As many may know, after a long and successful run on Speed, starting in 2013, Formula One will have a brand new television home in the United States. NBC outbid the Fox-owned Speed channel for the exclusive rights to show Formula One in this country. The move to NBC ended a successful 17-year relationship between Speed and Formula One.
NBC announced today that their broadcast team for F1 would be Leigh Diffey on play-by-play, with David Hobbs and Steve Matchett serving as race analysts. The network announced that Diffey would also handle the play-by-play on NBC’s coverage of the IndyCar series, replacing longtime racing voice Bob Jenkins, who retired this year at the end of the season.
Those names should be quite familiar to Formula One fans, because they are the same team that has been covering the series for the past seven years on Speed. In a press release provided to me by NBC, the network had this to say about their new broadcast team:
“We are privileged to add not one, not two, but three experienced and respected voices to our Formula One coverage,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “Leigh, David and Steve are all gifted storytellers, who live and breathe F1. They will educate viewers with their unique perspectives, which have been formed from longtime careers spent either behind the wheel, in the pits or in the booth.”
The new agreement that starts in 2013 is a four-year deal, and the network will provide over 100 hours of programming across the NBC network and cable channel NBC Sports Network. All 20 races will be broadcast live using both NBC and NBC Sports Networks. Also of note is all of the races will be streamed live on broadband on NBC Sports Live Extra.
NBC will televise four races, including the Canadian Grand Prix in June and the final three races of the season in November, while the remaining 16 races will air on NBC Sports Network. The latter three races of the season include the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on November 17. NBC Sports Network will also televise all practice and qualifying sessions.
With this new deal with Formula One, NBC will be the U.S. home for open-wheel racing, as they will again air the majority on the IndyCar series with selected races including the Indianapolis 500 being broadcast on ABC.
*As the sports media columnist for the Washington Examiner, I receive all of the press releases from the broadcast networks.