Liberty Media CEO: Several Eyeing U.S. Media Rights For F1

    • Formula 1 will command a higher price for its next U.S. broadcast rights deal.
    • ESPN has held U.S. rights to the motorsport circuit since 2018.

Greg Maffei, the president and CEO of Formula 1’s parent company Liberty Media, said the motorsport circuit will command a higher price for its next U.S. broadcast rights deal.

Maffei told CNBC that “we have a lot of interest” and several broadcasters are in the mix. “And it’s likely to be at a much better price for us that’s hopefully still good for our broadcast partners too.”

ESPN has held U.S. rights to Formula 1 since 2018, replacing NBC. In November 2019, Formula 1 agreed to a three-year extension with ESPN, which runs through this year. In August 2021, ESPN made it clear it wanted to continue its partnership beyond 2022.

  • NBC paid $4 million annually from 2013 to 2018 to broadcast Formula 1, but ESPN is currently not paying an annual fee.
  • Disney-owned ESPN also does not currently produce the Formula 1 races, but carries British Sky Sports broadcasts. 

The 2021 Formula 1 season averaged 931,000 viewers on ESPN through its first 14 races, a 50% increase compared to the 2020 season. Through two races this season, Formula 1 is averaging 1.4 million viewers on ESPN, a 47% uptick compared to the same period last year. 

Fast Paced

Liberty Media, which is also the parent company of the Atlanta Braves and SiriusXM, generated $11.4 billion in total revenue in Q4 2021 across its three divisions. The company’s Formula One Group pocketed $787 million during the quarter, a 62.3% increase year-over-year.