Channel 5 will air coverage of the first ever Formula E race from New York on tape-delay, schedules for the broadcaster show.
The New York double-header takes place across the weekend of Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th July. With Channel 5 airing Blind Date at 20:00 and Big Brother at 21:00 on Saturday, it means that the first New York City ePrix will be airing on tape-delay from 22:00 to 23:30, an hour after the race starts at 21:00 UK time (16:00 EST).
The news is contrary to the press release issued at the start of the season claiming that Channel 5 would air every race live. It is unknown at this stage whether the race will be streamed online for UK fans, and air live on BT Sport, as was the case with last year’s Mexico City ePrix. Live coverage of the second race will air on Channel 5 as usual from 17:30 to 19:10 on Sunday.
I can understand why Channel 5 have prioritised their hits: they are a commercial television channel and should air their highest rated programmes in the best slots. And whilst Big Brother is on the decline, there is no doubt that it would rate higher than Formula E would in that slot next weekend. However, one argument is that Channel 5 should have adjusted their schedule, bringing Blind Date forward to 19:30 (the first few episodes aired at 19:00) and pushing Big Brother back to 22:10 (the ailing reality TV series has aired as late as 22:30 this series).
As an alternative, Formula E could air live from 20:30 to 22:00 on Spike on the Saturday prior to Bellator, with extra post-race analysis contained within the Channel 5 repeat. So, Channel 5 have some options available to them. I am hopeful that this can resolved to allow UK viewers to see the first New York City ePrix race live.
Update on July 15th – At almost the eleventh hour, it has been announced that the first race will be broadcast live on Channel 5 Sport’s Facebook page. Clearly not an ideal situation for either them or Formula E, the late announcement implies that there has been some back and forth between the channel and the championship.