Very early Sunday morning the NBC Sports Network had live coverage of their first Formula 1 race in Australia. I was a bit worried that the coverage would be radically different from the former rights holder FOX’s SPEED Channel. I was pleased that except for some slight tweeks the only difference seemed to be was the on-air graphics and logos.
This past fall it was announced that the US rights to show Formula 1 races on TV would change from FOX’s SPEED Channel to the relatively new NBC Sports Network (the former Versus channel) for the 2013 season. I was concerned because usually when sports rights change channels the new holders start completely from scratch and change what I liked about the broadcasts. Luckily NBC didn’t change much. At least for the 2013 season.
The major change is Bob Varsha didn’t continue as lead commentator. NBC installed Australian Leigh Diffey as primary host. They did bring back David Hobbs and Steve Matchett for the broadcasts in the studio and Will Buxton came back as the on-site commentator/interviewer.
The video is a feed from the F1 organization so the pictures aren’t different but NBC did improve the audio from the team radios when those are heard.
I thought for the first race of the season NBC did a great job and I also liked the post race show “F1 Extra”. SPEED rarely spent much time after a race aside from the driver interviews so I hope NBC keeps that show on through the season.
When SPEED had the races FOX showed a couple of races on their main network and I hope NBC does that as well.
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