StubHub says that the F1 Miami GP and F1 USGP at COTA were two of the top 10 most in-demand global sport experiences in 2022, the first time
F1 has made the list.
It says the ranking was based on total ticket sales from StubHub and Viagogo’s business in 175 countries and territories.
It should be noted that NASCAR and IndyCar events were nowhere to be found.
December 15, 2022
According to ticket sales company StubHub, there is rising popularity for Formula One both globally, and in the United States.
And that growth is expected to rise even further in 2023.
StubHub released their year-end Year in Live Experiences report on Wednesday, highlighting their most popular events in both music and sports. For the first time ever, F1 races cracked the top ten in sporting events, with both the Miami Grand Prix, and the Austin Grand Prix, featured on the year-end list.
The most popular sporting event last year was the World Series, according to StubHub. With the series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies going to six games, the cumulative ticket sales topped StubHub’s list.
That was followed by the FIFA World Cup, which is still unfolding in Qatar. Cumulative sales for that event placed second on StubHub’s list.
The other eight on the list were all one-off events, with football leading the way. Five of the other eight were either NFL or college football games, including: Super Bowl LVI (third), the College Football National Championship (fourth), the NFC Championship game (fifth), and the Oklahoma-Texas game (tenth).
The MLB All-Star game placed eighth.
Then there were the two F1 events, the Miami Grand Prix — which ranked seventh on StubHub’s list — and the Austin Grand Prix, which came in ninth.
Another race that would be a huge hit would be if the Long Beach GP would become an F1 race again with IndyCar the Saturday event after F1 pole qualifying. That would be a huge weekend and IndyCar would get far more exposure than it does now.
It should be noted that the Indy 500 nor the Daytona 500 cracked the top-10 on StubHub.
The rankings were based on “cumulative ticket sales on StubHub North America and viagogo international marketplaces for events in 2022.”
Chris Miller, Chief Business officer for StubHub, had this to say about the presence of F1 on the list: “…a Formula 1 debut on the list, driven by its growth with a new fan base in the United States, has us looking forward to the new Las Vegas Grand Prix in 2023.”
Miller’s point about the Las Vegas Grand Prix leads us to why F1 might only continue to grow in 2023.
First, there is the presence of the Netflix series Drive to Survive, which has created a new base of fans here in the United States. According to this piece from The Guardian prior to the Miami Grand Prix, “[t]he series was launched in 2018 and season four, which premiered this year, attracted its biggest audience, achieving the Netflix top 10 status in 56 different countries. The audience growth watching the sport in the US has been steady since then and crucially is hitting the younger demographic F1 wants to attract.”
Beyond the success of the show, and the surge in ticket sales as found by StubHub, ESPN has seen growth in their F1 coverage. “ESPN has enjoyed increasing ratings since it took over broadcasting F1 in 2018 moving from an average of 554,000 that year to 927,000 in 2021, yearly rises tallying with the growth in popularity of each subsequent series of Drive to Survive.”
The series is not without its critics, as even drivers and teams have taken umbrage with how the series leans into rivalries and soap opera-like storylines. But there is no question that the series has helped drive the popularity of F1 in the States, introducing the sport to new viewers.
Drive to Survive was renewed for Seasons 5 and 6 recently, and Season 5 is expected to be released early next year, prior to the start of the 2023 F1 season.
But there are other aspects of the upcoming season that could continue that growth. For the first time since 2015, there will be an American-born driver on the grid. Last month, Williams Racing confirmed that Logan Sargeant will be one of their two drivers in 2023, replacing Nicholas Latifi.
Expectations for Sargeant at Williams will need to be managed, however. The former racing giant finished last in the Constructors’ Championship this season, their fourth last-place finish in the last five campaigns. The years of Williams’ prominence on the track, such as back-to-back third-place finishes in 2014 and 2015, or their second-place finishes in 2002 and 2003, seem like a distant memory.