And Amazon apparently is just one of the options being discussed, according to Chase Carey, the outgoing F1 chief exec, who told the FT the series had had "“substantive discussions . . . [with] Amazon and all the global digital platforms."
Those last five words are doing a lot of work there, too. "All the global digital platforms" can mean a lot of things. First is that there actually aren't all that many truly "global" digital platforms, particularly when it comes to sports. Amazon would be an obvious option, and it's already streaming some NFL games and Premier League matches. Assuming distribution rights would cross borders, Amazon Prime Video also is a global player, as opposed to something like, say, ESPN+, which is rooted in the United States. (ESPN currently has the rights to F1 races in the U.S.) And Sky has the broadcast rights in the UK, but that also comes without a global footprint.
Amazon also has the hardware ecosystem to go along with its streaming offering. Amazon Fire TV is the No. 1 platform globally, and No. 2 in the United States. (Roku is tops in the U.S., and No. 2 globally.)
Also unclear is what that could mean for F1's own streaming service, F1TV.
Despite the struggles of 2020, not even the global pandemic could slow the popularity of F1 racing. Sure, the season was shortened significantly — and the FT notes that the series saw operating losses of $363 million in the first three quarters of 2020. But the drama remained high — even as Lewis Hamilton secured his seventh series title with a few races left to go, and then he missed the penultimate event because of COVID-19.
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