Formula 1 (F1) has announced a partnership extension with ESPN that will see the US broadcaster continue its coverage of the sport until 2022 following a 19% viewership increase.

The television viewership growth within the United States has seen F1’s average viewers rise from 561,000 per race to 671,000 in a year, which also constitutes a 24% rise when compared to NBC’s 2017 viewer numbers of 542,000. 

As a result of this rise in demand for the sport in the US the partnership extension between the sport and the broadcaster will see F1 races, along with all the practice and qualifying sessions, continue to be aired live across ESPN’s platforms, with on-demand replays also available on the ESPN App.  

Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1, commented on the deal: “Our partnership with ESPN has delivered a 19 percent increase in viewership across the US and we are delighted to extend our partnership through to 2022. 

“The US is one of our key focuses for growth and ESPN know and understand the US sports audience like no one else. The combination of their dedicated coverage and Formula 1’s amazing racing spectacle is a perfect partnership for us to build on our recent success with US audiences.”

As well as its extended coverage of F1, ESPN also will continue to air the races commercial-free and will continue to partner with Sky Sports to provide its Amercian viewers with the British broadcasters award-winning F1 presentation.

Moreover, the original deal which was signed in 2018 has been updated to include ESPN Deportes which will now serve as the exclusive Spanish language US home for all F1 Grand Prix’s starting in 2020. This addition will also see Spanish-language coverage of F1 be made available to fans on the ESPN App.

Burke Magnus, ESPN executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, concluded: “When we brought Formula 1 back to ESPN two years ago, we had faith that Formula 1 fans in the United States would support the coverage. That faith has been rewarded many times over, and we greatly appreciate how fans have responded in record numbers. 

“We’re also delighted to add Spanish-language rights to this new deal. This provides us with a unique opportunity to serve Hispanic Formula 1 fans across ESPN platforms in English and Spanish. We look forward to continuing the relationship with Formula 1 and working together to build the sport in America.”

The deal also includes the broadcasting rights for the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the FIA Formula 3 Championship and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup series. 

Insider Insight: The announcement is the latest which shows off the growth in popularity regarding F1, specifically in the US as talks regarding the addition of a Miami GP continue. 

Regarding the sports worldwide appeal, the ESPN extension is the latest broadcasting news coming out of F1 since the announcement of its Mexico GP Twitch trial which further showcased the appetite for the sport in Europe. 

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