Formula 1 is in active talks with Amazon over a deal to stream F1 races on the Prime Video streaming platform, as the sport seeks to expand the viewership base beyond television broadcasting. This comes at a time when the F1 2020 season is finished and the sport is on the off-season break before the 2021 season starts early next year. The discussions suggest that F1, owned by Liberty Media Corporation, is seeking to expand the viewership base and attract a younger audience to the sport.
The Financial Times reports that Chase Carey, F1’s outgoing chief executive has said that substantive discussions are ongoing with Amazon and all global digital platforms. “They’re [an] incredibly important potential partner and an opportunity for us to expand and grow our business,” he said. There is however no clarity on who the other global digital platforms might be. This wouldn’t be Amazon’s first tryst with sports broadcasting, as it already has the rights for broadcasting some matches of the English Premier League in the UK as well as NFL matches in the US. Amazon had also said earlier this month that they intend to aggressively bid for cricket broadcast rights, particularly for the Indian region. The streaming platform has secured broadcast and streaming rights for New Zealand cricket in India for the duration of 2021 to 2026.
At this time, the Formula 1 broadcast rights for India are with The Walt Disney Company owned Star India. The Formula 1 races are broadcast on Live television on the Star Sports channels and live streamed on the subscription based Disney+ Hotstar video streaming platform. Liberty Media had acquired Formula 1 in 2016, and the sport has always commanded premium money for the broadcast rights. For instance, Sky in the UK paid $250 million per year for the broadcast rights in the region on the Sky Sports channels as well as online streaming. It was in 2014 that Star Sports bagged the F1 broadcast and streaming rights for 7 years.