The Roku Channel is already one of the best free streaming services out there, thanks to its large content library and availability on a variety of the best TVs and best streaming devices. And now, it’s getting even better — thanks to live sports.
Roku just announced a deal with CBS to show ABB FIA Formula E World Championship races on The Roku Channel. Starting in January 2024, 11 races will be available through The Roku Channel, completely free to viewers in the U.S. These 11 races will be accessible through the Sports Experience hub on the Roku smart TV home screen or in the Roku app.
Additionally, five other races will air on CBS and be simulcast on Paramount Plus, both of which can also be integrated into the Roku app or smart TV platform — provided you have a Paramount Plus subscription. There will also be a highlights show after each race on the CBS Sports Network.
Finally, Roku will add a ton of Formula E content to its library, including Formula E's documentary series Unplugged — a possible Formula 1: Drive to Survive competitor. You’ll also get access to race previews, highlights and race replays.
Live sports could give Roku a FAST advantage
If you’re a diehard racing fan, need something different from Formula 1 or just like having live sports as background noise while chilling on the couch, this new partnership between Roku and CBS is a win for you.
But, long term, it could be a win for a wide variety of sports fans. Free ad-supported streaming television (also known as FAST services) is growing in popularity thanks to the fact that, well… it’s free.
Granted, it needs to also have decent enough content to get you hooked, but given that there is now a ton of free TV and movies available — from HBO series to critically acclaimed A24 films — quality content is not an issue. The biggest downside is often that, if you want to watch new content, you’re often left hanging. There are some free streaming services like Amazon Freevee that have original shows (I recommend checking out Primo on Freevee), but for the most part, you’re watching older, syndicated content.
But if these FAST services can start securing live sports and this produces positive results, maybe the most popular sports will start dropping a game or two on a free streaming service. And that could be a win for everyone.