BBC picks up rights to W Series esports league

UK public-service broadcaster the BBC has acquired rights to the W Series’ new esports competition, which launches tomorrow (Thursday).

The BBC will cover the 10-race series on its digital platforms. Every race will be shown as part of a 90-minute broadcast across the BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and the BBC Sport website.

The all-female W Series is working with Logitech, Beyond Entertainment, iRacing and Whisper to stage its esports league, which begins with a virtual race around Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

The league will then feature an event each week, starting on June 18 with the Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas. Other tracks will include Brands Hatch (UK), Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Brazil), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Watkins Glen International (New York), Suzuka International Racing Course (Japan), Mount Panorama Circuit (Australia), Nürburgring (Germany) and Silverstone (UK).

All races will begin at 7pm (BST). The series will be contested by women only, and all 18 drivers who had qualified to take place in the now-cancelled on-track W Series are expected to compete using identical equipment.

W Series announced last week that it would not be staging on-track races until 2021 due to ongoing difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The series promised that 2021 will be “bigger and better”, with at least two races to be held alongside F1 events.

Last year, UK free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4 acquired rights to the inaugural edition of the W Series.

Catherine Bond Muir, chief executive of the W Series, said: “We want the brand-new W Series Esports League to be intensely competitive, serious and authentic. Our partnerships with Logitech G, Beyond Entertainment and iRacing are going a long way to help us realise that ambition, and this new partnership with the BBC takes us further still.

“The W Series Esports League can open both W Series and the world of esports to a wider audience, and the BBC’s unrivalled experience, trusted voice and diverse platforms will be the perfect conduit for that.”