As global motorsport gains momentum and US media rights to F1 are secured in 2023, Netflix, ESPN and NBCUniversal are reportedly eyeing the international motorsport circuit.
insider It was reported on Monday that three companies are bidding for a new streaming license for F1 starting in 2023. NBCUniversal told TechCrunch that it had nothing more to add to the Business Insider story. Netflix did not respond.
Disney-owned ESPN is the only company to confirm this so far. In a statement to Insider, John Suchensky, director of programming and acquisitions for ESPN, said, “We’re aggressively pushing for the update – we feel like we have a distribution and presentation event that can’t be matched in the industry…it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship.”
“It is clear that they are considering other options,” he added.
ESPN has currently been the US F1 rights holder since 2017. The rights expire at the end of this year and according to the report, F1 plans to pay $100 million for the rights. ESPN reportedly submitted a starting bid of around $70 million, well below the planned amount.
Comcast NBCUniversal has held the rights for the previous five years. In early 2022, NBC closed its NBCSN sports channel. Comcast’s satellite broadcaster, Sky, owns the rights to Formula 1 in the UK and Ireland, with the deal ending in 2024.
Sources told Insider that Netflix is among the contenders and has been in talks for months. However, they also stated that the company does not have its own sports negotiator, which could put them at a disadvantage.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has mentioned that he is thinking about bidding for F1 rights. In September 2021 he spoke to the German magazine Der Spiegel, hinting that Netflix is considering buying in the sports category. He said: “A few years ago the rights to Formula 1 were sold. At that time we were not among the bidders, today we would think about it.” He added that Netflix would only be interested if it could “control the source” and obtain exclusive rights.
Recently, Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, said during the Q1 2022 earnings announcement: “I’m not saying we’ll never play sports, but we’ll need to find a way to increase the big revenue stream and the big profit stream.” So while he said Netflix won’t be using sports to bring in new subscribers, live sports isn’t necessarily banned from Netflix’s plans for the future.
The long-running Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive has been credited for fueling American interest in team racing. morning consultation said Americans who self-identify as fans of the sport have increased by 33% over the past two years, according to the survey. The global decision analytics company also wrote: “More than half of F1 fans (53%) said the series, which debuted in 2019, played a role in becoming a fan, including 30% citing it as the ‘main reason’.” . ”
After the postponed 200,000 subscribers are down in the first quarter, the company’s views on live broadcasts and advertising changed. Streamer will receive cheaper ad-supported tier later this year, and also confirmed that Live Stream programming plans are at an early stage – for example, stand-up comedy and reality shows. Netflix hasn’t touched on live streaming yet, but it looks like the company is looking into it.
It would be in Netflix’s best interest to keep up with its competitors as the streaming wars get fiercer. For example, Apple recently closed a Major League Baseball broadcast deal and is bidding for the NFL Sunday Ticket. Peacock also received exclusive rights to dozens of MLB games. Amazon Prime offers exclusive coverage of the Thursday night NFL football game as well as 21 New York Yankees games exclusively in the New York market. Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery already has a number of sports content.
If Netflix does win the rights to Formula One, it will be a major turning point for the company.
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