ESPN Will Air F1 Races Starting In 2018; NBC Opts Not To Renew Contract

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Formula One coverage will have a new home in the United States.

NBC Sports Group has decided not to extend its deal with F1 owner Liberty Media, the company announced Wednesday, according to Motorsport.com. The network has had exclusive rights to every Grand Prix since 2013, airing them either on NBC Sports Network, NBC or CNBC.

“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 Group’s statement read.

“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.”

ESPN on Wednesday signed a multi-year deal with Liberty Media, which purchased the single-seater series ahead of the 2017 season, to broadcast all F1 races starting in 2018 on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. One notable change ESPN confirmed it will make regards the Monaco Grand Prix, which in addition to being broadcast live, now will re-air after the Indianapolis 500 concludes.

“The U.S. market is a very important growth opportunity for Formula 1 and we are looking forward to working with ESPN to ignite the growing fan interest,” F1 managing director, Sean Bratches, said in a statement.

Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern pointed out that Liberty’s CEO, Greg Maffei, criticized NBC this year regarding the rights fee it pays to F1.

Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Racing

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