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Rio Motorsports acquires F1 rights in Brazil for five-year cycle

Brazil-based motor sports investment business Rio Motorsports has acquired the exclusive broadcast rights to Formula 1 motor racing for a five-season cycle.

The rights will run from 2021 and 2025 and Rio Motorsports is now expected to look to sublicense the rights across pay-television, free-to-air and streaming platforms.

Any streaming rights sublicensed by Rio Motorsports are expected to be non-exclusive with Liberty Media, Formula One’s rights-holder, to launch its premium F1 TV Pro OTT service in Brazil.

Rio Motorsports is also in negotiations in a bid to bring a Formula One race to Brazil and the business is currently overseeing the construction of a track in Rio de Janeiro.

The property’s long-term incumbent rights-holder, media group Globo, announced to sponsors in August that it would not be renewing its rights.

Globo first broadcast F1 in 1972. Free-to-air broadcaster Rede Bandeirantes covered the series for a period thereafter but Globo regained the rights in the early 1980s and has been broadcasting F1 ever since. Globo has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and has sought to renegotiate some rights contracts and trim costs.

F1 TV’s subscription offering, Access, is already available in Brazil and is priced at $2.99 (€2.56/R$16.63) per month. The premium Pro service offers live streaming of races and qualifying sessions, along with other content, which Globo currently provides on an exclusive basis, including its own live streaming on its sports website.

The Formula One rights are the second property that Rio Motorsport has acquired after Globo announced that it would not be renewing.

This announcement follows the MotoGP deal in March which ran into trouble earlier this month after it emerged that Rio Motorsports defaulted on a payment to MotoGP rights-holder Dorna Sports.

The MotoGP rights were then transferred to Fox Sports Brasil, a partner of Rio Motorsports’ in that deal, to ensure that future payments were met and broadcasts would continue.