Start, Monaco, 2018

F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year

2018 F1 season

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More people watched Formula 1 on television last year than in 2017, new figures from the sport’s promoter have revealed.

According to Formula One Management, 490.2 million unique viewers watched the sport last season. This is an increase of 10% compared to the previous year. The cumulative audience worldwide rose to 1.758 billion viewers.

Brazil, Germany and Italy boasted the largest cumulative audiences, the latter despite losing free-to-air coverage of the sport last year. F1 will not be aired live on free-to-air channels in the UK in 2019, with the exception of the British Grand Prix.

The most-watched race of last season in terms of cumulative audience was the Monaco Grand Prix, which drew 110 million viewers, a year-on-year increase of 10%. The Bahrain, French, Austrian, British, Italian and Mexican Grands Prix all attracted viewerships of more than 90 million.

FOM did not release viewing figures for its over-the-top streaming platform F1 TV, which suffered various problems following its launch at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

However it did report an increase in its social media fanbase, with a combined 18.5 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. That represented year-on-year growth of 53%, which FOM said makes F1 “the fastest growing major sport on social media platforms.”

F1 claims a total fanbase of 506 million, around 62% of which was described as “45 or younger”. In a Reddit question and answer session last month F1’s director of market research Matt Roberts said 14% of the fanbase is under the age of 25 and 30% are aged 25-34.

However FOM said 61% of new fans which have discovered the sport in the last two years are under 35 while 36% are under 25, a change it credited to new initiatives such as the F1 eSports Series.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 16 comments on “F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year”

    1. I’m part of both the 62% as well as the 14%, LOL.

      1. Haha me as well
        Watched aarava on YouTube then 2016 Mexico GP Quali
        You could say I’ve not witnessed domination

    2. I must admit to being sceptical about the 490.2M more viewers than for the 2017 season. I was going to say I was sure the viewers had plateaued long ago where I live, but then I remembered Brendon Hartley was driving for Toro Rosso, so maybe there was a slight increase in viewers where I live.
      Our F1 broadcaster has changed, but there’s no information on the new pricing structure. I was hoping some samples of video were available to watch by now, but there isn’t.

      1. @drycrust, I think that you’ve misinterpreted what was written – the total number of unique viewers over the season was 490 million, and that figure represents an increase of 10% compared to last year i.e. that last year saw about 450 million unique viewers. It is the figure to which the viewing figures have increased, not the amount by which the viewing figures have increased.

      2. Maybe we should also take into account that we had quite a few races this year? Going from 20 to 21 should theoretically mean an increase of some 4-6 % by itself, I would think @anon, @drycrust

    3. nice PR job, Liberty.

    4. I think it difficult to believe that that viewership went up in Italy with F1 going behind a paywall. Seems unlikely.

    5. So it all depends on how the characterize unique viewers. Does a person watching the 2 minute highlight reel on YouTube count?

      If F1 has a cumulative audience north of a billion, why is sponsorship so hard to come by for teams? Even Mercedes and Ferrari (yeah… Mission Winnow) lost sponsors last year.

      1. Investment in advertising has changed a lot since the 60’s. It’s a lot harder to wine and dine a company with more money than they know what to do with into putting their sticker on the side of an F1 car when there are so many more lucrative potential investments. You could by a LOT of ad-words which equate to direct measurable increase in business which is hard for F1 teams to fight against.

        There’s also the question of what global brands can you even market to 35+ males? Alcohol and Tobacco are generally out, the former legal in most countries but still a hassle, especially related to anything driving. Technology is an option but most technology companies have product-focused campaigns. Retail? Amazon needs no help advertising… Fashion is an option which we are seeing, aligns well with the product which is why we’re seeing all these ridiculous sunglasses in the paddock and everyone is keen to have their watch in optimal location in pressers, but what else? Oil et al…

        It’s not impossible, there’s probably endless opportunities, McLaren are doing well for example. But I’m sure it’s not an easy task of saying “we have this many viewers, give us all your money”

    6. A new streaming service has released in Australia that has all major sports, including F1 for $25 a month. It’s actually a reasonable price considering previously one would have to shell out $60/mo + cable/satellite installation on a contract. I don’t know if other countries have had similar “under the top” services available but if so it could explain a part of the upswing. I could very well be counted among this number next year…

    7. Shame they didn’t release the F1 TV numbers. Does this mean they are extremely bad?

    8. 490.2 million unique viewers watched the sport last season.

      Do we know how long they watched ? For example, what if i just stay on the channel for a minute or so until the ad break on another gets over ? What if i just stay on the channel for a few second to simply know what it is (for those who have never seen F1 on TV or never cared) ?
      I wish these metrics could be a little more specific. Else, it can simply be linked to increase in more households able to afford TV/cable around the world (or simply an increase in population).

      1. I read on a different site that they now calculate it at 3 minutes where before they counted 15 minutes. I’m sure far more people watch 3 minutes of F1 than 15 minutes so I think it’s skewered results. My aunt would watch the start with me to see if there where any accidents…

    9. This is what happens when you get rid of an old man who hates the internet and have people living in the 21st century in charge.

      Now to improve the F1TV experience and get out of 2008.

    10. An undeniable Verstappen effect.

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