Netflix may have lost a few subscriberships in the most recent financial quarters, but it does not affect the fact that the streaming giant still holds all the aces in the play. Well, it is simply proven as the demand for TV rights for Formula 1 races has skyrocketed due to the success of Netflix’s smash-hit F1 racing reality series Formula 1: Drive to Survive.
Apparently, the docuseries Formula 1: Drive to Survive made its debut on Netflix in March 2019. Having four seasons till now, it has attracted a humongous amount of audience to Formula 1. When its fourth season was aired on Netflix, the show raised up the ladder and held number 5 in Netflix’s charts with 28 million hours of views within just five days (March 7-13). Hence the raise of stakes in the new ESPN deal with Formula 1.
The popularity of Formula 1 on Netflix led to a gigantic raise in the deal to win the rights over the game.
The Sports Business Journal announced on Friday that F1 and ESPN had reaffirmed their rights agreement through 2025. According to the publication, for the following three years, ESPN would pay $75–$90 million yearly, a huge increase from the $5 million it presently gives the racing league. That prior deal was also for three years. And all this because of its fandom on Netflix.
According to a source with knowledge of the new handshake agreement, who spoke to IndieWire, the unsigned deal is on “the lower side” of the range cited by SBJ. Thus, ESPN will reportedly pay 15–17 times more than it has previously, and it wasn’t even the highest bidder. Amazon offered a higher bid- 20* times more than ESPN’s current deal. Netflix, too, was a bidder but could not meet the high stakes. Okay, hands down, budget cuts are in full effect around the Netflix offices.
Here’s what the records say
Fascinatingly, a few races will stream exclusively on ESPN+ thanks to the upcoming ESPN contract. But the majority of events will show on ABC or ESPN on traditional television.
One must also notice that the 2021 Formula 1 season garnered the highest broadcast ratings ever in the United States. The 2021 Formula One season averaged 934,000 viewers per race with broadcasts on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. That broke the old season-long record set back in 1995, when there were, on average, 748,000 viewers.
Moreover, the current season is performing around 40% better than 2021 with an average of 1.3 million viewers per race. Well, thanks to our streaming giant Netflix.
Have you already streamed Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix? What do you think about it? Are you planning to contribute to the viewership of the live streaming of Formula 1 on ESPN? Do let us know in the comment section.