It’s safe to say that Formula 1 has never been more popular – and Netflix reportedly wants to get in on the action.
Having boosted the sport’s prestige abroad with his mega-success drive to survive series, the streaming service has (second Business Insider (opens in new tab)) has entered into a bidding war with rival broadcasters NBCUniversal and ESPN for the rights to broadcast F1 races from 2023.
Disney-owned network ESPN has held the license to broadcast F1 coverage in the US since 2017, while Comcast-owned NBCUniversal did so five years earlier. The latter’s British arm, Sky, currently holds the rights to broadcast F1 in the UK and Ireland until 2024.
ESPN’s exclusive US deal expires at the end of 2022, and Business Insider reports that Formula 1 bosses are seeking a new deal worth $100 million. The former reportedly filed a $70 million IPO, while neither Netflix nor NBCUniversal has publicly disclosed the extent of their involvement in the talks.
In a statement provided to Business Insider, ESPN executive John Suchenski said, “We are aggressively pursuing a revamp – we feel we have an event distribution and presentation package that cannot be matched in the industry… It has been a mutually beneficial relationship. .”
“Understandably,” he added, “[Formula 1 is] looking for other options.”
Stream if you want to go faster
According to Business Insider sources, Netflix is one of those options. The streaming giant has reportedly been involved in talks with Formula 1 bosses for months now, and Netflix bigwigs have not been shy about their interest in securing exclusive rights to the sport.
In a 2021 interview with Der Spiegel (opens in new tab), company co-CEO Ted Sarandos said: “A few years ago, the Formula 1 rights were sold. At that time, we were not among the bidders. Today, we would think about it.”
Sarandos admitted during Netflix’s Q1 2022 earnings call that he and other executives “would have to see a way to grow a big revenue stream and a big profit stream” from sports coverage, although the recent admission by company of what is “exploring” live streaming content suggests a genuine willingness to embrace this business model revamp.
tracking the package
In any case, Netflix’s biggest rivals are already involved in sports streaming. Apple, for example, recently signed an agreement to broadcast Major League Baseball on Apple TV Plus and remains interested in securing the rights to certain NFL shows.
Amazon’s Prime Video service currently broadcasts the NFL’s Thursday Night Football series, as well as a variety of global Premier League football and tennis coverage, while Disney maintains a foothold in sports through ESPN and Hulu.
Up to NBCUniversal Peacock service, launched in 2020, is entitled to broadcast select MLB games throughout the season.
The thing is, sports streaming can be an effective (albeit admittedly dramatic) way for Netflix to connect subscriber leak.
In the new era of plentiful options and tight budgets, customers are choosing their subscription packages on a cost-effective basis, and the ability to offer F1 coverage – whether exclusively in the US or across all regions – would arguably improve the temperamental stock. from Netflix.