Netflix, Amazon, ESPN, Apple in race for live Formula 1 TV rights

Netflix, Amazon, ESPN, Apple in race for live Formula 1 TV rights

Netflix is among suitors who have been in the hunt for Formula 1 broadcast rights in what would mark the streaming pioneer’s first move into live sports coverage after some reluctance to enter that world.

Rights from Formula 1 offer bang for the buck with a worldwide following and relatively lower rights fees vs. major American sports, and the rights at ESPN expire at the end of the year.

Netflix and ESPN have been in talks with FOM for months, according to the report, and Amazon.com and NBCUniversal is also in the loop. Comcast’s Sky holds UK and Ireland Formula 1 rights through 2024.

ESPN has held U.S. Formula 1 rights since 2016, while NBCUniversal had the rights for five years before that. The racing group is targeting $100 million, while Insider says ESPN’s opening bid was in the $70 million range.

While Netflix has avoided live sports even as rivals like Amazon.com and Apple jump in on football and baseball broadcasts.

But there’s a more obvious path in Formula 1, as Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive documentary series has marked a long-running hit, and boosted popularity in the sport. So much so that a further two-year extension was inked between the parties.

Earlier this year, Netflix began talks with the NFL, not about showing games, but rather “shoulder” programming like Drive to Survive, such as reality/documentary shows about the pro football league. (Report by Seeking Alpha)