Formula 1 and the Walt Disney Company announce multi-year ESPN broadcast partnership extension

Formula 1 has today announced a new multi-year extension of its broadcast partnership with the Walt Disney Company, ensuring that F1 races will continue to be shown on ESPN Networks in the United States through the 2025 season.

At least 16 races will air on ABC and ESPN each season, more than in each of the previous five years since F1 returned to ESPN Networks in 2018, and all race broadcasts on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will continue the commercial-free presentation used over the past five seasons.

The new agreement also includes expanded direct-to-consumer rights, giving ESPN flexibility to roll out additional ways for fans in the United States to consume F1 content over the next three years, including on ESPN+, with details to be announced later.

All race weekends will continue to include live broadcasts of all practice sessions, qualifying (including the F1 Sprint) and races, as well as pre-race and post-race coverage. The new agreement includes an increased focus on qualifying, with more sessions airing on ESPN or ESPN2.

2021 set a record as the most-viewed F1 season ever on US television with an average of 949,000 viewers per race. That average has increased to seven figures in 2022, with viewer numbers increasing as the sport’s popularity continues to grow. Through 18 races so far, live F1 broadcasts are averaging 1.2 million viewers on ESPN networks – with multiple events attracting race-record television audiences.

Earlier this year, the inaugural Miami Grand Prix broadcast on ABC generated an average viewership of 2.6 million, the largest US audience on record for a live F1 Grand Prix.

ESPN Deportes will continue as the Spanish-language home of F1 in the US and ESPN’s coverage of Formula 1 also includes a dedicated website that reports on the championship year-round. 

Additionally, ESPN studio shows including SportsCenter will continue on-site coverage from races in the United States, including the new event in Las Vegas for 2023, with coverage at other races potentially added. ESPN also will be creating additional ancillary programming on its platforms to support its F1 coverage over the next three years.

Formula 1 returned to its original US television home in 2018 – the first race ever aired in the country was on ABC in 1962. During each of the five seasons that F1 has been on ESPN networks since, the amount of F1 content on ESPN television and digital platforms has steadily increased. This year, the Sky Sports F1 programs Ted’s Qualifying Notebook and Ted’s Race Notebook were added, airing on ESPN3 during race weekends, and the video podcast program Unlapped began appearing on the ESPN YouTube channel.

Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO at Formula 1, said:

“We are delighted to announce that our partnership with ESPN will continue. Formula 1 has seen incredible growth in the United States with sold out events and record television audiences, and the addition of Las Vegas to the calendar next season, alongside Austin and Miami, will see us host three spectacular races there. The ESPN networks have played a huge part in that growth with their dedicated quality coverage. We are excited to expand our relationship and continue to bring the passion and excitement of Formula 1 to our viewers in the US together.”

Ian Holmes, Director of Media Rights and Content Creation, Formula 1, said:

“After Formula 1 returned to the ESPN networks five years ago, the popularity of the sport has grown impressively. The extension and expansion of our partnership is a reflection of exciting times ahead and a result of our shared desire to bring Formula 1 to as broad and diverse an audience as possible in the US. The popular commercial-free broadcasts ensure that viewers continue to engage with F1 before, during and after the race. From next year we will have six races in the Americas, which means more favourable time zones to fans in the region, making the Formula 1 offering more compelling than ever.”

Burke Magnus, ESPN President, Programming and Original Content, said:

“Formula 1 and ESPN have been a strong and successful team and we’re delighted to extend our relationship. We look forward to serving fans in some new and innovative ways in the next three years as we continue to bring the reach and relevance of the Walt Disney Company networks and platforms to Formula 1.”