F1’s US ratings grow 54% in a year for ESPN

Formula One's 2021 season averaged 934,000 viewers per race.

F1’s US ratings grow 54% in a year for ESPN

Getty Images

  • Marks 39% increase compared to 2019
  • US GP averaged 1.2m on ABC, making it highest viewed race of 2021 season
  • Shatters ESPN's previous all-time record for F1 average audiences

The 2021 Formula One season reached an average of 934,000 viewers per race on US sports pay-TV network ESPN, an increase of 54 per cent compared to 2020.

The 2021 audience record is also an increase of 39 per cent on the 2019 season, when Formula One's live coverage on ESPN averaged 672,000 viewers per race.

The Disney-owned sports broadcaster also confirmed that its 2021 Formula One audience shattered its all-time previous record for the series, surpassing the 1995 season when races averaged 748,000 viewers.

The season closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to secure the drivers' championship, brought in 963,000 viewers on ESPN2. Due to the minimum of nine hours time difference between the US and Abu Dhabi, the race was broadcast in the early morning. If a later time slot would have been available, the broadcaster estimates viewership would have been higher.

Audiences peaked during the US Grand Prix in October, which averaged 1.2 million viewers on ESPN. This made it the most-viewed race since ESPN reacquired rights to Formula One ahead of the 2018 season.

ESPN also attracted increased audiences for the French Grand Prix in June, which attracted an average audience of 1.1 million viewers, making it the second-largest Formula One cable audience on record behind the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix, which reached 1.7 million.

In addition, out of the 22 races during the 2021 season, seven were in the list of the top ten Formula One cable audiences on record.