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F1 CEO sees TV rights alternative with ESPN deal as a result of expire

Components 1 is driving a wave of recognition within the U.S., and its CEO is procuring round its success with potential media companions for a extra profitable U.S. media deal.

The racing league’s present take care of ESPN expires on the finish of 2022. It was prolonged in 2019 to the tune of $5 million per yr. Sports Business Journal reported the league, which is owned by Liberty Media, is looking for as a lot as $75 million a yr for its subsequent TV rights deal.

Components 1 Group CEO Stefano Domenicali declined to specify which potential companions the league is talking to, or how a lot the league is looking for, however he informed CNBC he sees “nice alternative” within the negotiations and expects the subsequent deal to “construct on” the ESPN charges.

“We should be respectful for the truth that ESPN did an awesome job for us to advertise the enterprise in that panorama,” he stated from the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. “However the nice alternative we’ve is to ensure that the longer term gives we’re discussing with the companions are properly positioned when it comes to content material, when it comes to alternative for the followers to comply with and naturally when it comes to charges. The long run could be very fascinating for us.”

Components 1 set a brand new viewership report final season when it averaged 934,000 viewers per race on ESPN channels and the ABC community — up 54% in contrast with F1′s 2020 races. F1′s 2021 viewership included a median 1.2 million viewers for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.

The expansion reveals no indicators of slowing. ESPN stated the season-opener Bahrain Grand Prix in March averaged 1.3 million viewers in the U.S. and peaked at 1.5 million viewers within the race’s last minutes.

The share worth of Components 1’s main tracking stock is up 34% over the previous yr and has doubled since 2017.

The game’s current surge within the U.S. is largely powered by the Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive.” Season 4 of the present, launched in March, attracted its largest viewers thus far and broke into the weekly High 10 in 56 international locations, in line with Components 1 and Netflix. The events introduced Thursday the sequence has been confirmed for a fifth and sixth season.

Some have speculated Netflix may search to buy the live F1 media rights, and mark its first foray into dwell sports activities. Domenicali declined to rule it out.

“Netflix has helped us rather a lot,” he stated. “They did an unbelievable job. We did an unbelievable job collectively, as a result of that is one thing that you simply can not do alone. I feel that collectively we could have additionally another issues that we will do collectively to enhance our accessibility within the American market.”

In 2023, F1 will host three U.S. races, with the addition of a race in Las Vegas in November and the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin in October. The primary Miami Grand Prix runs this weekend.

Whereas the game has lengthy been standard abroad, with a worldwide viewers averaging greater than 80 million per race, it has lagged far behind NASCAR within the U.S., which averaged slightly below 3 million viewers per race final yr.

“We’re simply at the start of this new journey,” Domenicali stated. “The recognition of our sport has grown tremendously. It requires quite a lot of consideration, to ensure that our narratives hit the tastes of the American followers.”

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