What's Next for Formula 1?
A look into two potential changes for F1 for the 2024 Grand Prix season, including Apple’s bid for streaming rights and changes on the grid.
By: Lauren Cuppy
October 24, 2023
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Apple Bids for Streaming Rights
As companies vie for rights to stream sports content on their platforms, Apple has established itself as a true competitor in this race. As their next venture, Apple has made an impressive bid for the rights to broadcast Formula One (F1) races on Apple TV. This offer is estimated to be worth $2 billion per year for approximately 7 years, according to Business F1 Magazine. Currently, F1 is partnered with broadcast partners by country, but Apple wants exclusive rights to make them the sole viewing point for races.
Apple’s done this before – in 2022, a similar deal was made with Major League Soccer (MLS). As MLS gains popularity in the states, Apple’s strategy may be to invest in sports that have room for growth and that are on the rise. In 2022, F1 races on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 1.21 million viewers (The Athletic), growing about 80% since Netflix released Drive to Survive in 2019. Prior to the show, a similar period only showed a 25% rise in viewership. Apple is looking at this as a business opportunity, capitalizing on the hype surrounding F1 due to Netflix’s engagement.
Changes to the Grid
As Formula One evolves, we may see more teams enter the grid as soon as 2025. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) only approved one team’s application to discuss next steps with Formula One: Andretti Formula Racing LLC. Currently, Andretti Global competes in a wide variety of races worldwide, including Extreme E, Formula E, Indy NXT, and more. Andretti breaking into F1 is exciting for the US, as the potential team announced a “partnership with General Motors' Cadillac brand for a U.S.-owned team with at least one American driver” (Baldwin).
This change to Formula One might be needed to shake things up, as former principals have expressed concern surrounding the lack of variety amongst next season’s grid of drivers. Although anything can happen, 8 out of 10 teams have officially confirmed that they are keeping their current driver pairings for the 2024 Grand Prix season, and the remaining two are predicted to keep their current pairings as well. Adding a new team could provide an incentive for audiences to stay engaged and – potentially– tune into F1 races on Apple TV.