CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 22, 2009) — Cable TV network SPEED and Formula One Management have reached an agreement in which SPEED will continue to offer its long-running live coverage of the Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship, including live coverage of qualifying and practice sessions.
The pact extends a relationship between the broadcaster and F1 that dates back to 1996, the network's first full season on the air.
“The global Formula One fan base is one of the most passionate in all of motor sports,” SPEED President Hunter Nickell said in a prepared statement. “In America, fans gather at all hours of the morning—with races coming in from places like Malaysia, Singapore and Monaco—to watch SPEED and cheer their favorite drivers and constructors. We look forward to continuing and expanding our relationship with these fans, both on air and through SPEEDtv.com.”
Bob Varsha, the longtime SPEED voice of Formula One, said he's “been on pins and needles waiting for this new agreement, and I´ve lost track of how many questions I´ve answered from our viewers regarding what the future holds, whether we´ll see much of our colleague Peter Windsor in his new role as a team boss, and so much more.
“Anyone who was a part of the paddock fun at the old USGP at Indy knows that our fans are smart, loyal and vocal. I look forward to trying to give them what they expect on grand prix weekends for years to come.”
SPEED began covering F1 racing in 1996 with delayed race broadcasts, moving to live coverage in 1997. Beginning in 2010, SPEED said it also will have online clip usage rights from F1.
“We are delighted with the ability to offer Formula One video clips online at SPEEDtv.com” said Kevin Annison, vice president, digital and interactive Media for SPEED. “Acquiring broader Formula One online rights was important to SPEED as it is one of the most popular sections of the site. As the U.S. home to F1, we look forward to marrying these new video rights with SPEEDtv.com's excellent Formula One coverage, enhancing our article pages, photo galleries, expert commentary and race series editorials every race weekend.”
Four F1 races will air on the FOX network this season with SPEED's on-air team calling the action. Those four races, which will be consecutive events, have yet to be named.
SPEED—which also broadcasts NASCAR races—bills itself as “the nation´s first and foremost cable television network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED delivers quality programming from the track to the garage.”
The network said it is available in more than 79 million homes in North America, and claims to be among the fastest-growing sports cable networks in the country.
For more information, visit SPEED's Web site.