ESPN to offer Sky coverage of F1 in first year on the grid
ESPN, the US sports broadcaster, is to use the feed of UK pay-television operator Sky as the basis for its coverage of Formula 1 this season.
Last year, ESPN agreed a multi-year deal to take over from NBC as the US home of the sport from 2018.
However, it will essentially be providing Sky’s widely-acclaimed broadcasts of the 21 grands prix, including the commentary of David Croft and ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle (pictured, right), and pre-race and post-race analysis.
The tie-up was arranged by Formula 1 itself, and ESPN and Sky Sports production personnel will work together on the US presentation, with Sky producing special segments that will appear on various ESPN platforms to support the TV coverage.
Scott Young, the newly-appointed Head of Formula 1 at Sky Sports, said: “We are delighted to be working with ESPN and ABC, and with this partnership extend Sky Sports F1’s award-winning coverage overseas. Each season we look to find new ways to improve the broadcast and entertain our viewers and this year will be no different.”
Sky is now the main home of Formula 1 in the UK, and will offer exclusive live coverage of the sport from 2019 in a six-year deal valued at over £1 billion ($1.38 billion).
Under its new rights deal, ESPN is to show the US Grand Prix and Mexican Grand Prix live and free to air on sister channel ABC in 2018. The national network will also offer a full re-run of the Monaco Grand Prix on 27 May, after an earlier live broadcast on ESPN, following the Indianapolis 500.
In addition, the main ESPN channel will show the British and Canadian Formula 1 rounds, while the other 16 races will all be on ESPN2.
The season starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 25 March.