After raising the profile of Formula 1 in the United States with the popular docuseries, Drive to Survive, Netflix has reportedly joined a bidding war over the circuit’s media rights in America.
Netflix, which has yet to break into live sports, has been in talks with F1 for several months, according to Business Insider, which also reports that Amazon Prime and NBC Universal are on board.
ESPN currently owns the US media rights to the sport until the end of 2022. Sources told Insider the network has offered $70m to retain those rights, but F1 is targeting a price tag of around $100m. .
An ESPN spokesperson confirmed to DailyMail.com that the network was negotiating to retain F1 media rights, but declined to comment on specific figures.
‘We are aggressively pursuing renewal – we believe we have a distribution package and presentation of events that cannot be matched in the industry and the growth in viewership and exposure they have received since their return to ESPN platforms in 2018 reflects what we can do for them, he says. “It has been a mutually beneficial relationship.
“Naturally they are looking at other options,” Suchenski continued. “We had very good meetings with them in Miami recently and are in constant communication.”
Sports Business Insider previously reported NBC’s interest and ESPN’s talks with F1 representatives at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix – one of three races the circuit will hold in the United States next year when Las Vegas will be added to the schedule.
Spokespersons for F1, Amazon and Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An NBC spokesperson declined to comment on DailyMail.com.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos recently played down the idea of using live sports to boost business after the company reported a net loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter.
“I’m not saying we’ll never play sports, but we’ll have to find a way to develop a big revenue stream and a big profit stream,” Sarandos said on an earnings call in April.
However, in 2021, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings raised the possibility during an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel.
“A few years ago the rights to Formula 1 were sold,” Hastings said as quoted by BroadbandTVNews.com. At the time we were not among the bidders, today we would think about it.
Former F1 marketing director and ESPN executive Sean Bratches told BI that Netflix was a natural choice for the 76-year-old racing circuit.
“Based on the success of ‘Drive to Survive’, it would seem obvious that Netflix would be an interested participant and Formula 1 would feel the same way,” said Bratches, who helped negotiate the deal for the series.
Insider writes that F1 is a good sports media anchor for Netflix because it doesn’t cost billions of dollars, like the NFL or NBA, and could help with streaming service plans to add a level of entertainment. ad-supported subscription at the end of the year. .
Ratings have certainly been strong on ESPN, where the Monaco Grand Prix averaged 1.4 million viewers on May 29, up 43% from 2021.