Formula 1’s popularity is surging in the U.S. and a number of suitors may be on the hunt for broadcast rights.
Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Business Insider reported over the weekend that the U.S. rights for motorsports’ top echelon is up for grabs and Amazon, ESPN, NBCUniversal and Netflix are all among the suitors.
ESPN has held the rights since 2017 and before that it was NBCUniversal.
According to Insider’s sources, F1 is targeting $100 million for the rights. Even though that’s still a lot lower than what other major U.S. sports command, ESPN reportedly submitted an opening bid of only around $70 million.
2022 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix
Netflix makes a lot of sense due to its global reach and the popularity of its own “Drive to Survive” series which has just confirmed two more seasons to cover the 2022 and 2023 F1 world championships, a series that has been influential in boosting F1’s popularity in the U.S.
A move into sports and other live events may also help Netflix attract new subscribers after it lost some 200,000 in the first quarter of the year. Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, said during a first quarter earnings call that Netflix was open to live-streaming events, assuming revenue growth and profits supported it.
Rival streaming services from Amazon and Apple have already made the transition, with Apple recently signing a deal with Major League Baseball and Amazon snagging NFL’s “Thursday Night Football.”
Note, F1 has its own app that allows you to stream the sport. Access costs $79.99 per year.