F1’s Las Vegas GP hits 1.3m viewers on ESPN

Third-largest viewership of the season on US cable, sixth most-watched overall in 2023.
  • 18 to 49 demographic records 668k average viewership
  • Most-viewed F1 race since June’s Canadian GP on ABC 

The Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix averaged 1.3 million viewers on Disney-owned ESPN in the US.

This represented the third-largest Formula One audience of the season on cable, and the sixth-largest overall across all ESPN platforms.

The 18 to 49 demographic saw an average viewership of 668,000, a key indicator of the future health of the series, and overall viewership peaked at 1.5 million between 1:15 and 1:30am (ET).

The race was also streamed on ESPN+, ranking as the second-most viewed Formula One race on the over-the-top (OTT) platform, behind only this season’s Miami Grand Prix.

Due to the start time, the majority of the top ten local market ratings were all towards the West Coast, with Las Vegas attracting far and away the best rating for the race.

With one race remaining, the 2023 Formula One season remains on track to be the second most-viewed season ever on US television, averaging 1.12 million.

While this is a decrease on last year’s figure of 1.21 million viewers, the 2022 season included the record 2.6 million viewers for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.

BlackBook says…

It’s hard to quantify whether this is a positive or a negative result for Formula One in the US.

On the one hand, averaging 1.3 million viewers with a start time that did not cater for most of the American audience is impressive. The East Coast is the US’s motorsport heartland, but fans in the region had to contend with the lights going out at 1am.

Overall viewership remaining somewhat steady is also worth commending considering the uncompetitive nature of this season, with the title having been wrapped up in early October and the majority of races giving audiences little to shout about.

The 2023 season has seen three of the four largest live Formula One audiences in US TV history, with Miami (1.96 million), Monaco (1.79 million) and Canada (1.76 million) recording notable figures.

Yet, it smacks of wasted potential. Formula One is obsessed with growing its US footprint, but didn’t cater for the local audience. How high could the Vegas Grand Prix viewership have been had the start time been more accommodating for the US market?

The inaugural Miami Grand Prix soared to 2.6 million viewers on novelty alone, as evidenced by its 24 per cent viewership plunge this season, so it’s fair to assume that Las Vegas could have been even bigger.

Plus, with the Nascar and IndyCar seasons having finished, there should have been a further boost to the audience due to US fans seeking a motorsport fix. Formula One’s most anticipated race could not fully capitalise.