The Formula 1 boom in the USA has also caused the prices for broadcasting rights to explode. Netflix and Amazon tried their luck anyway and made offers. However, the two streaming giants have been edged out by one of their major competitors.
For the past three years, Formula 1 has been a real bargain for broadcasters in the US. For just five million US dollars per season, the TV broadcaster ESPN agreed on a three-year contract with the makers of the premier class in 2019.
Since this contract expires at the end of the current season, the rights have now been put out to tender again. And again ESPN secured the contract. However, the broadcaster had to dig deep into their pockets for this.
ESPN will pay between USD 75 and 90 million per year for the Formula 1 broadcasting rights from the 2023 season instead of just USD 5 million as before. That reports the “Sports Business Journal“.
The sports broadcaster has not yet been officially awarded the contract, but according to the report, offers from competitors Netflix and Amazon were rejected on Friday. Accordingly, confirmation of the contract extension with ESPN is expected soon. Amazon is said to have even offered 100 million US dollars per season. But Formula 1 was reluctant to move its product from linear TV to a streaming platform.
Formula 1 is booming in the USA
The defeat in the bidding battle is a severe blow, especially for the streaming giant Netflix, after all, the specially produced documentary “Drive to Survive” has significantly accelerated the new Formula 1 boom in the USA or made it possible in the first place. And this boom is reflected in the ratings.
As early as 2021, ESPN reported the best Formula 1 ratings in its history. In the first five races of the current season, however, these numbers were even exceeded by 53 percent.
On average, the broadcaster booked 1.4 million viewers in the 2022 season – despite the time difference, which means that there is hardly a race in the United States during prime time.
Liberty Media has already taken on this construction site. The Formula 1 program in the USA has been successively expanded in recent months and years. This year, the race in Miami made its debut on the calendar, and from next year it will also be held in Las Vegas. There is also the race in Austin/Texas. There will then be a total of six races taking place in a “US-friendly” time zone.
In some races, however, many US fans could still look down the proverbial tube.
According to “Sports Business Journal”, ESPN has secured the right to push individual races behind the paywall and broadcast them exclusively on ESPN+. This in turn requires a paid subscription, which will certainly not become cheaper due to the price explosion in the allocation of rights.