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Roku’s first free live sports stream will be Formula E racing

Roku’s first free live sports stream will be Formula E racing


It’s no Drive to Survive, but the new deal will bring 11 Formula E races to The Roku Channel next year.

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An image of several Formula E cars on the track.
Formula E has signed a streaming deal with Netflix.
Image: ABB FIA Formula E World Championship

Streamers are gobbling up major sports deals — YouTube has NFL Sunday Ticket, and Apple has Major League Soccer — so why not Roku? In its first live sports streaming rights get, Roku’s signed up to broadcast 11 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship races in the 2024 season. At the same time, five races that will air live on CBS Television Network will be simulcast on Paramount Plus, which can be accessed in the Roku Sports Experience, starting in January.

Formula E’s current season has about a month left to go. A race this past weekend garnered our attention when the DS Penske team was caught installing an RFID scanner that could “collect live data” from all other cars before the day’s race began, a move the FIA Stewards said was “forbidden.” Penske driver Stoffel Vandoorne accepted responsibility but said the move was no different than other teams photographing opposing teams’ tires.

The series is looking for exposure, says Aarti Dabas, Formula E’s chief media officer, who hopes its partnerships with CBS and Roku will “dramatically increase Formula E’s audience reach and maximise discoverability of our programming in the USA.”

Considering how instrumental the Netflix Formula One series Drive to Survive has been in growing the fan base for that sport in the US, its electric racing cousin may be hoping for a similar bump. A Nielsen analysis found last year that “more than 360,000 viewers who didn’t view F1 in the latter part of the 2021 season, watched F1 racing in 2022 after first watching Drive to Survive.”

The deal also includes other Formula E content, such as race previews, highlights, replays of all races, and, perhaps importantly, the Unplugged Formula E docu-follow series.

Roku debuted its Sports Experience hub in November as a way to easily integrate live sports into its platform. It launched with big-time integrated services like Fox Sports, FuboTV, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, and more, and the company has been working to expand the hub since then.