Virgin Media boost for London ePrix
June 22, 2015
By Colin Mann
UK quad-play operator Virgin Media is to partner with the Formula E all-electric race series for the forthcoming Visa London ePrix.
The deal will see Virgin Media become the local partner for the Battersea Park races on June 27th and 28th, working in collaboration with Formula E on a range of marketing activations, which will also include track signage during the double-header event.
Virgin Racing, part of the Virgin Group, is one of the 10 Formula E teams competing in the series with driver Sam Bird amongst the six title challengers.
Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said: “As the UK’s only true ultrafast Internet provider, speed and innovation are at the heart of what Virgin Media provides for millions of homes and businesses every day. We’re delighted to be backing Formula E in the London races, the ePrix is a world class innovation in motorsport.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, added: “Virgin Media is one of the leading and best known multimedia providers so it’s fantastic to be welcoming a brand of this stature to Formula E. It’s also a testament to the strength and global appeal of the series with Virgin Media joining an ever expanding list of international companies wishing to partner with Formula E and show their commitment to sustainability.”
Virgin Media’s parent company, Liberty Global, together with Discovery Communications, became a minority shareholder in Formula E Holdings Ltd, the company behind the organisation and promotion of the series, in March 2015.
“It is a significant step forward for Formula E to receive the backing of two major global media companies when we are barely halfway through our first season,” said Agag at the time. “The experience and know-how they bring will provide a significant boost to Formula E. We look forward to creating new opportunities together to develop and promote premium content for a global audience.”
Formula E has secured a number of TV distribution deals, notably with Sky Deutschland, ITV in the UK for live coverage and BT Sport for highlights, Canal Plus in France, TV Asahi in Japan, FOX Sports, with full US exclusivity across the FOX family of networks, including FOX Sports 1. FOX Sports also has exclusive and non-exclusive rights in more than 80 territories.
Although some of these deals are multi-year, the involvement of Liberty Global and Discovery suggests that future rights and coverage may follow on affiliated platforms.
David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications, has previously said that the broadcaster’s acquisition of a controlling interest in pan-European sports channel Eurosport has given it the opportunity to create a bigger and better service, and admitted that it would consider acquiring premium sports rights.