Advanced Television

Eurosport secures FTA Formula E deal

September 16, 2015

By Colin Mann

Eurosport has secured the exclusive TV and digital rights to the FIA Formula E Championship for the next two seasons in Germany, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, as well as Iceland on a non-exclusive basis.

News of the deal follows Eurosport parent company Discovery Communications’ March 2015 move, together with Liberty Global, to become a minority shareholder in Formula E Holdings Ltd, the company behind the organisation and promotion of the electric single-seater car race series inaugurated by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA.

Ali Russell, Director of Media and Strategic Partnerships at Formula E, said: “I’m pleased to announce the new broadcast deal with Eurosport for the next two seasons of the FIA Formula E Championship. Following the success of the inaugural season we want to ensure audiences can continue to watch and engage with the series. This latest agreement reinforces our outreach across key target markets in Europe alongside other existing deals.”

Peter Hutton, Chief Executive Officer, Eurosport said: “Motorsport is one of Eurosport’s pillars, with the channel broadcasting major events including MotoGP, FIA WTCC, Le Mans 24 Hours and the World Superbike Championship. Securing the rights to Formula E further bolsters the channel’s portfolio with a unique brand of racing. It supports our strategy to bring must-have content to local viewers whilst reaching a wider audience.”

“Discovery Communications took a stake in Formula E Operations Ltd, which shows the belief in the potential growth of the sport. The inaugural Formula E season was a thrilling spectacle for fans and it will be exciting to see how the sport develops as it further establishes itself in the motorsports calendar.”

“We are very pleased to join Formula E’s ownership group. With unmatched global distribution, our Velocity, Turbo and Eurosport brands, and 30 years of experience as a global media company, Discovery’s unique expertise will help develop this new and unique motor sport,” said Bruce Campbell, Discovery Communications Chief Development & Digital Officer and General Counsel at the time of the investment.

The deal includes all events for each of the 11 rounds including free practice, qualifying practice and the race itself. The second season of the FIA Formula E Championship begins in Beijing on 24 October 2015 and runs through to the season finale double-header in London. The series will compete on 10 unique urban tracks located in the heart of the world’s greatest cities such as Paris, Buenos Aires and Berlin.

The championship sees 10 teams, each with two drivers including F1 names like Jacques Villeneuve (1997 World Champion), Nick Heidfeld and Nelson Piquet Jr (current title holder), as well as 2014 World Endurance Champion Sebastien Buemi and 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Loic Duval. Other famous racers include Nicolas Prost (Alain’s son) and Bruno Senna (Ayrton’s nephew).

In the inaugural season of Formula E, all teams used identical single-seater cars. From season two, Formula E will operate as an ‘open championship’, allowing teams and manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their own innovations in electrical energy.

Hans-Jurgen Abt, team principal ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, said: “Formula E live on free television – that’s great news for all motorsport fans in Germany. We already received a lot of positive feedback about our commitment during the first season and are now looking forward to making the next step together with Eurosport. Our race cars are already on their way to Beijing and our team is well prepared. We are ready for the season opener in China.”

In its first season, Formula E 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 including Canada, Latin America/Caribbean, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia and other areas of Asia, India and Africa.

Although some of these deals are multi-year, the involvement of Liberty Global and Discovery suggested that future rights and coverage may follow on affiliated platforms.

Further TV deals will be announced in the coming weeks.

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