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ESPN to go ad-free for remainder of F1 season

NEWS STORY
10/04/2018

Following the uproar over its coverage of the season opener, ESPN is to broadcast its F1 coverage ad-free for the remainder of the season.

"Shambolic" doesn't do justice to the American broadcaster's coverage of the season opener, with fans taking to social media to vent their frustration over endless ad breaks and no updates on what they'd missed once coverage resumed.

"We deeply apologize to Formula 1 fans for the technical issues that caused them to miss the first 20 minutes of the pre-race show for the Australian Grand Prix," tweeted ESPN in the midst of the broadcasting debacle. "We are sorry that our first F1 telecast did not go as smoothly as we would have liked but we are taking steps to prevent those same issues from occurring in the future. We thank the fans for watching and for their incredible passion for Formula 1."

Now, ESPN, which gets F1 for free and uses Sky Sports' coverage, has announced that following fan feedback after Melbourne the remainder of the year's races and qualifying sessions will be shown ad-free, as was the case in Bahrain.

"We intend to present the F1 races in this way for the balance of the 2018 season," said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, 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."

The news comes 24 hours after it was revealed that Mothers Polish is to be the presenting sponsor for the remainder of the season's coverage.

According to ESPN, its live telecast of the Bahrain GP on ESPN2 averaged 682,914 viewers, the largest US cable audience for an F1 race since 2012 (The USGP on Speed, 688,329).

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by hutch, 13/04/2018 18:58

"Glad to here the rest of the season will be add free. I watched the Australian GP and didn't mind the split screen during the adds, but thought why not delete the sound for the adds and leave the race sound on. At least the viewers could hear any radio transmission between drivers and Tech. Also watching the Bahrain GP it was hard to hear the announcers at times. Don't know if increasing their mic volume would help. Keep up the good work. Thanks."

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2. Posted by Trixi, 12/04/2018 20:45

"Thank you ESPN F1. I for one am thrilled for how you are making positive adjustments. So, we can use some pre AND/or post race chatter that YOU can find from the likes of former drivers who haven’t fallen asleep at the wheel yet. :-0"

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3. Posted by Spartacus, 11/04/2018 17:09

"This is incredibly amazing to me. It is not like ESPN is broadcasting an F1 race from scratch. All they are doing is a broadcast feed pick from SKY and adding their own graphics and "cutting in" commercial breaks when needed. There are also many networks that already produce race broadcasts so it is not hard to find out the intricacies within. How bare bones can you get and still mess it up? Bahrain however, was a big improvement from Australia's broadcast. It was acceptable. In regards to SPEED/NBC Sports coverage, I thought it was pretty good, with the studio appearances and bookend analysis, it was a complete broadcast. What I would like to see is the real detail oriented visuals and discussions as to the engines, suspension, aero, brakes and other. Mostly it is just superficial info. Currently, the ESPN F1 race tv coverage using ESPN as a secondary host appears to be exactly what it is. "

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4. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 11/04/2018 12:21

""Only question is why did it take so long.?"

They (ESPN) changed for the second race. How much faster could they have reacted?

Why would anyone want to go back to the rubbish coverage of previous seasons? And please don't use the "No American commentators" as an excuse, because NBC didn't either, other than when Varsha subbed for Diffey (who is Australian by birth).

So far, ESPN have done well, first, by using Sky's service, and, more importantly, LISTENING to viewers and acting."

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5. Posted by NS Biker, 11/04/2018 0:18

"Huge disappointment .... sure gonna miss watching the same chicken sandwich adds played 2 and 3 times in succession while the racing is going on.
I suspect that the advertisers got wind of the negative aspect of viewers tossing stuff at the screen during the event. Only question is why did it take so long.?
Still planning to pay for the internet feed if and when it comes available. Then I can toss the TSN connection and save even more $$$."

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6. Posted by ESTM PRFT, 10/04/2018 23:45

"What's the catch? Does ESPN actually have a soul?"

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