Speed, which has carried Formula 1 for 17 years, will stop broadcasting the sport after this season, the Associated Press is reporting — based, admittedly, on two anonymous sources.

Where’s there’s smoke, will there be fire? We’ll have to see. Speed, F1, FOM — no one is commenting yet on the record yet.

According to the AP, F1 is negotiating with NBC to take over broadcast rights. But what that means is unclear. I don’t think I’d jump right into concluding that F1 will suddenly be on a major broadcast network every race weekend. It could end up on any one of NBC’s alphabet soup cable stations — or worse?

Before we speculate too much — and I of course encourage your wild speculation — I want to quote one very important part of the AP story:

Broadcasting from a studio in Charlotte, the booth of Bob Varsha, Steve Matchett and David Hobbs is considered by many fans to be the best in motorsports. The excitable trio breathes excitement into often single-file racing, and closely follows storylines and strategy despite being halfway around the world from most of the tracks.

It’s no secret that the American part of the F1B team are all huge fans of our Speed trio. They are, in a word, fabulous. Whatever happens, we hope 1. that they are included and 2. if they aren’t, that all three get even better gigs in the future.

According to the AP, Speed’s retreat from F1 comes as Speed’s parent, Fox, works on rebranding the channel into a broad-based sports station. “Fox has not commented on the rebranded channel, expected to be called Fox Sports 1, but it is expected to be heavily utilized in the eight-year television contract announced earlier this month with Major League Baseball.”

Sounds like an ESPN competitor, huh? Doesn’t Fox already have sports stations, though? Why the need to take this station over for this move? (Does Fox not have a national sports channel? I guess I’m thinking about Fox Sports West, etc., plus how sports takes over Fox’s broadcast channel on weekends.)

OK, let the speculation begin. What do you think will happen? What do you hope will happen? (Is there any chance those two answers are the same?) Sadly, I don’t think there are enough F1 fans in America to raise a Sky Sports-type stink over this.

And, final speculation: What might it end up meaning for the United States Grand Prix(s)?

  • Irv Hara

    Sounds like FoxSporst/SPEED are confirming the change with this statement posted on SPEED website:
    “It’s disappointing to learn that F1 has elected to move forward with a different media partner. SPEED had been the US voice of F1 since the mid ’90s, and it was 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”

    • jay

      Thank GOD Bob is worst Kiss azz to Lewis then in other I’m happy F1 is moving away from Fox it could happen any sooner Thank You F1. now I can view it without all the kiss azz to lewis and his girlfriend!

      • jay

        and fox don’t show the post F1 racing in canada last year they cut away to a damn Nascar race Really a Nascar race! and other time they didn’t show the end of the race because Nascar race day WTF! I hate Fox more then any other channel!!!

  • Other than the F1 coverage, Speed is an absolutel joke these days…unless you like a bunch of reality tv wannabe’s fighting eachother in some New Jersey garage. Well, that is when NASCAR Garage or any of the other 47 stock car reated progras isn’t on.

    • *absolutel? *reated? *progras? I think I’ve been watching reality tv wannabe’s on Speed for too long.

    • Adam Artis

      Oh my Hard to believe I’ve finally encountered someone who feels the same about Speed.Except for F1,and Aussie supercars,it sucks.

  • Rob

    Agree very much that Bob, Steve and David need to be included in some way. I’ve always been disappointed that Speed’s coverage of F1 has been contained to Practice, Qualifying and Race, then the one hour Debrief show that’s shown WELL after the previous race, and almost as being done as an afterthought right before Practice for the next race is about to begin the next day. I’ve always been hopeful that they’d replay old races. TONS of content they seemingly could pull from. I don’t know the ins and outs of that, but being that Speed became the NASCAR channel after Fox acquired them, it’s been basically me DVR’ing Practice, Qualifying and the Race and not really watching much else on Speed. Because of this, if we get the trio in some way, I’m very much fine with moving it to NBC Sports. They’ve got a lot of Indycar stuff, so they at least get racing. At the same time, they’ve been picking up other live sports, so this appears to be another attempt to get more live sports to broadcast. I think we’ll get the US-based F1 races on broadcast NBC, and some of the other bigger mid-summer races like Monaco, Germany and Britain, like Fox has done over the past couple years as well. I don’t see it having much impact on the US F1 races, which is good and bad. Good in that the races are happening regardless. Bad in that it’s still F1 in the US, which most don’t understand, or are patient enough to follow. As long as the US F1 races continue to have financial backing and decent crowds, they can hopefully stay on the calendar longer than past attempts like Indy, or like races like Valencia or Turkey, which never seemed to have strong enough appeal amongst fans, teams or drivers.

  • tfirth392

    Seems like its confirmed by SPEED now –

    It sounds like NBC are the top of the list to possibly pick up the deal, Alot of rumors have been flying around that whoever gets the contract will get the Sky commentary team from the UK.

    It sounds to me that SPEED didn’t think F1 would go elsewhere and would settle for the offer that Fox networks where offering, It sounds like Bernie wanted something more and so went to a rival broadcaster.

    The new network would carry other material aswell as motorsport under Fox sports 1-4, in a similar style to Sky Sports family of networks here in the UK, also owned partly by News Corp. The Idea is to rival ESPN, Although so is NBC sports network and we all know too well what its ratings are like especially compared to ESPN, even though most rumors seem to point towards NBCSN picking up the F1 coverage.

    I presume the loss of F1, and the contract re negotiations due next year for NASCAR will make way for those other sports. I think its a disaster for F1 in the US but I doubt it will create the type of outrage the move that happened in the UK did last year. I do feel for the SPEED F1 team however, Will Buxton saying he only found out the deal was over on twitter tonight.

  • While I know, as mentioned in this post and other places throughout F1B, that F1B is a huge fan of Speed’s coverage, I have to say that around our house we’d agree to disagree. Around here, we are huge fans of Steve Matchett and truly appreciate Will Buxton’s youthfulness and enthusiasm (which, at times seems to get nailed by David Hobbs). However, we aren’t big fans of David Hobbs or Bob Varsha. I’ve heard independent interviews of Bob and have been completely surprised by how knowledgable and interesting his F1 commentary can be outside of his role as “host” of Speed’s F1 broadcasts. He feels like “Sideshow Bob” on the broadcast and this has grated my nerves for years. David has his moments, but he feels terribly outdated. When Leigh Diffey stands in for Bob, I have felt the commentary and broadcast steps up considerably in quality. That show really needed updating and modernizing. I, for one, am not surprised by the loss. This mainly comes from the low-rent broadcasting format that Speed has become in terms of its huge movement away from being a true motorsport television channel and more of a joke programing channel.

    I can only hope that we don’t lose what little coverage/commentary we currently have with Speed for some overproduced Fox-esque broadcast. If we are reduced to simply the race day sans pre and post-race coverage it will be a major punch in the face for US F1 (not, heh, USF1) fans.

    I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that perhaps this will push Bernie, et al to allow broadcasting via the Internet. One can only hope.

    • The Imperative Voice

      I had noticed the Fox Sports Speed rebranding during a recent race and wondered where that was headed…..

      I’m a soccer fan also, and Fox Soccer has lost its MLS deal recently. NBC won that one too. Fox did win the World Cup from ABC, but that’s down the road. FWIW, my local FS affiliate has also lost local coverage of the MLB and NBA teams to Comcast. Something about Fox?

      I know my reaction to the Fox soccer and F1 coverage is they have a lot of feed-material. I like that NBC is at the Tour or the Indycar races (generally), even if some of it is melded with a feed. I think you get different reporting from the live experience. The Speed guys are sharp but they have little production control and seem to be talking while watching a TV like us, with perhaps access to timing and scoring. But what I want to know is what the TV’s not telling me…..Buxton saying it’s raining in the pits when all you see is dark clouds. You can’t beat either our own production or something more like the MotoGP feed for that.

      If we’re just getting Sky’s feed then the core of the telecast is set, but if we have any control the presentation needs to be younger and more energetic. More like the last few minutes of Q3. More open debate. More fun. I don’t know if I want it as loose as say the last Motegi race done by NBC Sports, but I do know I remember the race because it was so fun to watch.

  • steve hazen

    with Austin & NJ coming on line, you’d think the coverage in the US will only improve.. That’s what I’d like to see…. the glass is half full, the glass is half FULL.

    • No this is what is sad. As soon as we get a GP, they kill the TV coverage of the sport. There is no silver lining with NBC taking over.

      • Steve C

        I’m like the other Steve here. I see the glass half full and I’ll tell you why. NBC Sports, after the merger with U-Verse, took over the NHL broadcasting rights and they did a really good job with it last year. NBC has the resources and knowledge to make this happen to our benefit. I do hope the SpeedTV broadcast team moves to NBC next year.



    I don’t think it can be understated how bad this is for F1 in the States. It’s going to be really bad. NBC will run F1 on NBC Sports which is broadcast in HD on way, way less cable providers than Speed is. So right of the bat most US viewers who get F1 in HD now, will loose that.

    Next, we will lose friday practice and probably qualifying. I see no way NBC Sports would friday practice in favor of the other 20 shows they have on contract, and while they may run qualifying sometimes, here’s the kicker… they will not run qualifying for the US GP. The US GP qualifying will happen right in the middle of NBC Sports college football games. So that’s gone kiss it goodbye. The races also will not be on NBC proper since many of them conflict with Indycar races, Baseball, and NBC has much more invested in those sports. They will also not run the races live on NBC since the most races happen when NBC affiliates have run of the airtime and not the network, or it would be when the network finally comes in with it’s flagship sunday news shows. So tape delay or not at all on NBC.

    I also see no way NBC would take the Speed commentary team, and that’s a horrible shame. You know what we’re going to get… the Indycar team when they are not doing Indycar, and that SUCKS! the rest of the time your going to get the “B” Indycar commentator team… and think about that for a minute. That actually might prevent me from watching. Seriously I hate those guys.

    Now why would FOX turn Speed into a general sports channel, well for that you need to hand me a beer and settle in for an hour of me bitching about the terrible management at that network.

    • Glenn R

      So out of touch–NBC will broadcast ALL practice and qualifying–plus the races–in REAL time! And best of all:
      Diffey replaces Varsha! There is something going right in the world after all. Welcome back Hobbs and Matchett!

      • Ian

        Really? You prefer Diffey — the HUMAN CAPS-LOCK — to Varsha? Varsha’s style is so relaxed and easy to listen to. Listening to Diffey call an entire race is like inviting your kid to bang pots and pans in the living room while you try to enjoy a sporting event.

        I’m certainly glad NBC is bringing Matchett and Hobbs over, but Diffey is nails-on-a-chalkboard grating.

  • Crushr99

    Yes of course, we all hope The Studio crew makes it’s way over, but NBC Sports Network isn’t the end of the world.

    They’ve done fine with IndyCar, and all we need is for them to put the already capable crew in a room talking over the F1 feed.

  • Chris T.

    Other than the coverage of F1 and other forms of racing, SPEED’s programming is mindless, meaningless crap.

    • Glenn R

      You have that right…those so-called “reality” shows suck, along with the guy with the golf hat and handlebar mustache, and the garage guy with the Gene Simmons wig! After F1 goes from Speed, so does my viewing of the channel. Long live NBC Motorsports!

  • Gjohnson01

    I can’t believe you guys like the broadcasting team of Varsha, Hobbs and Matchet. Hobbs is by far the worst announcer I have ever hear. He is constantly talking over the other guys and interrupting them while they are in mid comment. Also, his race experience is from the 60’s which really isn’t very relevant to the modern racing of today. Bob Varsha has an incredible wealth of knowledge and should be allowed to give us some more commentary on the history of the sport, but he can’t get a word in edgewise with Hobbs and Matchet always butting in. If you get a chance to watch the British coverage, pay attention to Coultard. His insight into what is going on in the cockpit is fascinating. It really gives you a good idea of what the driver is thinking and trying to do and just how complicated these cars really are. Plus he doesn’t have narcolepsy like Hobbs and can stay awake for an entire broadcast… I just wish we could get their coverage here in the states. I personally would never watch the team on Speed again if we could.

    • I watch the British coverage every once in a while when I miss a race and I have to download it (shh don’t tell FOM) The British coverage is absolutely terrible! They ruin the races for me. All they do is shout in high pitched voices, make wild assumptions, and constantly mix up team mates (ie calling vettel webber, or alonso massa, or heikki petrov) . They are always trying to cause some sensation out of nothing. I really hope we don’t get them.

      Varsha, Hobbs, and Matchett are the best! Who else is going to make racecar noises during qualy at 5 am on a Saturday, but David Hobbs

    • SteveH

      I’m with you, GJohnson, I got really bored with these guys sitting in a studio in the States commentating on a race in Europe or where ever. I watch the Sky or BBC coverage online; it’s easy to find and the picture quality is good. The only trouble with the Sky broadcast is that idiot Ted Cravitz (or whatever) who doesn’t know when to STFU. I find myself yelling at the computer when he’s talking (or should I say jabbering?). The big problem with the British broadcasts is the time; 5 am Pacific is a bit early on a Sunday morning. The British broadcasts are also ad free, although Sky does have a short block of ads at long intervals. If NBC takes over expect all the normal interruptions that distract so much from viewing pleasure.

    • Glenn R

      More Hobbs, More Matchett, More Buxton–NO VARSHA!!! Let’s go NBC!

  • wchrisg

    This is a good move for F1…sort of… I have the hope that moving from SPEED to a more general sport network and a change of broadcast staff might bring more younger fans into the fold. I’m surprised Fox just didn’t bid a little higher and reuse the Sky Feed.

  • thoots

    I’m a big fan of Varsha, Hobbs, and Matchett. Along with the at-the-track folks, too.

    This isn’t really so much about the end of F1 in the US, but rather the end of Speed TV — it will make the end of live broadcasts of F1, LeMans, Sebring, anything from Grand Am and ALMS, and so on. Along with the end of exotic stuff like MotoGP, Superbike, and any sports car racing, whether live or not.

    There is no doubt that F1 practice and qualifying will be completely gone. And if you think that you’ll see live F1 races, you haven’t got a clue. Completely gone — look for 1.5-hour tape-delayed things that your local affiliates will pre-empt with infomercials. This will NOT be a good move for F1 — or any other form of auto racing. You might as well resign yourself to watching massive hours of baseball, because that’s what Fox will show you on what used to be Speed TV.

    • Your point about the other series — which we’re also obviously fans of (fun fact, Todd and I have a running debate about whether we’d want to go to Spa, Monaco or … Le Mans) — is VERY GOOD. I wonder about how that will get picked up here.

      Hmmm. I’m thinking, of course, the answer is: They won’t.

    • nofahz

      Ditto. I’ve been hearing the rumors for a few weeks but didn’t see the nbcs deal coming. Losing practice & qualifying, live races would be a massive step backwards. Losing LeMans depresses me incredibly.

  • Mark Farouk

    While it is a potential loss since Speed covered practice, qualifying and the full race, Im willing to gamble not to hear Hobbs, Matchet and Varsha bloviate for hours about the most inconsequential parts of F1. Luckily, Ive learned how to acquire BBC/sky sports race coverage for the past two seasons. Early this year I had the misfortune to watch a qualifying session on Speed. I listened to Bob Varsha drone on for no less than 15 minutes regarding the 110% rule, a rule that I can only remember being enforced once during the last three years. The other hour and 15 minutes of coverage was a to remind us that Schumacher is old. Their coverage has only gotten worse and worse.

    If you want to watch BBC or Sky coverage do some internet searches and you can find it if you somewhat web and tech savvy.

    • SteveH

      I agree completely; I do exactly the same thing. But I think it’s the 107% rule.

  • I have an idea for an on-air team right here:

  • Jim

    If I have to listen to Bob Freakin Jenkins at every F1 race I’m gonna puke

    • Daniel Arevalo

      Don’t worry he retired this year.

  • I had heard several weeks ago from one of the guys who writes for me who was trying to get a job with Speed that it was going away but that they were still hiring auto racing reporters so maybe they will work something out. It’s a real shame, I mean it’s not like auto racing isn’t one of the most popular sports in the world or anything. Not really sure why a channel devoted to it is a bad idea. I’m afraid if it goes to NBC they won’t be doing the live broadcasts anymore, we’ll all have to watch stupid taped delay. Thank goodness you can get it live through the internet now, not quite as good but you do what you have to to get your fix. Guess it won’t be too much longer before all TV is internet based. The major networks will soon be thing of the past.

  • JasonI

    Speed is dead to me.

  • TallenJens

    Could not agree more. There are other ways to get content if one so desires. I’ve been doing that with the WRC for many years.

    That being said, I’ve grown accustom to Bobby, Stevie, and Davy. The race weekend ritual of P2, qually, and the Sunday race is comforting. DVR the whole thing, turn off the Internet, and sit back on the couch and enjoy. It’s been a ritual in my home since 2006.

    One huge issue with F1 in the US: In DVRing the whole shebang (as I believe many of us do), the potential social experience has been stripped away. This is what is missing from F1 IMHO, and why it has not caught on in the US. It is a solitary experience by virtue of 1) being an international event most often broadcast live in the middle of the night for US fans, and 2) Speed’s insistance on broadcasting it live. Who among us watches the race live? (excluding of course the N/S American contenent events). Perhaps why NASCAR is so popular? It is a shared social experience. Commenting on websites like this adds to the experience, but not nearly as much when you watch something en masse.

    I would emphatically welcome watching a tape delay, if I could go to a bar with a group of enthusiasts and watch a F1 race broadcast across the nation at, say, one in the afternoon. Change comes with a price, but I’d prefer the latter option.

  • Swampper

    Good riddance to SPEED!

    I enjoy Mr. Hobbs wit, but the other two gentlemen do not add much to the broadcast.
    If NBC is smart, they should just contract with SKY or the BBC and use their experienced reporters and analysts.

    • Yea because that would help F1 to connect with American fans, a bunch of babbling idiots snickering at Prince Andrew jokes and telling tales of growing up playing conkers in Lincolnshire.

      • TallenJens


  • Zzyzxx

    With NBC having Sunday Night Football, they will be able to show next years Austin race on broadcast TV. Fox could not show any races once the NFL season began. With two races in the US next year, more broadcast TV races could help to build a larger F1 following in this country. I will hold my opinion about their coverage until we have some facts. NBCSN shows INDYCAR qualifying already, so that should be a given with F1. The only question will be about Friday practice. For all we know, we could be getting more coverage than SPEED. P1 and P3 are not out of the question.

  • MIE

    The next FOTA Fans Forum is to be held in Austin, four days before the race (Wednesday at 6pm). Perhaps if enough fans raise the subject NBC may even take some notice of what you want from the F TV coverage in the US?

  • Tim

    I wonder where Speed 2 fits into all this rebranding by Fox. (I think Speed 2 is what there calling their online channel.) Could this be where all Lemans, Grand Am, MotoGP, etc. end up residing? I wouldn’t mind hooking the TV up to the Internet for racing.

  • I’m very disappointed that F1 will be leaving SPEED

  • Daniel Arevalo

    I am sad to hear the news. i wish the best for Bob, Steve, David, Will, and the rest of the crew for Formula 1 on Speed. I thought this might happen when the news of Fox rebranding Speed to Fox Sports One came out. I guess Fox is trying to follow what Sky is doing. I am excited about NBCSN (i assume) taking the reigns and looking forward to what they do. i just hope we still get to see practice and qualifying.

  • Kyle Ward

    At first I was really worried about this, but I think a move to NBC Sports would actually be good for F1 – provided Varsha & co make the move. F1 has been stuck in NASCAR’s shadow for so long on SPEED that it’s become a total afterthought. I used to love the F1 Decade series (or whatever it was called) that showed the race from 10 years ago that weekend, but they got rid of that years ago. NBC Sports might not have very high viewership, but it is at least a network on the rise, and they’ve proven with the IndyCar series that they know what they’re doing, even if no one is watching. Also, NBC proper doesn’t have a ton of other sports tv deals to conflict, so maybe they’ll be able to air more races on the flagship. They should at least be showing all of the US timezone races on network – as well as probably Monaco (I know Fox has football, and football is king, but it still baffles me that the USGP won’t be on Fox this year). As for the announcing team, I’m not sure what good they’ll do Fox at the new network, so hopefully they’ll be free to move on to F1’s new home. I know NBC is looking for a new IndyCar play-by-play guy (to replace the retiring Bob Jenkins), and I’ve heard Varsha’s name mentioned as a possible replacement, so maybe he’ll wind up doing both next year.

  • Geo

    This whole deal sucks! I’ve been a fan of F-1 since the SIXTIES!! Serving in the USAF for 20 years and the US Dept. of State for another 20, I managed a lot of European assignments. I spent 3 years at RAF Mildenhall, in the UK, watching the races live on the “Beeb” (the BBC) from 1978-1980 – with Murray Walker as the commentator, arguably the BEST F1 TV announcer EVER – and being able to watch Mario’s entire F1 Championship season, was the high point. I spent 2 years at the US Embassy in Luxembourg and another 3 at the Embassy in Brussels. I’ve also attended numerous races live – Spa (7), Nurburgring (2), Zaandvoort (2), Silverstone (2), Brands Hatch (1) and even the sole F1 race at Zolder Belgium when the track conditions at Spa caused the F1 race to switch to there !!!

    With the switch in broadcasters we will probably be in for tape delayed and edited garbage, probably on the NBC Sports Channel, and uninformed announcers.

    Speed has managed to totally “screw the pooch” by airing all the idiotic reality shows. Other than F1 and GP2, Aussie V8 touring cars, the occasional live Rolex races, NASCAR Truck and the off-season runs of the British Touring Car Championship and the DTM Series, the rest of their programming simply sucks. 10 years ago it was even better, but then they went the reality route. Had they saved the money those garbage shows cost, and they really wanted to keep F1, they probably would have been able to do so. SAD – VERY SAD!!!

  • Rob

    Could go either way…. Maybe they will actually send people to the races & get some REAL coverage without the CRAP delayed races on fox & the rubbish we put up with on speed… but equally they could kill it. I’m more concerned about losing the real time stuff and getting some even more hopeless commentators……

    NBC has the resources to do a great job with multi channels and asses at the race…. but depends how much $$ they are spending or if it’s just to fill some line up gap.

    I am still stinging from the V8 Bathurst race last year that speed put on (what an embarrassment)….. If F1 turns into that type of joke I would watch with no sound or find another path.

  • Justin

    First an foremost, I would encourage EVERYONE who loves live and unedited F1 coverage to contact NBC Sports via email, Facebook, etc. as I have done to encourage them to meet or exceed the standard set by SPEED. I personally like the trio of announces on SPEED and I have also encouraged them to bring them along. If you love this sport and want to see it handled well, let your voice be heard!

    I highly doubt we will end up with the SKY broadcast because they are a FOX property. Using the Indy team would also not make sense as they are on location at all the Indy events many of which fall on coinciding weekends. I just hope they choose to cover practice and qualifying as has been the standard for years now. The potential for more broadcasts on the big network is good and bad. It would mean more tape delayed races but it would also leave the potential for exposure for the sport, which is badly needed.

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed and let your voices be heard over at NBC!!!

  • As someone who came from the UK where F1 is freely available to anyone with a TV screen, I haven’t watched a live F1 race in the USA for years, since it is not freely available. I applaud any change that will help the masses access the best motor sport on the planet.

  • Looks like I was wrong, we may have dodged one huge bullet. NBC is saying the deal is to air all practices and qualifying.

    • This could be cool:
      “All 20 races will be live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live-stream platform that is available online at as well as on mobile and tablet apps.”

  • Waldo


    At first I freaked also at the thought of F1 parting ways with SPEED. Now after reading the following, I feel better. The bullets “update” at the bottom of this tells the most about NBC’s format for coverage.

    // Formula 1 Leaves SPEED

    Following a 17 year partnership with Formula 1 as their exclusive US broadcaster, Fox Sport’s SPEED network will conclude their coverage of Formula 1 at the end of the 2012 season. A new contract for the U.S. broadcasting rights of Formula 1 has been signed with the NBC network beginning in 2013. The SPEED network and their on-air personalities, Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Will Buxton, have been the face of Formula 1 in America, doing their part to connect US fans with the sport since the network started showing F1 in 1996.

    Earlier today, Fox Sports Media made a statement regarding the decision of Formula 1 to move forward with another media partner beginning in 2013.

    “It’s disappointing to learn that F1 has elected to move forward with a different media partner. SPEED had been the US voice of F1 since the mid ’90s, and it was 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.” FOX Sports Media Group spokesman

    According to AP News (via Jalopnik), FOX Sports was in a bidding war with NBC and was unable to match the deal NBC put forth to Formula One Management. In further discussions with AP News, FOX Sports said they produced a “fiscally responsible” bid for the contract but this was not enough to keep their position as the broadcaster of F1 in America. The financial terms of the contract have not been released but chances are with two US F1 races in the calendar in 2013, whoever holds the contract has a lot to work with.

    So what does this mean for Formula 1 fans in America? It’s very likely many of the current SPEED team could be picked up by the NBC network to help lead their Formula 1 coverage. Keep in mind that David Hobbs and Steve Matchett were both covering F1 with ESPN prior to joining SPEED. Will Buxton, SPEED’s pit-lane reporter, is one of the few professional broadcasters permanently credentialed by the FIA and with the right experience to lead the on the ground efforts at each race. Bob Varsha on the other hand, fills a few more roles for the SPEED network which would prevent him from moving over to NBC.

    In many respects, the resources that NBC brings to the table are potentially tremendous for the sport. One major factor that contributes to the slow growth of Formula 1 in America is the lack of accessibility to the SPEED network. As a premium channel on any cable/satellite provider, the network is not part of many household’s standard collection. This brings up a similar issue to the discussions late last year about the Sky Network taking over from the BBC; free-to-air access always trumps subscription in terms of viewership. So far, there’s no indication whether this deal with NBC includes provisions to include the races on their national broadcast or if this will be run on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).

    For Formula 1 to gain the level of viewership needed to make it a permanent part of the American sports landscape, much of the burden sits on the shoulders of the broadcasters tasked with bringing the sport to the screen. Having a group of experienced broadcasters like the current SPEED crew as part of their team, NBC has the potential to bring great coverage to a wider audience and help elevate the sport to a whole new level. Making sure to invest in providing top-notch coverage and easy access will help ensure both the long term success of the network and the growth of the American Formula 1 audience.
    Update on Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 19:09 by Kevin Olsen

    The Associated Press has published additional details on NBC’s planned F1 coverge in 2013. Of note:

    NBC Sports Group will have the exclusive U.S. media rights for Formula 1
    4 year deal
    Over 100 hours of programming across NBC and NBC Sports Network (cable channel)
    NBC will air the Canadian GP (June 9, 2013), Abu Dhabi GP (November 3, 2013), our US GP (November 17, 2013) and the Brazilian GP (November 24, 2013)
    The remaining 16 races will air on NBC Sports Network
    All practice and qualifying sessions will also be on NBC Sports Network
    All 20 races will be live streamed on NBC Sports Group’s live-stream platform

  • Kakkaji

    Does this change means that finally we will have commercial free F1 race programs?

    It sucks to get the races interrupted by commercial breaks, especially given that SpeedTV/NBC Sportnetwork are paid services. Its simply rude of these companies to shove commercials down the throats of customers.

    I hope David Hobbs get eliminated in this shuffle. His funny borders on the line of irritating to be honest.

    • cconf1

      Doubt that it will be commercial-free.

      I’m going by the Indy Car races, in which they still have commercials, but during most of them they have an inset showing the race feed.

  • JohnnyLightning

    A shame. I love the chemistry between the three on the Seed F1 broadcasts. Hobbs brings a special insight into British racing and the F1 technology.

    Looks like they are betting on 24/7 NASCAR. No thanks.

  • Peter Stephan

    In the past few years I’ve come to enjoy watching F1 and Australian V-8 Supercars as NASCAR continues to go round and round and round again, when will something exciting happen, nobody knows! Now the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series is always action packed, at times breath taking to watch and always a whole lot of fun as can be other series like Continental tire.

    We know F1 is not without its quiet moments and so if it weren’t for Bob, Steve, David and Will, I would have long ago moved on to watching video race highlights. Ironic, now that we have just completed a state of the art facility in Austin and Speed somehow manages to screw things up. Talk about bad timing. If it were me and it’s not me, I would have long ago dumped the filler car shows that are a waste of time and focused on quality, while building a name for myself as the premiere motorsports and speed sports channel in the world.

    The deed is done and I’ll miss my favorite commentators; I looked forward to seeing them as much as the race.
    I hope and pray that NBC will provide nothing less than full coverage. And as for live commentary, I know four very charasmatic guys that would do an awesome job.

    One final thought. What were the promotors and organizers for the Circuit of the Americas thinking when it was rumored Speed might loose the rights to FI? I know they don’t expect us to fly down every year to Austin to watch an F1 race.

  • Tom

    I will believe NBC when I see the race coverage. To me NBC hasn’t been the most believable source of information for years. I still believe we will get tape delayed, edited for time coverage, and the commentators will be mediocre ex-indycar drivers or worse. Watching the last F1 Debrief show seemed to indicate the crew wouldn’t be working together any longer, so I see no reason to think they will be working or NBC. I’ll be going to livestream on the internet next year.