The ESPN coverage for the 2018 Australian Grand Prix was heavily criticised as the coverage started late and then was marred by ill-timed ad breaks.
Technical issues with the broadcast meant that the pre-race build up wasn’t available and the viewers were forced to look at a Turn 9 static shot instead.
It also missed the race re-start following a safety car as the broadcasters were busy showing ads.
The post race analysis was also skipped as the broadcast ended right after the podium interviews and a basketball documentary took over.
After facing a lot of backlash from the fans, ESPN ensured that it released an official apology. The broadcaster tried to appease the fans by confirming that such an incident won’t be repeated in any future F1 broadcast.
And they managed to pull it off, as all other races went by pretty smoothly.
Now, for the second straight year, ESPN is prepared to offer commercial free F1 coverage for the 2019 season.
“ESPN says it is planning to bring back commercial-free F1 coverage for the ’19 season, after the move was obviously well-received last season.” Adam Stern, motorsport reporter for SportsBusiness journal confirmed.
“No word yet on if the presenting partner will again be Mothers Polish or another company” he added.
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) January 22, 2019
The announcement was well received by the fans as they were happy that ESPN was taking its viewers and the product very seriously.
OMG! YES! This is the best news of the season and the season hasn't officially started. pic.twitter.com/gJtNAiRSW8
— John Warren (@johndwarren) January 22, 2019
Hooray. The only good thing about ESPN
— David Sisler (@davesizzle) January 22, 2019
I don't particularly care who sponsors the coverage, but they can be damn sure they'll get my business.
— CU Sideslick (@sideslick) January 22, 2019
Good. No longer feeling any regret about supporting the ESPN+ platform. As long as ESPN supports commercial free (or severely commercial limited) F1 I take back (nearly) everything I have said about ESPN / Disney.
— gorilla2K (@gorilla2k) January 22, 2019
However, a few of the fans were sceptical about how ESPN would manage the commercial part of it?
How is this profitable?
— DavidHonksTV or is it? (@DavidhanksI) January 22, 2019
Adam, can you explain how in the world this pays off for ESPN? No ads? No money right?
— Shaun Dougherty (@boilerdougherty) January 22, 2019
Do you like this move from ESPN?