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Formula 1 fans in the United States will essentially have access to the European Sky Sports feed this season.
ESPN and ABC secured the rights for F1 during the offseason, but they also announced they would not provide their own on-air talent. On Tuesday, it was confirmed that the networks would join forces with the European network for prerace, race and postrace coverage. Sky coverage includes David Croft on commentary with driver analysts Martin Brundle, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and Paul di Resta.
ESPN motorsports coordinating producer Kate Jackson said this was done to provide American F1 fans with the best possible content available.
“We are excited to work with the Sky Sports team,” Jackson said. “Their coverage of F1 is second to none, and we look forward to bringing their expertise and authenticity to our audiences.”
Conversely, Sky Sports executive producer Scott Young sees this as a means to expand SkyF1 into an international market.
“We are delighted to be working with ESPN and ABC, and with this partnership extend Sky Sports F1’s award-winning coverage overseas,” Young said. “Each season, we look to find new ways to improve the broadcast and entertain our viewers — and this year will be no different.”
The agreement for ESPN to air the Sky Sports coverage was arranged by Formula 1 itself. ESPN and Sky Sports production personnel will work together on the U.S. presentation, with Sky Sports producing special segments that will appear on various ESPN platforms to supplement the television coverage.
Sky’s F1 coverage includes storytelling innovations such as Sky’s exclusive “Sky Pad,” a large, interactive touchscreen TV used by pundits and guests to dissect highlights and information; race control and pit wall views, and some of the most advanced on-screen information available to race fans.
Sky was awarded “Best TV Broadcaster for Outstanding Coverage” by F1 in 2012 and 2013.
– Matt Weaver is an associate motorsports editor at Autoweek. Before becoming a journalist, he was a dirt track racer and short track cheeseburger connoisseur.
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