ITV4 is to screen the inaugural Formula E season exclusively live, it has been confirmed. The championship confirmed that the channel will be screening all ten rounds live, and more importantly where the success of the series is confirmed, free to air. The dates of the ten rounds are as follows, all on Saturdays, UK time listed:
– China (Beijing) – September 13th, 2014 – 09:00
– Malaysia (Putrajaya) – November 22nd, 2014 – 08:00
– Uruguay (Punta del Este) – December 13th, 2014 – 18:00
– Argentina (Buenos Aires) – January 10th, 2015 – 19:00
– tba – February 14th, 2015 – tba
– USA (Miami) – March 14th, 2015 – 20:00
– USA (Los Angeles) – April 4th, 2015 – 00:00
– Monaco – May 9th, 2015 – 15:00
– Germany (Berlin) – May 30th, 2015 – 15:00
– United Kingdom (London) – June 27th, 2015 – 16:00
Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer at Formula E, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing this partnership with ITV today and to be securing live, free-to-air coverage of all Formula E races for our UK fans – of which we’re confident there will be many. The UK is widely considered the home of motor sport and a very important market for Formula E. As such, with its unrivalled commitment to motor sport, ITV provides the perfect platform to showcase our new fully-electric series – which will also be racing in London in June 2015 – and to appeal to a new generation of motor sport fans.”
ITV’s coverage will contain a pre-race build-up with practice and qualifying highlights along with post-race reaction and the podium, all in a 90 minute standalone programme. Given that the races are set to last an hour, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for manoeuvre, but I suspect things can be extended if necessary. I’m not sure how the Saturday slots will do from a ratings point of view, but three races are in primetime later this year so I’ll be fascinated if they can get near to a million viewers potentially. Niall Sloane, ITV’s Director of Sport said: “I’m delighted ITV4 will be able to bring viewers the opportunity to see this innovative new series – which promises top-level open-wheel racing with the iconic backdrops of some of the world’s most famous cities. The coverage of this series adds another new dimension to ITV4’s motor sport portfolio.”
Even though I am unsure that the electric formula will appeal to me, this is simply fantastic news for motor sport fans. I’ve made several comments about ITV4 and motor sport, but in my opinion, this cements ITV4 as the home of motor sport. And its brilliant news for Formula E too, dare I say a coup. It was reported back in December that BT Sport and BSkyB were in the running to screen the series. I’m happy that hasn’t happened. Because if it did happen, Formula E would have sunk without trace. This news gives Formula E a big platform to start with and the potential to build from there. AUTOSPORT says that the highlights will be shared with a pay-TV channel, not that it particularly matters at this stage given the ITV4 news.
It will be interesting to see what happens with regards a potential line-up, whether ITV Sport add their touch, as alluded to above, or whether they will just take the main Formula E feed. ITV4’s motor sport portfolio now is as follows:
– Formula E (live)
– British Touring Car Championship (live)
– MotoGP (highlights)
– British Superbikes (highlights)
– World Rally Championship (highlights)
Along with cycling, including the Tour de France. You can’t argue with that, can you? Four wheels, two wheels, tarmac, gravel, ITV4 has it covered. A good news day if you’re a Formula E fan.
Schedule details last updated on September 14th, 2014.