Formula 1

ESPN begins its sixth consecutive season airing Formula 1 in the United States this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix. With a new rights deal through 2025, ESPN is expanding their F1 coverage.

They’ll keep Sky Sports’ race coverage and races remain commercial free, but ESPN will have five races on ABC and 13 on ESPN (most ever), while qualifying sessions will have more prominent placement on ESPN’s networks.

One of the biggest enhancements for the upcoming season is their expanded coverage and additional original content that’s going to complement Sky’s race coverage. SportsCenter will have F1 coverage before and after each race, with expanded coverage at the three United States based races. In addition to preview/review shows on ESPN3, YouTube, and ESPN’s social media channels.

ESPN’s full list of features include:

-One of the marquee events of F1, the Monaco Grand Prix, will air live on ABC for the first time. The races in Miami, Canada, Mexico and the Lenovo U.S. Grand Prix in Austin also will air on ABC.

-Thirteen races will air on ESPN, the most ever.

-For the first time in history, the F1 season will include three races in the U.S., with the inaugural Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix running in November.

-Fans will have more ways to consume F1 content as ESPN+ will simulcast 18 of this season’s 23 races live – including the season opener, finale, all three U.S. events, the iconic Monaco Grand Prix and more – in both English and Spanish.

-Coverage of F1 qualifying (including the F1 Sprint) will have an increased focus in 2023 with most sessions airing on ESPN or ESPN2.

-Following what was done for the races in Miami and Austin last year, ESPN will produce an expanded number of preview and review shows in 2023 that will air live on ESPN social media and digital channels on race days. The first 2023 edition of the ESPN Post-Race Show airs at noon ET on Sunday following the conclusion of the Bahrain Grand Prix on ESPN3, the ESPN App, ESPN Twitter, ESPN Facebook and ESPN YouTube.

-With the new agreement including expanded direct-to-consumer rights, ESPN also has the flexibility to roll out additional content over the next three years, with more to be announced later.

-ESPN’s signature news and information program SportsCenter will have F1 coverage before and after all 23 races, including continued expansive coverage from U.S. races.

I feel like I say this every year, but ESPN is really putting their backing into Formula 1. No F1 fan would’ve thought this a decade ago, and when ESPN had F1 in the 90s, I wasn’t expecting to see Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann talk about Michael Schumacher winning in Suzuka. That has all changed.

That comes with consequences for ESPN as they’re paying more of a rights fee nowadays, but the increased ratings ESPN sees as a result of their additional coverage makes the juice worth the squeeze.

[ESPN Press Room]

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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