RMC won’t renew six-figure F1 radio rights deal

RMC, the commercial radio station in France, has opted against a renewal of its radio rights to motor racing’s Formula 1.

The private radio station has held rights to the series since 2002 but has decided to shed the annual rights costs that are “significantly higher” than €100,000 ($113,400) per year, according to L’Équipe.

RMC’s exclusive three-year rights agreement expired at the end of the 2019 season. The agreement with Formula One Management allowed RMC to offer live radio coverage from races from a commentary booth outside the circuit and afforded access to the drivers’ interview zone.

It is reported that RMC has decided to spare itself the rights cost and provide certain updates instead during its Sunday programming.

The decision has been made ahead of the start of the 2020 Formula 1 season this weekend (in Australia).

Signs of RMC’s moves to cut back it motor sports coverage came last year with the cutting of Motors, the long-running motor sports show presented by French motor sports journalist Jean-Luc Roy.

Broadcast rights to Formula 1 are held in France by the Vivendi-owned pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus. It was recently reported that the broadcaster has agreed an extended deal until the end of the 2022 season.

Canal Plus has covered Formula 1 in France since 2013, following on from free-to-air commercial broadcaster TF1, which had previously shown 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.