Apple could strike a $2 billion deal for the TV rights to Formula 1 races Leave a comment

This February Apple launched the MLS Season Pass – a place to stream Major League Soccer, which doesn’t require an Apple TV+ subscription (thought TV+ subscribers get a discount). This was apparently quite successful (it’s credited with 1 million new subscribers hopping on board) and Cupertino is now trying to strike a similar deal and become the exclusive rights holder for Formula 1 races.

Business F1 reports that the deal will cost Apple around $2 billion a year, double what the Formula 1 Group is getting for the global TV rights currently. However, there are deals in place with broadcasters currently, so Apple won’t get the full rights immediately.

Disney-owned ESPN is one such broadcaster, it holds the rights for the US market until 2025 – this is likely the earliest that an Apple-F1 deal can happen. The deal will reportedly be for a 7 year period during which existing deals with broadcasters will gradually expire (Apple should have the global rights all to itself five years in).

Tim Cook waving the checkered flag at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas 2022

This also means that Apple won’t pay the full $2 billion a year immediately but rather a fraction of that proportional to how much of the global rights it controls. For comparison, the MLS rights cost just $250 million a year. You can stream MLS for $15 a month or $29 for the full season, Apple TV+ subscribers get a discount – $13 a month or $25 for the season.

Apple TV+ is currently producing a Formula 1 movie starring Brad Pitt, with Joseph Kosinski in the director’s chair while 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is one of the producers. This movie will follow a fictional racing team (it’s written by Ehren Kruger, who also penned the Top Gun: Maverick screenplay), but TV+ is also working on a documentary focused on Hamilton.

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