Channel 5 takes over Formula E rights

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The FIA Formula E Championship will be broadcast live on Channel 5 for the next two seasons, replacing ITV as the UK home for the world’s first fully-electric racing series.

All ePrix races will be broadcast live on Channel 5, with sister channel Spike broadcasting the qualifying sessions, while the practice sessions will be shown via Channel 5’s online social media accounts.

Season three starts on Sunday, October 9 with the inaugural Hong Kong ePrix and Channel 5 will follow the championship every step of the way until the season finale in New York on July 29-30. 

Channel 5 takes over the rights from ITV, which broadcast the first two seasons of the fledgling series on ITV4, with the end-of-season London ePrix races broadcast on the main ITV network.

The split from ITV comes after falling viewing figures for the 2015/16 season compared to the first year, which was underlined by the channel’s decision to opt out of live coverage of the 2016 Mexico City ePrix as it clashed with ITV4-televised snooker tournament.

Despite the absence of UK-based ePrix for season three, it is hoped that the deal with Channel 5 will revitalise interest in the series in Britain as the championship welcomes established manufacturers such as Jaguar and BMW.

Mark Sharman, Channel 5’s executive producer for sport, said: “Formula E is a fantastic opportunity for Channel 5 to offer live motorsports to our audience.

“The sport is up and coming, utilising the very top tech and new and engaging ways to incorporate fans into the high octane action.”

Ali Russell, Director of Media at Formula E, said: “We are delighted that Channel 5 will be our new broadcast partner in the UK.

“It was very important to us that the championship was on free-to-air TV, and we have been very impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment Channel 5 has demonstrated to the series and I believe this is an excellent arrangement for our many British fans.”

Formula E complement Channel 5’s existing coverage of the World Rally Championship, which it also took over the terrestrial rights from ITV at the beginning of the year, as well as its other sports programming which includes EFL football and England cricket highlights, plus regular live Saturday night boxing.

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