Mediapro Plans 24-Hour Formula 1 Channel for Latin America

Spanish television-production company Mediapro plans to start a regional 24-hour Formula One channel after acquiring the series’ rights for most of Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Barcelona-based Mediapro said in an e-mailed statement it bought the free-to-air and pay-TV rights for the regions, excluding Brazil, from 2015 to 2019, without disclosing financial terms. Venezuela’s Pastor Maldonado and Mexico’s Sergio Perez are among Formula One’s 22 race drivers. Mexico is seeking to host a race in 2015.

Mediapro is entering a regional sports pay-TV broadcasting market that is dominated by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, according to Catherine Davies, a media analyst for London-based consultancy Sportcal. Fox Sports has owned Formula One rights for Latin America for the last decade, Davies said.

“It will make people sit up and take notice of Mediapro, which has largely flown under the radar until now,” Davies said by phone.

Mediapro produces pay-TV sports channels for Al Jazeera in the Middle East and a soccer channel in Spain, according to Davies. It owns the television rights of La Liga teams Real Madrid and Barcelona.

In the U.K., British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc produces a dedicated Formula One channel.

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