Viaplay, the Sweden-based media and entertainment company, has agreed a deal with motor racing’s Formula 1 (F1) to carry its F1 TV premium streaming service in the Netherlands.
Under a strategic partnership, that covers the 2024 season, Viaplay customers in the country will be able to access F1 TV Pro as part of their subscriptions. The F1 offering will also remain available in the Netherlands as a stand-alone product.
Viaplay already holds rights to F1 in the market under a three-year deal that runs through the 2024 season.
Through F1 TV Pro, Viaplay viewers will have access to additional features such as international commentary, multiple onboard cameras, pit lane and paddock feeds, and in-race radio communications.
The partnership “will be supported by an innovative business model intended to grow both parties’ businesses, and aims to increase the relevance of Formula 1 for local viewers even further through a richer combined offering.”
There is significant F1 interest in the Netherlands due to Dutch driver and reigning world champion Max Verstappen.
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Viaplay and Verstappen have a long-term partnership under which he appears in Viaplay programming such as documentaries and has an ambassadorial role for the service.
F1 TV was launched in 2018 and initially also provided live coverage, while F1 TV Pro provided additional unique feeds not available anywhere else.
Since then, the F1 TV offer has been pared back to provide on-demand content only, while F1 TV Pro includes the platform’s live coverage offering.
F1 TV is available in upwards of 110 countries around the world and the F1 TV Pro offer in over 90 countries.
Peter Nørrelund, Viaplay Group executive vice president and chief sports and business development officer, said: “The Netherlands is one of the world’s most exciting Formula 1 markets, with a rich motorsport heritage, a local legend rewriting the record books, and millions of passionate and knowledgeable fans.
“This creates great opportunities for both a broad streaming product such as Viaplay and a specialized service like F1 TV Pro. Working together, with the added support of our partnership with Max Verstappen, is a win-win for supporters and for each platform.”
Ian Holmes, Formula 1 director of media rights and content creation: “We’re very excited to bring F1 TV Pro to even more fans in the Netherlands thanks to this innovative partnership, which represents a new model for us in the territory.”
In addition to F1, Viaplay’s sports rights portfolio in the Netherlands includes English soccer’s Premier League, EFL Championship and Carabao Cup, Germany’s Bundesliga, and PDC darts.
The deal with F1 comes despite Viaplay experiencing significant financial difficulties. In recent months the company has sold a 12% stake to international pay-TV broadcaster Canal Plus and 10.1% to Norwegian media group Schibsted.
Up to this point, it has had a presence in 13 countries, but that number is now likely to be substantially reduced.
The Scandinavian group’s chair, Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, said in July – just before the Canal Plus deal – that the decisions were being taken in order to “focus our attention and resources on those markets where we can compete for the long term, and ensuring that our products are relevant, popular, and generate healthy returns.”
He added that the group was already exploring “capital raising alternatives,” including either selling the whole company or minority stakes.
For 2023, Viaplay’s operating losses are expected to come to between $83 million and $102 million.