ESPN Confirms Commercial-Free Formula 1 Coverage for Rest of 2018
After several snafus during the first two races of the Formula 1 season, ESPN redeems itself in a big way.
The world's largest sports TV network, ESPN, has confirmed that it will provide a commercial-free broadcast of the 2018 Formula 1 season for the remaining 19 races. The announcement comes after the ad-free format was trialed during last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.
ESPN announced prior to the beginning of the racing season that it would team up with Sky Sports, one of the leading European sports networks, to provide first-class coverage of the pinnacle of motor racing. Of course, the transition didn't happen without encountering a few bumps along the way, with several glitches plaguing the season-opening race in Australia. Thankfully, the second round of the world championship saw considerable improvements with a nearly flawless broadcast throughout the weekend.
According to the statement, the new changes will be implemented during the qualifying and race portions of the race weekend but didn't specify if the practice sessions broadcasted over on ESPN3 will also be commercial free. In addition, it's not clear as to what will happen when the Sky Sports broadcast itself goes into a commercial break or splits into a multi-screen in order to show an advertiser's message.
"We intend to present the F1 races in this way for the balance of the 2018 season," said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming & Scheduling. "F1 fans are passionate and we listened to a lot of feedback from them—the fans are very informed and the feedback we received was both polite and constructive. It helped us."
"We don't have a completely finished product but we're very happy with the way the changes after Australia were received. We'll continue to keep working to make it better for the fans."
Sunday's main race coverage will continue to be sponsored by the popular line of car care products Mother's Polish, but it's not clear if their sponsorship model has been revised due to the lack of other advertisement revenues. For now, all we can do is be stoked about commercial-free Formula 1 racing.