airing live grands prix in the early 1960’s and this linear and digital partnership with ESPN represents a significant step forward in achieving Formula 1’s aim of broadening the sport’s appeal.”
“The U.S. market is very important growth opportunity for Formula One and we are looking forward to working with ESPN to ignite the growing fan interest.”
Formula One made its debut on American television with the airing of highlights from the Monaco Grand Prix on ABC’s Wide World of Sports on June 10, 1962, one week after the race was run. Select races appeared on ABC until 1988.
ESPN began televising F1 races with a 10-race schedule in 1984, expanding to 14 races from 1985-1988, and then 15 from 1989-1993. ESPN aired 16 races in 1994, then a high of 17 in 1995, followed by 16 in both 1996 and 1997, the last years the championship appeared on ESPN.
NBC Sports has carried Formula 1 coverage in the United States for five seasons, going back to 2013.
“Although we take great pride in having grown Formula One’s visibility and viewership since we became its exclusive U.S. media rights holder in 2013, this will be our last season with the series,” NBC Sports said in a statement. “In this case, we chose not to enter into a new agreement in which the rights holder itself competes with us and our distribution partners. We wish the new owners of F1 well.”
CREDIT: ESPN Communications