No word on US television coverage

THERE is much interest in the question of whether or not Formula 1 is going to be shown on television in the United States in 2002. Traditionally F1 does a last-minute deal with one (or more) of the small specialist TV channels in the US. As the ratings are low, TV channels are not willing to pay much for the right to screen F1 and there is no real interest from the major networks.

The success of the race at Indianapolis and the importance of the Indianapolis 500 might enable Tony George to leverage a deal with ABC (and its subsidiary ESPN) to cover F1 as part of the Indianapolis deal and the latest whispers suggest that one possible outcome is for ABC and ESPN to use the British ITV F1 feed to keep down costs. This would help to raise the profile of F1 in the United States but would not bring in much revenue for the Formula One group of companies.

The other option is to do a small deal with Speed Channel (formerly known as Speedvision until it was bought out by Rupert Murdoch's Fox. The problem with this idea is that Speed Channel is focussing its attention on NASCAR and so F1 will remain low profile.

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