Vernon Kay, Nicki Shields, Sam Bird, Channel 4, 2022

Channel 4 secures exclusive Formula E live broadcast rights for UK

Formula E

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Channel 4 have signed a multi-year deal to become the exclusive broadcaster for Formula E in the UK with live coverage of all races.

Starting with the upcoming 2022 season of the all-electric racing series beginning in Saudi Arabia next weekend, Channel 4 will take over all live coverage of the championship across the UK.

Coverage of races will be split across Channel 4’s network, with the majority of races shown live on Channel 4 or All4 and others broadcast live on the Channel 4 Sport YouTube channel. All qualifying sessions for each E-Prix will be shown live on Channel 4 Sport’s YouTube channel, with race highlights packages also shown on Channel 4 and All4.

The existing English-language broadcast team of presenter Vernon Kay, reporter Nicki Shields and commentators Jack Nicholls and Dario Franchitti will remain as part of the new deal.

Channel 4 have confirmed to RaceFans that their live coverage will be shown uninterrupted, with no ad breaks during races.

Head of sport for Channel 4, Pete Andrews, described the deal as “wonderful news for sports fans”.

“We’re proud to be showcasing a sport with sustainability at its heart and one that plays such an important role in seeking to combat the climate crisis.”

Formula E’s chief media officer, Aarti Dabas, said the championship was “delighted” to sign an exclusive free-to-air broadcast contract with Channel 4.

“The multi-year partnership with Channel 4 is great news for fans across the UK and for the continued growth of the sport,” said Dabas.

“With Channel 4 established as the regular free-to-air home for Formula E in the UK, we look forward to better serving our passionate fanbase while attracting new fans to the excitement of all-electric street-racing.”

The most recent Formula E season saw live TV audiences become the majority of the series’ viewing audience for the first time, with 62% of viewers watching races live on TV compared to watching online, on-demand or highlights.

The upcoming 2022 Formula E season will begin with two races in Saudi Arabia next weekend with 16 E-Prix throughout the season.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 14 comments on “Channel 4 secures exclusive Formula E live broadcast rights for UK”

    1. Will have to find another channel to watch it on again then, lucky I have cable. No other channel show advertising during the live race!

    2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      21st January 2022, 12:10

      Will Formula E take advertising money away from F1?

      It will be cheaper and will being free to air have more potential to been seen by more people?

      The eco – electric context will appeal to advertisers too. Will this mean more free to air F1?

    3. This, and F1 becoming less sport and more WWE, is likely to make me watch FE for my racing fix this year and not bother with F1. I certainly won’t be paying SkySports costs for it.

    4. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk On paper it certainly looks that way, but then I’ve just tried to name one FE sponsor and I honestly couldn’t think of one, of course I don’t avidly watch Formula E but I’m probably fairly typical amongst many of it’s viewers, in that I’ll watch it if it’s on but I’m not going to plan my day around it.

      Like with so much with Formula E, the potential is huge, but I think we’re still someway from making comparisons to ‘established’ sports. This deal seems like another step in the right direction though (and perhaps I’m not the target demographic), but I’d rather have someone like Dario front the whole thing (he’s knowledgable, personable and people like Gary Lineker prove, sports folk can learn presenting).

      I feel if you’re watching Formula E because you recognise and like Vernon Kay, you’re probably not going to stick with the sport for long, it just seems like short term gains.

    5. I think this is great news, I really hope this will give Formula E a chance to really grow through exposure and good racing.

      Before I used to have to hunt it out after seeing on a site such as this that there was a race on and would only catch the occasional race. It didn’t feel as though it was treated as a ‘proper’ racing formula, but this broadcasting deal may well see the start of Formula E gaining further traction in the UK. Especially to casual motorsport fans who maybe don’t have access to the Premium services to watch F1.

    6. Woot, woot …

    7. The negatives from this are that anything not on Channel 4 will therefore only be available in SD (The Formula E graphics are impossible to read in SD in my experience) & the All4 streaming platform is nowhere near as good in terms of quality or usability when compared to iPlayer.

      It also doesn’t solve what has been Formula E’s biggest problem which is it been spread across a number of channels/platforms which means only those most dedicated fans who want to watch & will therefore go looking for it are likely going to follow it around if it isn’t live on C4 that weekend.

      It needs a home so that everyone knows where to watch it without having to go searching.

      1. This is a really good point. My TV is fairly small and I struggle to read the graphics at the best of times even when viewing a HD feed. My parents can’t get Freeview (due to living in a valley) so use FreeSat, which does not offer Channel 4 in HD.

        1. Although I don’t use it, I also have cable TV, which does have Channel 4 HD. I think it also has one or two extra HD channels that Freeview doesn’t, even though i don’t have any additional packages. I’m guessing that cable is limited in certain places too though.

        2. Thankfully Freesat has Channel 4 HD again now

          https://www.freesat.co.uk/media/press-releases/channel-4-new-launches

          I’m pleased it’s got a dedicated home, C4 have been great with the F1 highlights and fingers crossed they stick with FE

    8. And will it be available to watch at all in the US, even on catch-up, or will the C4 YouTube stream be geo-locked?

      I’ve tried really hard in the past to try to watch FE and given up, because it appears (if at all) on random regional sports channels in the middle of the night and you can’t find out which one until after you’ve already missed it.

    9. Won’t watch it on YouTube, maybe do the highlights or catch-up which is more than I do today for FE.

      It’s a shame the F1 presenter team aren’t part of it though, feels like they could mix in a Channel 4 motor racing team to draw watchers of one series into the other.

    10. The headline “Channel 4 secures exclusive Formula E live broadcast rights for UK” indicates the races will be shown on Channel 4.

      Not so. Channel 4 (as a broadcaster/company) have the UK rights.

      But…

      The races will be shown/broadcast over a number of Channel 4 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝘀

    11. This could be huge!!! Formula E is ready to take off! Channel 4 are also masters of marketing their programs and they generally do really well with the youth compared to BBC, ITV and Sky.

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