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Digital Preview Show for Sunday’s Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix Marks Another Step in Evolution of ESPN’s Coverage of Sport

Why is Countdown to Miami, ESPN's digital platform pre-race show, expanding to an hour this year? Here's the thinking behind it

This weekend in Miami, the second annual Formula 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix will be run, with Sunday’s race being presented live on ABC, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes (3:30 p.m. ET).

Leading up to the race telecast will be Countdown to Miami, an exclusive digital pre-race show at 2:30 on the ESPN App and ESPN’s Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter channels. Hosted by SportsCenter anchor Gary Striewski, with commentator Katie George and analyst Spencer Hall, the show will originate from a set inside the F1 paddock at the racetrack.

Matt Ufford, ESPN Senior Director Digital/Video Content, and Dave Presley, digital video producer, are managing the production, with Presley on-site in Miami.

This is the sixth year since F1 returned to ESPN in 2018, but last year’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix marked the first time that ESPN had produced its own on-site program during the current relationship.

“As soon as ESPN and F1 entered into a partnership, from a digital standpoint, we knew right away we wanted to seize the opportunity to be a digital presence on the ground,” said Ufford.

“Last year was the first-ever Miami Grand Prix, and it was one of the biggest and most star-studded races on the F1 calendar from the jump, so it was a really exciting time to do that.

“What we learned last year was we needed to have a longer show,” said Ufford. “Last year, we only had 30 minutes budgeted for the show, and our opportunities to interview top drivers and explore the F1 presence in Miami was so robust that this year’s show had to be an hour.”

Presley has been hard at work lining up interviews and guests for the program. Most interviews with F1 drivers are pre-recorded.

The team also did an on-site show last fall at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and this year will be back in Austin as well as at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix in November. They also produce the ESPN F1 Unlapped video podcast after each race and have also done some other F1-related shows.

“For me personally, the talent we bring together with Gary, Spencer, and Katie – they each have their own perspective that they bring to F1, and I love seeing what they do together,” he said. “It’s a lot of really bright and insightful personalities coming together for the show, and it’s also a lot of fun.”

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