Formula One gets TV boost from new China and US broadcast deals

Series records increase in audience figures across digital and TV for 2018.

Formula One gets TV boost from new China and US broadcast deals

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The Formula One global motorsport series has revealed that its audience figures were up across both digital and TV platforms during the 2018 season.

The series’ global cumulative TV audience was up to 1.758 billion, of which 1.59 billion were in its top 20 markets, representing a three per cent increase on 2017 and a second consecutive year of growth. The championship reached a total of 490.2 million unique viewers over the course of the 21-race campaign, which marked a ten per cent increase on the 2017 season.

When it comes to the series’ top three markets for cumulative audience, the charts were once again topped by the motorsport hotbeds of Brazil, Germany and Italy.

Brazil’s 115.2 million viewers represented Formula One’s biggest market in terms of TV reach, followed by China with 68 million and the US with 34.2 million.

Much of that growth was fuelled by Formula One’s return to free-to-air TV in China with CCTV, which saw the series increase its reach in the country by more than three times compared to 2017. Meanwhile, the series’ first year on ESPN saw its US audience grow by 20 per cent.

The championship also roped in a significant number of new followers on its social media platforms, with its audience across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube climbing 53.7 per cent to 18.5 million.

Fans were also viewing more Formula One content across digital, where the series’ total impressions grew by 29.2 per cent to 10.4 billion, video views were up 77.2 per cent to two billion, and minutes watched reached 1.75 billion, which was an increase of 84.6 per cent.

Formula One’s growth across TV and digital comes after an increased focus on reaching new audiences since Liberty Media’s US$4.4 billion acquisition of the series back in 2017. Since then, Formula One has launched F1 TV, its own over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform, set up an esports series and run its first ever marketing campaign in an attempt to engage with the next generation of fan.

Based on data released by Nielsen, Formula One’s fanbase grew by three million to 506 million during the 2018 season, with 205 million of that total now under the age of 35, while almost two thirds are 45 or younger.

Formula One also said that its average viewer age of 40 is in line with other major sports and leagues including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL), which have average ages between 39 and 40.