Channel 4, the UK commercial broadcaster, has today acquired domestic rights to Formula E, the all-electric motor racing series, in a multi-year deal.

The agreement will see the broadcaster become the UK’s exclusive free-to-air TV home of the Formula E World Championship from the upcoming eighth season.

Channel 4 replaces public service broadcaster the BBC, which held rights for the past three seasons.

However, the commercial network did strike a free-to-air rights deal with Formula E last year to show its races in London in July as the BBC was unable to broadcast them due to its coverage of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

That agreement meant Formula E had aired on all four main free-to-air outlets in the UK since its inaugural season in 2014-15 after also featuring on ITV and Channel 5.

Under its new long-term deal, Channel 4 will provide UK coverage of more live races in season eight than in any previous campaign.

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Every race in the championship’s expanded 16-race calendar will be aired live on Channel 4 and the All4 on-demand streaming platform, as well as Channel 4 Sport’s YouTube channel.

Race highlights will also be broadcast on Channel 4 and All4.

In addition, the new qualifying format featuring all 22 drivers in head-to-head knockout duels competing for pole position will be available live before every E-Prix on the broadcaster’s YouTube channel.

The first races of the new season will be held in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, with a double-header on January 28 and 29, while the championship will conclude with an E-Prix in Seoul, South Korea on August 14.

The opening round will air live from Diriyah on YouTube, while Channel 4 and All4 will broadcast live coverage of round two.

Most races in Asia and Europe will air live on Channel 4 and All4.

The deal bolsters Channel 4’s motorsports offering as it also holds rights to show highlights from Formula 1, while it presents live coverage of the top motor racing series’ British Grand Prix each season.

Channel 4 recently provided live free-to-air coverage of the final Formula 1 race of the 2021 season in a sub-license agreement with pay-TV giant and exclusive UK rightsholder Sky.

In an interview with GlobalData Sport last year, Aarti Dabas, Formula E’s chief media officer, explained how the series would seek a broadcast partner to provide “channel consistency” through linear television coverage in its next rights deal in the UK.

The BBC’s Formula E coverage was mainly available through its red button service and digital platforms and the series was keen to progress and get more linear exposure in the UK, particularly as it heads into its Gen3 era in season nine.

Commenting on the new Channel 4 agreement, Dabas today said: “We are delighted to build on our relationship with Channel 4 as the exclusive free-to-air home of the FIA Formula E World Championship here in the UK.

“The multi-year partnership with Channel 4 is great news for fans across the UK and for the continued growth of our sport. Last season saw more fans around the world tune into our live race programming than ever before.

“With Channel 4 established as the regular free-to-air home for Formula E in the UK, we look forward to better serving our passionate fanbase while attracting new fans to the excitement of all-electric street-racing.”

The London E-Prix will comprise rounds 13 and 14 of the forthcoming season.

Formula E yesterday announced a renewed free-to-air rights deal in France with L’Equipe, the digital sports broadcaster, for the new campaign.