Disney takes F1 to pay TV with ESPN

The Walt Disney Company announced last week the broadcast of Formula 1 for Latin America, both through its Fox Action premium channel, as well as on ESPN and ESPN App. With the news, the main automobile competition in the world, which resumed its activities this last weekend after the pandemic period, it expanded its reach, as it went from being exclusively available on a premium channel to also being on pay TV operators grids. 

As officially reported by ESPN, up to now, the strategy was implemented only with the Austrian Grand Prix (GP), of which the channel aired the practices, qualifying and race, although it is unknown if the intention is to continue broadcasting under this modality (that is, broadcasting the F1 through a premium channel and on pay TV) throughout this season.

According to ESPN, the initiative was made in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. In Chile and Mexico the race will continue to be exclusive to Fox’s premium channels, while in Brazil, TV rights belong to Globo. Also, the broadcast was the same for all Disney channels in Latin America, and had the same staff that covered Formula 1 on Fox Sports.

This year, Formula 1 will have eight races, which will take place in Europe. The 2020 season, which was planned to start in March with the Australian GP as the opening event, was cancelled due to the advancement of the Coronavirus. Back then, Disney had decided that F1 rights should be shared between ESPN and Fox Sports, and established that Fox Action would have the exclusivity of the race, and that ESPN would broadcast the practices and qualifyings.

In its 2020 edition, the Austrian GP took place at the Red Bull Ring race course in that country. The champion of the competition was the pilot Valtteri Bottas, born in Finland.