Vivendi-owned pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus has retained rights to motor racing’s Formula 1 for another two seasons, it has been reported.
The broadcaster’s existing contract was due to expire at the end of the 2020 season, but has been extended until the end of 2022, reports L’Équipe.
Canal Plus has covered Formula 1 in France since 2013, following on from free-to-air commercial broadcaster TF1, which had previously covered the sport from 1992 to 2012.
TF1 did, however, sign a deal covering the 2018 to 2020 period for free-to-air rights to four races per season, including the French Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix.
Canal Plus’ three-year extension announced in May 2017 marked the first major broadcaster contract in the era of Formula 1’s then-new owners, US media company Liberty Media.
The pay-television broadcaster recently announced an increase in its Formula 1 viewing figures, with average audience share figures rising year-on-year.
Canal Plus’ average viewing figure for early-afternoon grands prix was 757,000 subscribers, which equates to a 30.2-per-cent share of its subscriber base. This represented a new record for Canal Plus’ subscriber share, bettering the 2018 figure of 29.8 per cent.
The most popular race of the 2019 season on was the Italian Grand Prix, which was won by Monaco’s Charles Leclerc and attracted 1.17 million subscribers – the second-most watched race in the history of Canal Plus’ Formula 1 coverage. The race registered a subscriber share of 40 per cent, a record for a race taking place in the European afternoon.
The second-most watched race of the 2019 season was the Monaco Grand Prix, which gathered an audience of 865,000 viewers (and 35.1-per-cent subscriber share).
Canal Plus’ motor sports portfolio also now includes the MotoGP rights after the broadcaster ousted Eurosport, the series’ broadcaster in France since 1992, as the rights-holder in a five-year deal running from 2019 to 2023.