‘We want to create a home in the US’: Formula E signs three-year media rights deal with CBS and Roku

Commercial network and Paramount+ to show five live races, while Roku will broadcast 11.

The all-electric Formula E series has signed a three-year broadcast deal with Paramount-owned CBS and streaming aggregator Roku. 

Beginning in January 2024, five races will be aired via the series' long-standing US broadcast partner CBS, the most Formula E races on linear TV ever. These will be simulcast on streaming platform Paramount+. 

As part of the agreement, CBS Sports Network will show one highlights programme per round.

The new deal also sees 11 races shown on Roku, specifically on the streaming brand's free-to-access Sports Experience hub. 

This deal represents the first entry into live sports for Roku, which began life as a hardware offering before developing its own software for users.

For Formula E, the important thing is that Roku users will have access to the full suite of races.

“We wanted to create a home of Formula E in the US,” Aarti Dabas, chief media officer at Formula E, told BlackBook Motorsport. “[Roku] is not just a streamer, it’s an aggregator.”

“You can get all channels available on Roku, so even if there’s five races on CBS, people who are consuming through Roku will get those races on CBS.

“The message we can spread is watch everything on Roku, it’s a simple message.”

As an existing partner, CBS could have pursued exclusivity with the all-electric series, but its approach was far more collaborative.

“They were pretty open about [us seeking a digital partner],” explains Dabas. “In the US, broadcasters are more mature, these packages happen in many of the US sports.”

Interestingly, the deal only covers 16 races of the provisional 17-race calendar next season, but this gives Formula E flexibility.

Dabas continued: “We have an option: we could go six [races] on CBS, we could go 12 [races] on Roku. Both partners are pretty open to it, we could go either way.

“This doesn’t restrict the way the calendar works. When we actually did the deal, we did it on the basis of the previous [16-race] calendar.”

It is not yet confirmed which races will be broadcast through each channel, but Dabas reveals “the details are clear about how we split it”.

The deal follows Formula E’s inaugural race in Portland, a sellout event that is set to return next season for the first year of the new broadcast deal. 

Share

Related content