Formula E has been a notoriously difficult race series to watch in America. It’s normally been relegated to obscure channels at obscure times, and trying to stream it hasn’t even been simple. But starting for the 2020-21 season, FE is moving to CBS and CBS Sports alongside the promise of a slightly more accessible viewing experience.
The United States has been high on FE’s radar since its inception, with two races taking place in the country in its first season (Long Beach and Miami) and continuing with at least one race per year ever since. While the stands haven’t always been packed, the racing has always been good, and people have been turning up to the events in steadier numbers.
Moving to CBS Sports—with the New York ePrix and one other race airing on CBS proper—for the seventh season is a big improvement for FE’s image in the US.
CBS Sports generally airs US-based sports like football, basketball, and golf, with the occasional NASCAR and IndyCar coverage popping up. The channel isn’t really known as being big for racing, but FE isn’t really a series that cares about that—it’s been aiming to break boundaries and appeal to non-traditional audiences.
Race broadcasts will be 90 minutes each and will air live. There will also be an hour-long pre-race preview show. The only downside is that every other session—practice, qualifying—and 12 of the 14 races will be exclusively aired on the CBS Sports Digital platforms, which likely means a subscription.
That in itself is a little frustrating. That was my main complaint about FE being tucked away in the nether regions of Fox Sports—I had to buy special access to watch it. We’re probably going to have to do the exact same thing again, but at the very least, it seems like we’ll have a slightly more impressive build-up to races than we have in the past.
The first race of season seven will be the Santiago ePrix doubleheader on January 16-17, 2021.