F1 will break new ground in its broadcasting history when it streams October’s Eifel GP for free on YouTube in 7 European countries.
The Nurburgring race will be available only in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. F1 says the deal includes coverage of the whole weekend, plus race previews, highlights and analysis.
F1 has been exploring new ways of distributing content under Liberty Media, and its YouTube channel has proved successful, with nearly 4m subscribers gaining access to features and highlights packages.
At the same time the F1 TV live streaming service hasn’t had the take-up that was anticipated. It is not available in some major markets, such as the UK, and fans have been frustrated by technical issues.
Although the YouTube stream is free to viewers, F1 also made it clear that there is a commercial element to the deal, as it plans to sell advertising, either by individual country or across multiple markets.
“We are thrilled to be working with YouTube on such an exciting project,” said Adam Crothers, Head of Digital Media Rights.
“As we continue to diversify our media distribution strategy and expand our digital offering, it is imperative that we engage fans who consume mediums differently and YouTube offers us the platform to achieve that.
“Partnering with YouTube also ensures we continue our pursuit of engaging new audiences in new ways to grow the F1 fanbase whilst continuing to innovate our media offering for new and existing fans.
YouTube’s head of sport for Europe, Tomos Grace, stressed that the deal would attract younger viewers.
“YouTube helps sport reach the fans of tomorrow,” he said. “70% of F1’s YouTube audience is under the age of 35. Sports broadcasters and organisers increasingly recognise YouTube’s ability to reach these new audiences and generate incremental revenue.
“F1 has always been one of the most innovative brands in sport, as dynamic in their video creation as they are on the track. F1’s decision to live stream their most premium content on YouTube is further evidence of YouTube’s role as a trusted partner to the industry.”