Netflix ‘in four-way tussle’ to secure mammoth broadcasting F1 deal in America

Formula One cancels Russian Grand Prix following invasion of Ukraine

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Netflix is involved in a titanic battle to secure the rights to broadcast F1 in the US. The giant streaming platform is home to the popular series Drive to Survive, which offers fans a behind-the-scenes look at the drivers and races during an F1 season.

Now they would like to take their coverage of the sport to the next level and move toward a new subscription model in 2023 and the F1 broadcasting rights would be an ideal fit. According to Insider’s Chief Media Correspondent Claire Atkinson, F1 is now aiming for a price of $100 million (£79.5 million).

ESPN, whose deal to show the sport in the States expires at the end of this year, has made a new bid of $70 million (£55.75 million), more than ten times as much as the current deal), but F1 have yet to commit to a potential buyer. The mega companies face stiff competition from NBCUniversal and Amazon; the former previously held the rights until 2017 but lost them to ESPN.

The popularity of F1 in the United States is at an all-time high, with the acclaimed Netflix series playing a significant role. The country hosted its first-ever Miami Grand Prix at the International Autodrome around the Hard Rock Stadium last month, which attracted large audiences both at the track and around the world over the successful weekend.

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Next year the sport will host its first Las Vegas GP, which will see the States host three F1 races next season, along with the race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas which has been part of the circuit since 2012. Prior to the Miami race, Lewis Hamilton spoke about the rising popularity of the sport stateside.

“It has been nerve-wracking because I think it’s going to be such a huge event for us,” he told Good Morning America. “We obviously have the race in Austin, Texas, which has always been amazing. The first race I had out here was Indianapolis in 2007. But now, with the Netflix series Drive to Survive growing, we have two Grand Prix in the States and another one in Vegas next year, so it’s going to be huge.

“I think [F1 has cracked the US market] now. I’ve been coming out here for a long, long time and I never quite understood why people weren’t into F1. Everyone knew NASCAR, and obviously you’ve got such huge sport fans out here. This Netflix show has just brought massive awareness, especially through the pandemic, and now it’s booming.”

When reacting to the announcement of the Las Vegas GP back in March, the seven-time champion said: “Knowing that it’s a real party city, it’s difficult for a racing driver! How am I going to focus that weekend? There’s going to be so much going on.” Hamilton also expressed what most of his rivals on the grid will be thinking, saying: “It’s going to be pretty hardcore.”

F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali was present as the news was announced during an event in Sin City. Domenicali said: “This is an incredible moment for Formula 1 that demonstrates the huge appeal and growth of our sport with a third race in the US. Las Vegas is a destination known around the world for its excitement, hospitality, thrills, and of course, the famous Strip. There is no better place for Formula 1 to race than in the global entertainment capital of the world and we cannot wait to be here next year.”

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