Formula E signs multi-year broadcast deal with TNT Sports

Pay-TV broadcaster gains exclusive coverage of all-electric series in UK and Ireland.
  • All 17 races available live on TNT Sports and Discovery+
  • Deal reportedly includes FTA sub-licensing option on a race-by-race basis

Electric single-seater championship Formula E has signed a multi-year media rights deal with pay-TV broadcaster TNT Sports in the UK and Ireland.

Live coverage of all 17 races next season will be available exclusively on TNT Sports, with live and on-demand streaming on Discovery+, although the latter will not be available in Ireland.

Until now, the all-electric series was available on free-to-air (FTA) TV in the UK, but Channel 4 decided against renewing its most recent two-year deal.

Formula E had bounced around between the BBC, ITV4 and Channel 5 in the years prior, highlighting its inability to secure a consistent slot on FTA TV.

However, Autosport reports that this new deal with TNT Sports includes the option for certain rounds to be broadcast FTA on a race-by-race basis as the season progresses.

“This is incredible news for sports fans in the UK who already watch premium live sports on TNT Sports,” said Jeff Dodds, chief executive of Formula E.

“From next month they will get to enjoy the new thrill of Formula E racing, the most competitive motorsport on TV. For existing Formula E fans, we are excited to present TNT Sports as the new home of Formula E in the UK.

“With experienced professional sportsperson and broadcaster Jermaine Jenas leading our stellar line-up of expert presenters to provide his original perspective for viewers, we cannot wait to get to work in Mexico City.”

Last month, Formula E confirmed that Whisper would produce all English-language live race coverage and programming, replacing North One Television in the role.

This will include a new hour-long build-up show before every live race, while there will also be a revamped show the night before every race weekend in a more informal, magazine-style format.

TNT Sports’ multi-year commitment to Formula E comes off the back of the all-electric series’ most-watched season, as global audiences exceeded 225 million, a four per cent year-over-year (YoY) increase.

BlackBook says…

Moving behind a paywall may seem like a strange move for Formula E but, despite its viewership gains around the world, it has struggled to develop momentum in the UK.

This is most likely due to the series' failure to find a consistent broadcast home, but even its YouTube channel has laboured recently with many videos unable to clear 10,000 views, including the last four.

MotoGP offers a cautionary tale of a motorsport series moving behind a paywall, with its average audience of one million viewers on BBC Two in 2013 falling to 277,470 viewers for its FTA return to ITV in 2021.

However, Formula E does not have the following previously enjoyed by MotoGP in the UK, so this move is unlikely to have the same negative impact on audience numbers.

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