NBC will be broadcasting the Monaco Grand Prix on May 26th, 2013. While this is great news for F1 fans this shows that NBC executives are not only stupid but getting pretty desperate in a relentlessly bad quest for TV ratings.
NBC acquired the broadcasting rights from Speed channel to broadcast F1 races and qualifying practices on NBC Universal’s various channels (CNBC, NBC Sports Network) last year. NBC is broadcasting a majority of the F1 races on CNBC and NBC Sports Network since they obviously wouldn’t broadcast all of the races on the main NBC channel.
It is important to note that CNBC and the NBC Sports Network are only available via cable subscription, which a lot of people are getting rid of in favor of internet TV alternatives such as Netflix, Hulu, and others.
The Monaco Grand Prix is the first F1 race that NBC is broadcasting on NBC. This means that anyone with an over-the-air (OTA) antenna that can pickup a strong signal from an NBC affiliate station can watch the Monaco Grand Prix without a cable subscription. This will make watching the F1 race much easier and make it Formula One available to a much wider audience than in the past.
As an auto journalist I think it is cool that NBC Universal is making F1 races available on NBC. I am not sure if NBC executives realize that most people in the US have no idea what F1 racing is, what it is about, and how it works. This is likely to cause confusion and frustration and quite a lot of finger pointing from executive offices in New York City since I am assuming ratings are not going to be that good.
If you love Formula 1 racing and don’t have cable, this is great news though. You will have to get up at 7am to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, which is early on a Sunday but that I assume Formula One fans can live with that. According to the NBC F1 schedule there will be 3 other Formula 1 races broadcast on NBC. The races and dates are;
- Sunday, June 9 – Grand Prix Of Canada at Montreal – Airs at 2 p.m. on NBC (re-airs at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network)
- Sunday, November 17 – United States Grand Prix at Austin – Airs at 1 p.m. on NBC (re-airs at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network)
- Sunday, November. 24 – Grand Prix Of Brazil at Sao Paulo – Airs at 11 a.m., on NBC (re-airs at 4:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network)
The same day the Monaco Grand Prix will be on NBC, May 26th, there will also be the Indianapolis 500 which will be broadcast on ABC later in the day. If you are a racing fan this will be a good day for you since you can enjoy a major Formula 1 and IndyCar race on the same day.
Even if the ratings are good and broadcasting F1 races actually works within NBC programming, is NBC going to continue to broadcast F1 racing? Judging from NBC’s many poor programming decisions (canning Ann Curry, not honoring 911, etc) over the past year I doubt they will.
Have an opinion leave a comment below and let us know.