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Formula E Closing in on Major UK TV Deal with Channel 4

A deal to bring UK Formula E TV coverage to mainstream provider Channel 4 is close…

Photo: Formula E

Plans to broadcast ABB FIA Formula E Championship races on one of the UK’s premier TV channels, Channel 4, are reaching a crucial stage.

E-racing365 understands that discussions between Channel 4 and Formula E Holdings Ltd. have been ongoing for several months and that a deal is close.

The delays in formalizing a specific agreement are believed to have been caused by the recent negotiations for Channel 4 to continue showing Formula 1 highlights next year, which has complicated the Formula E deal.

Channel 4 is the fourth largest channel in the UK, measured by its percentage share of total viewing time, behind BBC 1, ITV and BBC 2.

Last season’s UK Formula E coverage was shared between Channel 5 and its smaller sister channel 5Spike, which has an audience share of around 0.5 percent.

The production of Channel 4’s F1 coverage is handled by Whisper Films, which is co-owned by David Coulthard, who attended several E-Prixs last season and told e-racing365 in May how impressed he was with Formula E’s overall development.

Part of Formula E’s push to advance its exposure for Season Five is due to its new race format that includes drivers using a single car for the duration of the race.

The new structure will amount to a TV-friendly race format of 45 minutes plus one lap, while the series is working on ways to use the new halo protection system to visually relay strategy information to fans.

“We need to be very visual [from Season Five onwards], and we need to ensure that everyone understands this race format where there are two levels of energy,” Formula E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag told e-racing365.

“For that you need to use visual identification such as LEDs or any other kind of way that we can make the car look different when it is on the maximum power [level], so when the guy is using this it needs to be like the car is on fire almost so the fans understand very well that the car is in full attack mode.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Chris

    August 7, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Fantastic news. Let’s hope they can commit to every race live on C4 and complete reruns for races run during the night UK time.

  2. krisg

    August 7, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    couldn’t care less as I do watch the races on Youtube. TV? This is so eighties…

  3. Geoffrey Ellis

    August 28, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Great news, I hope this happens. It would be good to see qualifying in HD for the first time in the UK as well as the race itself. Season 5 is an important stage forward and deserves to be widely shown.

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