NBC Sports Group is the new home for Formula 1 in the U.S. from 2013. A four-year contract next year will see four races on NBC and the remainder will be on NBCSN, the same network that is the cable home for the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Confirmation of NBC's decision came to the Associated Press Sunday afternoon, followed later by a tweet from the NBCSN account that read, “We are very excited to announce our partnership with Formula 1 Racing! Stay tuned for more details.”
NBC subsequently confirmed that all races will be aired live, with live streaming also planned for the 20-race schedule, as well as practice sessions and qualifying. More than 100 hours of programming are expected.
The four NBC races for 2013 are the Canadian Grand Prix June 9, then the final three races of the season at Abu Dhabi, Austin and Brazil in November. The inaugural Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial is scheduled for June 16, the same date as the U.S. Open golf final round, also an NBC property.
NBC officially confirmed the move on Monday, now with exclusive media rights in the U.S. Beyond airing on TV, all 20 races will be live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group's live-stream platform that is available online at NBCSports.com as well as on mobile and tablet apps.
“We are thrilled to add the top international open-wheel racing series to our already-strong motorsports portfolio,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “Formula 1 is a perfect fit for the NBC Sports Group as it provides content across three platforms – broadcast, cable and digital – for nine months a year with more than 100 hours of premier programming annually.”
“NBC and its various media assets have a huge profile throughout the United States and I am obviously delighted to have concluded this agreement. I feel that they will promote Formula 1 to a level not seen before in the United States,” said F1 commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone. “I very much look forward to working with NBC. Together, we will endeavor to broaden the scope of Formula 1 coverage available to U.S. viewers incorporating additional digital content in particular that has not been available before.”
NBC will be a busy network in the offseason as it relates to racing properties. The network has not yet made a decision on who will replace Bob Jenkins as IndyCar's lap-by-lap announcer, while it remains to be seen whether any of the SPEED F1 on-air talent will be able to join on NBC.
Five F1 races – Malaysia, China, Germany, Belgium, Korea – will serve as lead-ins to IndyCar races – St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Toronto, Sonoma and Houston. Those occur on March 24, April 14, July 14, Aug. 25 and Oct. 6, respectively.