F1 to move from NBCSN to ESPN in the USA

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    American Formula One fans will have to look elsewhere for their coverage next year as ESPN is taking over as broadcaster from NBCSN, which has held the rights since 2013.


    The press release just landed:

    Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport, today announces a multi-year linear and digital partnership with ESPN, the U.S. cable and satellite sports broadcaster to air the FIA Formula One World Championship™ live.

    The agreement will see the return of the FIA Formula One World Championship to the original US network carrier: the first Formula 1 race ever televised in the U.S. was broadcast on ABC in 1962.

    Starting in March 2018, ESPN and ABC will televise all 21 races of the World Championship.

    Beginning at the season-opening Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix on March 25, coverage will continue until the final race at the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 25.

    It will of course also feature the popular Formula 1 United States Grand Prix that takes place in Austin, Texas on October 21, 2018. This race will also be broadcast on ABC.

    All races will air live on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. More than 125 hours of Formula 1 programming, including all practice sessions, qualifying and races, will be shown live and in replay across ESPN platforms in 2018.

    Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming & Scheduling said: “ESPN has had a long commitment to motorsports, and Formula 1 is a crown jewel in the sport. There are passionate Formula 1 fans everywhere and we look forward to bring the pageantry, spectacle and excitement to our viewers.”

    Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 said: “We are excited about the return of the world’s foremost motor racing platform to the ABC and ESPN platforms. 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 a very important growth opportunity for Formula 1 and we are looking forward to working with ESPN to ignite the growing fan interest.”

    Bob Loblaw

    Can’t overstate as an American how huge this is. I’ve generally liked the team at NBCSN, but NBCSN was always going to be a niche home for Formula 1 because of its place in American TV packages. Furthermore, over the last couple of seasons NBC has done more and more gerrymandering with the channel placement of live races/qualifying sessions, to the point that I have no less than 6 different automatic recordings set up to try and make sure I get the live (first) session recorded (when races air at 3am local time and the replay doesn’t come on until 1pm local time this becomes kind of important).

    F1 back on ESPN will hopefully pull the sport a bit out of the shadows here in the US once again, and should almost certainly make viewing for dedicated fans a simpler affair and make it much easier for the casual fan to dabble.

    I certainly hope they can find a home for Will Buxton at ESPN. I like Matchett, but I get the feeling he might be willing to just ride out into the sunset here. This might bring Bob Varsha back into the fold given his prior relationship with ESPN; he’s a tad polarizing but generally well liked.

    Anyway, big news for American F1 fans. Liberty continues to show proof that they’re being genuinely proactive about growing the sport; I think that should be big news for F1 fans around the world.


    NBC Sports Group had the F1 rights since 2013, but said it “chose not to enter into a new agreement in which the rights holder itself competes with us and our distribution partners.”

    The article doesn’t say, but does that mean what F1 does now (e.g. the highlights and videos it now uploads) or what it might have plans for in the future?


    Never mind, it’s answered here.


    Not a fan of this move whatsoever, but it’s to be expected with Liberty at the helm.

    I love the NBCSports team (Will, Lee, Steve & Hobo). Hate to see them go. It would beyond criminal if ESPN doesn’t at least go out and get Will Buxton. His pre-race grid walk is at times even more entertaining the race itself. Let’s hope ESPN doesn’t drop the ball on this and do the series justice as NBCSports has.

    Mort Canard

    Hoping that we don’t have to wait for next year to find out who the announcing crew will be. I like Hobbs, Matchett, and Buxton. Diffey can go elsewhere as I am concerned.

    Siben Croswell

    Hmm, I’m having mixed emotions regarding this decision.

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