Speed TV have today confirmed that they have lost the rights to screen Formula 1 in America, ending a 17 year association between them and Formula One Management.
In a statement to the Association Press, a Fox Sports Media Group spokesman (who own Speed TV), said “It’s disappointing to learn that F1 has elected to move forward with a different media partner. Speed has been the U.S. voice of F1 since the mid ’90s, and it is a passion for many people at the network. Fox Sports Media Group made what we believed to be a fiscally responsible bid based on the sport’s current viewership levels, but F1 has elected to go in another direction. We wish them well.”
The news comes at an unsurprising time, and supports earlier reports that Speed were set to drop their entire Formula 1 team for 2013, something noted by Will Buxton, who said on Twitter that he had no contract with anyone in place for 2013. Now, it turns out that Speed have gone the full stretch and dropped Formula 1 altogether. One has to question now, whether the Speed channel will even exist in 2013…
A new rights holder for 2013 and beyond will be announced in due course, although if the Association Press are to be believed, then the NBC Sports Group are a contender.
Update at 19:03 UK time – Peter Windsor on Twitter is saying that NBC Sports have won the rights. Will Buxton has also posted “Just read the news via twitter. Can’t help but feel a pit on my stomach had to learn this way. But that’s life. Onwards my friends. Love you all. I want to say that the last 3 years with Bob, Steve and David have been the most enjoyable of my career. More than colleagues. Friends.” I do hope Buxton stays in the Formula 1 paddock in some capacity. Having listened to his GP2 and GP3 commentary via Sky Sports F1, it would be a shame to lose his contributions.