Netflix bidding for Formula One's US TV rights

Netflix bidding for Formula One’s US TV rights

June 7, 2022

Global subscription streaming and production company Netflix is among the four bidders trying to gain the rights for Formula One’s US broadcast. ESPN, which has broadcasting the series in the US since 2018, has also been trying to renew its contract, while NBC and Amazon have also been trying to bid for the broadcast rights.

It is reported that ESPN’s opening bid was around US$70 million, around US$10 million lower than what Formula One is expecting. The figures are a steep rise from what ESPN had paid initially in 2017. Even the extension in 2019 was reported to be around US$5 million a year. The sudden jump, though, is because of the substantial growth in broadcast audiences. Most recently, the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, which was held on May 8, 2022, saw an average viewership of 2.6 million on Disney’s ABC, which was the largest-ever audience witnessed for a live Formula One broadcast on US television. 

Another major factor which has brought in millions of viewers in the US is Netflix’s hit documentary series Formula 1: Drive to Survive. The series, which kicked off in 2019, has since brought about a seismic change in F1 viewership in the United States. For example, the 2018 US Grand Prix saw a total of 264,000 people in attendance, but following the Drive To Survive breakthrough, the 2021 race in the US had an attendance of 400,000. Viewership has peaked so much that last year the season finale in Abu Dhabi saw a total of 108.7 million viewers; by comparison, Super Bowl LVI brought 101 million viewers.

It’s not just the viewership numbers that have gone through the roof: the US now has three races in the country starting from next year, and the popularity of the sport in the country has also seen the big firms joining the sport as sponsors. Brands like Coca-Cola and Google are major sponsors of McLaren, while tech firm Oracle serves as Red Bull’s principal sponsor. The boom in viewership in the States has also helped the revenue: it was US$1.15 billion in 2020 and rose to US$2.14 billion in 2021. 

Sean Bratches, former managing director of commercial operations at Formula One, spoke about the impact Drive to Survive has had, stating:

Based on the success of ‘Drive to Survive’, it would seem obvious that Netflix would be an interested participant and that Formula One would feel similarly.

John Suchenski, director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN, commented:

We are aggressively pursuing a renewal, We feel that we have a distribution package and event presentation that can’t be matched in the industry and the viewership and exposure growth they have received since returning to ESPN platforms in 2018 is reflective of what we can do for them.

It has been a mutually beneficial relationship. Understandably, they are looking at other options. We had very good meetings with them in Miami recently and are in constant communication.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Trae Young's net worth, investments and sponsorships
Previous Story

Trae Young’s net worth, investments and sponsorships

Miami Heat Sponsors list
Next Story

Miami Heat: Sponsors list

Latest from F1 News

Go toTop