On The Open Highway: NBC To Air Four F1 Races This Year, Beginning With Monaco
NBC will "pre-empt its Sunday morning staples 'Today' and 'Meet the Press' this May to show the Monaco Grand Prix live" on May 26 at 7:30am ET, according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The telecast "marks the first time the famed race will be aired live on U.S. broadcast TV." NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said, “Monaco captures what Formula One is. It’s got the glamour and the celebrities.” Mickle notes the Monaco Grand Prix will be the "first of four F1 races that air live on NBC this year." The other three -- Montreal on June 9; Austin on Nov. 17; and Brazil on Nov. 24 -- "give F1 unprecedented network coverage in the U.S." Another 13 races will "air on NBC Sports Network and two races will air on CNBC because of a scheduling conflict" with the Tour de France on NBC Sports Net. The net’s sales team "signed a deal with Rolex that makes the watch company the presenting sponsor of all of its F1 coverage." It also "picked up advertising commitments from ExxonMobil, Mercedes-Benz, Pirelli, John Deere and other companies." Miller said, “We’ve gotten tremendous sponsor and advertising support before we’ve even broadcast one race.” Mickle notes NBC Sports "plans to block off three hours of coverage for every F1 race" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/11 issue). NBC is billing its broadcast as “Mimosas from Monaco” (USA TODAY, 3/11).
OPEN TO DISCUSSION: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds reported NBC Sports Group will “televise 200 hours of open wheel racing in 2013" with its coverage of F1 and IndyCar racing. In addition to the F1 races, NBC Sports Group “will air practices, qualifying, pre- and post-race studio shows, and behind-the-scenes programs.” Three-time defending F1 champion Sebastian Vettel will be the “first driver profiled in the first-ever episode of 'F1 36,'" which will air March 29 at 7:00pm ET. "F1 36" is the “latest in the NBC Sports Group’s original behind-the-scenes series.” The net also launched a "new website and plans to stream races later in the year under the ‘TV Everywhere’ flag” (MULTICHANNEL.com, 3/11).