ESPN Bringing Back Commercial-Free F1 Coverage
ESPN is planning to bring back commercial-free F1 coverage this year after the move was well-received by fans and media last season. The network picked up F1’s U.S. media rights last season from NBC Sports and decided to use Sky Sports’ feed instead of having its own commentary and production team. That led to issues during the ’18 season opener in Australia, as the broadcast was criticized by fans for cutting in and out of the broadcast at awkward times. ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Scheduling Burke Magnus following that worked out a deal to make ESPN’s coverage commercial free. The move was possible both because ESPN is not believed to be paying a rights fee to F1 and because car-care product company Mothers Polish, which was set to be a major advertiser for ESPN’s F1 coverage, agreed to the switch. ESPN said Mothers Polish will again return as the principal partner for the commercial-free coverage.