Aurora and North One win race for Formula E host broadcast contract
A joint venture of incumbent Aurora Media Worldwide and North One Television has today been appointed to serve as the host broadcaster of Formula E, the international electric motor racing series, for the next four years.
The bid from the UK-based companies was chosen ahead of two others following a shortlisting process which reduced the number of applicants from the original 12.
In a statement, Formula E said the new contract, which comes into effect for the 2017-18 season, “was awarded after an exhaustive and highly competitive three-month tender process involving some of the biggest television sport companies across Europe.”
Aurora has been the media partner and host broadcaster of Formula E since the launch of the series in 2014, and will now have the support of North One, which has a long-standing involvement in motor racing.
Other events for which Aurora provides host broadcast services include Goodwood Motorsport events in the UK, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, badminton's BWF Superseries finals and the international Six Day Cycling series.
North One has been producing support programming for UK free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4’s coverage of Formula 1, for which the main production partner is Whisper Films, and, in motor cycling, produces MotoGP for pay-TV operator BT Sport and acts as host producer of the Isle of Man TT.
It previously produced UK commercial network ITV’s coverage of Formula 1 from 1997 to 2008, and was the global promoter and production partner of the World Rally Championship until 2012.
North One chief executive Neil Duncanson will join Aurora managing director Lawrence Duffy as a co-executive producer of Formula E, and North One is also welcoming back Dave Lewis, who previously spent 20 years as a senior producer at the company, as creative director to work alongside series director Westbury Gillett and series producer Mike Scott.
Alejandro Agag, the founder and chief executive of Formula E, said: "I'm delighted to welcome North One Television to the Formula E family as host broadcaster for next season alongside Aurora Media Worldwide. Since the inception of Formula E, we've worked closely with Aurora to showcase exciting and electrifying racing in the tight confines of some of the world's leading cities.
"Over the first three years, Aurora has assisted with the smooth production of high-quality content - telling the unique story of Formula E. The next chapter of our partnership will be very exciting and together with North One we aim to further improve the viewing experience for fans - bringing the very best of Formula E to homes around the world."
The 2017-18 Formula E season begins in Hong Kong in December and will comprise 14 rounds across the globe.
The organisers are promising that broadcast coverage will be taken to a new level, with virtual and augmented reality innovations, more on-board views and other special camera features.
There are also plans for more support programming “creating a first-class blend of sports and entertainment content, designed to grow the brand into a world-renowned sports entertainment property.”
The line-up of the manufacturers for the next campaign includes Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Renault, Citroen and Mahindra, and Mercedes-Benz is poised to join in the 2019-20 season.
The German car giant, which already runs the leading team in Formula 1, was originally due to make its bow in the electric racing series in the fifth season, in 2018-19, but announced yesterday that it has deferred its entry by a year.
Toto Wolff, the head of motorsport at Mercedes, said: “This gives us time to properly understand the series and to prepare for our entry in the right way."
In order to focus on its Formula 1 and Formula E ventures, Mercedes is to withdraw from DTM, the prominent German touring car racing series, after the 2018 season.
The company has been a mainstay of the series since it was relaunched in 2000, but its withdrawal will leave BMW and Audi as the only manufacturers.
The 2016-17 Formula E season concludes with the Montreal ePrix, a double-header, in Canada this weekend.