ESPN remains all-in for the rights to Formula One races in the United States despite 9% decrease in viewership and competition to stream the sport

  • The number of F1 viewers in the United States has decreased due to the lack of competition
  • ESPN’s F1 deal expires in 2025, with Amazon, NBC and Netflix looking to make bids
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ESPN is going all-in on the rights to stream Formula 1 in the United States, despite American viewership declining this year.

After record years in 2021 and 2022, ESPN’s F1 viewership is down 9% with two races left this season.

One of the main factors causing viewership to drop to an average of 1.1 million viewers is the contrasting time zones. Because races typically take place in Europe, fans in the US have to get up in the middle of the night or early in the morning to see them.

Even if the Las Vegas Grand Prix takes place on US soil on Saturday, the race will start at 10pm local time or 1am on the East Coast.

Another factor is the competitive imbalance in sports. Red Bull and Mercedes have taken turns in championships over the past ten years.

ESPN looks set to renew their F1 contract in 2025 despite declining US viewership

F1 will host the Las Vegas Grand Prix this weekend, their first event in the city since 1982

The last time another team won a constructors’ championship was Brawn in 2009. Red Bull won the title from 2019-2013 before Mercedes embarked on a title run from 2014-2021.

Red Bull regained its competitive advantage and won the constructors’ title in 2022 with Max Verstappen leading the way. Verstappen is also favored to win the Las Vegas GP this weekend.

ESPN reportedly pays $85 million annually for the American rights to F1 races. ESPN will have some competition for F1 rights by the time they renew their contract in 2025.

Amazon and NBC have been reported as potential suitors for the sport. Netflix, who recently tried their hand at live sports, are also riding the success of their ‘F1: Drive to Survive’ docuseries.

The first F1 event in Sin City since 1982 gets the Major League treatment. In addition to turning the iconic Las Vegas strip into a colorful $500 million track, crews from Good Morning America and Sports Center will be on site for the race.