F1 broadcast to 1.9 billion fans in 2019, IndyCar 0.018 billion

While F1 continues to expand its global TV audience, IndyCar was asleep at the wheel, only caring about the minuscule USA TV audience numbers
While F1 continues to expand its global TV reach and fanbase, IndyCar was asleep at the wheel, only caring about the minuscule USA TV audience numbers

For the third year in a row, Formula 1 has seen its audience figures grow across both TV and digital platforms compared to the previous season.

The total global TV cumulative audience stood at 1.922bn, the highest since 2012, which represents an increase of 9% compared to 2018. This is the third consecutive year of growth. In the top 20 markets (based in ranking of TV audience) it reached 1.781bn, with the same increment year-on-year.

Meanwhile IndyCar, with perhaps the worse TV deal in its history, broadcast to 18 million fans across NBC and NBCSN and zero abroad for a total of 0.018 billion. In other words IndyCar reached less than 1% (0.94% to be exact) the audience F1 reached. Less than 1% the audience and, hence, less than 1% value to its sponsors and manufacturers.

Whoever signed that IndyCar TV deal should be terminated, or have their salary reduced to less than 1% of what it is today.

As they were last year, the top five markets by cumulative audience for F1 were Brazil, Germany, Italy, UK and the Netherlands, all with audiences higher than 100m. Among the top 20 markets, meanwhile, there have been exceptional increases; in Poland (+256%) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (+228%,) mostly driven respectively by new contract arrangements and Robert Kubica’s return to F1, and the new agreement signed in 2019 with MBC Group. Greece (+75%), the Netherlands (+56%), Italy (+29%) and Germany (+23%) were the countries with the highest increases, while the audience continues to grow in the United States (+7%) and in China (+5%).

Nineteen out of the 21 F1 Grands Prix had a higher cumulative audience compared to the previous season. The Italian Grand Prix had the highest of the year with 112m viewers (+20% YOY), which is also the highest since the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix. Three more events also had more than 100m viewers – Monaco, Brazil and Germany – and a total of 14 had more than 90m, with an average audience of 91.5m.

In 2019 the number of users across Formula 1’s social media platforms again grew significantly, with the total number of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube reaching 24.9m (+32.9% compared to 2018). The increase was particularly notable on Instagram (+69.3%) and Twitter (+66.1%). Formula 1’s social media channels confirmed their status as the fastest growing of all major sports leagues in the world.

Engagement on F1's social media platforms saw positive gains too, with total impressions up by 48.3% (15.5bn), video views by 60.9% (3.1bn) and minutes watched almost doubled, reaching 3.2bn (+89.9%). Interactions, meanwhile, totaled 405m across the four social media platforms (+82%).

F1’s core digital platforms had a great season, surpassing 1bn page views (1.124bn), almost doubling them (+82.3%), compared to last year. On the F1.com website, the number of pages viewed reached 409.8 (+22.9%) while the official F1 App has seen a three-digit increase (+152.3%), up to 714.2m views. On both platforms, video views and minutes watched rose significantly, up to 54m (+45.2%) and 84.5m (+19.5%) respectively. The number of unique users reached was 55.9m (+16.3%): 52.1m on the website (+15.3%) and 3.7m on the app (+33.5%), with a +25% increase of the average number of users per race week.

The Formula 1 fan base in the 27 markets monitored by Nielsen remained above 500m during 2019 and continues its youthful expansion, with 62% of the new fans accumulated in the last two years under the age of 35. China (81.3m), Brazil (54.7m), Mexico (45.5m), USA (34.6m) and India (31.1m) are in the top five positions by number of fans.

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