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F1’s global TV audience hits 1.55bn in 2021

Abu Dhabi finale reached 108.7m viewers worldwide, up 29% from 2020 race.

17 Feb 2022 Georgina Yeomans

Getty Images

  • Average audience for each race was 70.3m globally
  • F1 sees US viewership grow 58% YoY, with Dutch audience up 81%
  • Series’ social media channels saw 40% annual follower growth to hit 49.1m

Formula One has revealed that its cumulative broadcast audience for the 2021 season was 1.55 billion, a four per cent increase in comparison to 2020.

The series’ 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi reached 108.7 million viewers worldwide, up 29 per cent compared to the last race of the 2020 campaign, with Formula One seeing strong audiences for several races where Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were involved in close battles.

The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix reached 84.5 million globally, whilst Formula One’s new sprint race format appeared to help boost audience numbers at Silverstone (79.5 million global viewers), Monza (80.4 million global viewers) and Sao Paulo (82.1 million global viewers).

Formula One also saw growth in several other markets, including the Netherlands with an increase of 81 per cent year-over-year (YoY); the US, which was up 58 per cent YoY; France, (48 per cent YoY); Italy (40 per cent YoY); and the UK (39 per cent YoY).

Globally, the average audience for each Grand Prix during 2021 was 70.3 million, a 13 per cent YoY growth compared to the 60.3 million figure in comparable markets in 2020.

Additionally, Formula One saw its social media following increase 40 per cent during the 2021 season, with the total audience now more than 49.1 million.

In total, video views on the series’ social media channels improved by 50 per cent YoY to seven billion and total engagement increased by 74 per cent to 1.5 billion.

Total video views, combining Formula One owned and operated platforms with social, increased 44 per cent YoY to 7.04 billion. The number of unique owned-platform users grew by 63 per cent YoY to 113 million and page views were up by 23 per cent to 1.6 billion.

Formula One was also able to welcome fans back to races during the 2021 season, following an absence in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite limited capacity at some events, the 2021 campaign saw 2.69 million fans attend Grands Prix, although that figure is still down on the 4.16 million who came through the gates in 2019.

During the 2021 season, three races were able to welcome more than 300,000 fans. Those were the US (400,000), Mexico (371,000) and the UK (356,000). These three Grands Prix also enjoyed higher attendance levels compared to pre-pandemic levels, which were 268,000, 348,000 and 351,000 respectively.

“The 2021 season was something very special,” said Stefano Domenicali, chief executive of Formula One.

“We had a championship battle that went to the last race with huge excitement throughout the whole championship. We began to welcome back our fans who are the heart and soul of our sport and although we were limited in our capacities due to Covid, it was fantastic to see 2.6 million fans in the grandstands around the world.

“We have also seen some very strong figures across broadcast and our digital platforms, showing once again the momentum, excitement and interest that is all around Formula One. We are looking forward to our record breaking 23 race season this year, with new cars, new regulations, and a new challenge for all the teams and drivers. I know all of our fans can’t wait to get the season started.”

Elsewhere in Formula One, the series’ inaugural Miami Grand Prix has announced a multi-year founding partnership with Hard Rock International.

As part of the deal, Hard Rock will engage with race fans onsite at the Miami International Autodrome and at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, as well as at the Hard Rock Beach Club. Hard Rock will also receive event branding.

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