Formula 1 and ESPN have reached an agreement on a new media rights deal through 2025.
Per Sports Business Journal, the two parties have yet to put pen to paper, although Formula 1 notified both Amazon and Comcast executives Friday that neither company’s bid would be accepted. The deal is reportedly worth $75-$90 million a year. ESPN currently pays $5 million a year for the rights, having struck a three-year, $15 million deal with Formula 1 in 2019.
While a majority of races will be broadcasted live on ESPN and the mothership, ABC, an undetermined number of races will be available exclusively on ESPN+, the company’s streaming service. ESPN+ currently starts at $6.99 a month.
ESPN’s offer, although a substantial increase on what the company pays currently to broadcast Formula 1, is lower than the amount that Amazon offered. Amazon, which now holds the rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, reportedly offered around $100 million a year for the media rights to Formula 1. Comcast’s offer, meanwhile, was in the ballpark of ESPN’s.
Comcast would have aimed to put several Formula 1 races on streaming service Peacock, with additional coverage on NBC and USA Network. Netflix is said to have put in a bid as well, but Formula 1 executives were not ready to make all of its races exclusive to a streaming service.
Formula 1 has seen an uptick in viewership on ESPN, with the largest numbers coming during the current 2022 campaign. ESPN touted through the first five races this season, that Formula 1 had garnered an average of 1.4 million viewers per race.
That’s a 49% increase over the 2021 season average of 949,000 viewers. The 2021 season was the most-viewed season yet, with 2022 set to shatter the record.