Terrible News: ESPN Lands F1 Broadcast Rights In America For 2018

Devastating news for Formula One fans in the United States this morning as news broke NBC Sports would no longer broadcast F1 in 2018. Instead media conglomerate ESPN would take over under a “multi-year” contract. This is devastating news for everyone that has grown to love the NBCSN F1 crew that has done a phenomenal job presenting F1 the last 5 years.

ESPN did not mention who their broadcast team will be. Their track record for picking good motorsports broadcast teams is less than stellar. From Allen Bestwick, Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear presenting IndyCar in a stoic manner. To Dale Jarret, Allen Bestwick and Andy Petree on the NASCAR side, their track record is well, awful. The last 5 Indy 500’s have been some of the best in history, you wouldn’t know that listening to the ABC broadcast.

On top of terrible commentator lineups, ESPN’s production is generally shit as well. ESPN on the IndyCar side, they over produce things, focus too much on wives and girlfriends and miss 90% of the action on the track to focus on the leader by himself. On the NASCAR production, there was nothing but overproduced graphics that looked like a high school AV kid got too excited. Too many studios breaks for pointless information and terribly corny jokes.

Sad To See NBC Go

NBC has become the home for motorsports in recent years. Their F1 team was top notch with Leigh Diffey as the lead and Steve Matchett and David Hobbs filling in the color roles. A trio that truly played off each other well and seemed to genuinely have a good time. Throw everyone’s favorite Brit Will Buxton and you had a dream team. NBC stood behind them and gave them everything they need.

NBC allowed Buxton to do Off The Grid specials and show off the cities and countries F1 races are in. Building up the ambiance of a race and allowing everyone to see life outside of the track. Their graphics are always on point, their coverage is second to none. The call-ins with Zac Brown and Eric Boullier, the Buxton grid walk. All of that gone after the checkered flag falls in Abu Dhabi.

From the NBC statement, they said they didn’t want to compete again the rights holder. Which tends to indicate Liberty Media is going to create a pay per view option for F1 in addition to the ESPN deal.

We’re Stuck With ESPN

Well, these are the cards we’ve been dealt. It’s a shitty hand but you have to make the best of it. ESPN put out their schedule lineup for 2018 already as well. It appears there will be no pre-race show and the broadcast will be anchored by the world feed broadcast team.

ESPN said that they want to build F1 in the United States. However by using the world feed and having no pre-race show is certainly not a way to grow it. Maybe they’ll add more as the seasons go on but for now, that’s it.

One point Adam Stern from SBJ mentioned is ESPN isn’t paying for programming. That very much points to Liberty Media starting their own streaming service. Time will tell but for now, this is devastating news for F1 fans in America.

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2 thoughts on “Terrible News: ESPN Lands F1 Broadcast Rights In America For 2018

  1. As a very long time F1 fan, this makes me sick to have to tune in to ESPN to watch F1 racing!!!!!!
    And no pre-race show?!?!?!? What the F–K? How are we going to keep up with the drivers & teams. And how am I going to keep my wife interested? She loves the driver input!

    Very Disappointed!!

  2. This has to be the most devistating news to hit F1 fans! I truly believe this is a funeral for F1. NBC crew was hands down the best team out there. I for one will keep up with F1 news but I certainly will not tune in to watch on ESPN.

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