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F1 sees social engagements grow 99% in 2020

Global motorsport series increases social following to 35m.

9 February 2021 Tom Bassam

Getty Images

  • F1’s average Grand Prix TV audience down 4.5% YoY
  • Cumulative TV audience fell 26% roughly in line as F1 staged four less races than in 2019

The Formula One global motorsport series made significant digital gains in 2020, seeing its social media engagements soar 99 per cent year-over-year (YoY) to 810 million.

The series claims it is the fastest growing major sports property across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, Snapchat, Twitch and Chinese social platforms, with total followers up 36 per cent to 35 million.

In China, Formula One says it saw followers on Weibo, WeChat, Toutiao and Douyin grow 133 per cent to 1.9 million.

Total video views across Formula One’s own digital platforms and social media were up 46 per cent against 2019 to 4.9 billion, with its unique users on F1.com and the F1 app up 26 per cent to 70.5 million, and page views up 13 per cent to 1.3 billion.

Formula One also amassed 14 million podcast listens in 2020, with its Beyond The Grid the most-listened-to motorsport podcast in the USA, UK, Australia and Canada, as well as in other territories.

On the broadcast front, Formula One suffered similar issues to most other sports properties as a pandemic-disrupted season saw viewership decline. The average audience per Grand Prix in 2020 was 87.4million, down 4.5 per cent on 2019, although up on the 87 million race average in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The series cited the number of races in Europe and the Gulf as being behind the drop in average audience, as local races and unusual start times in certain strong Formula One markets caused disruption.

Unique viewers for 2020 were down eight per cent YoY to 433 million. The cumulative TV audience for last year was 1.5 billion, down 26 per cent from 2019, which Formula One attributed to staging four less races.

In its annual audience report, Formula One also highlighted growth in a number of markets, with double digit YoY audience growth in China (43 per cent), the Netherlands (28 per cent), the UK (ten per cent) and Russia (71 per cent).

Stefano Domenicali, Formula One’s new chief executive, said: “We delivered 17 races, something many thought impossible earlier in the year. We did it safely and brought excitement and new races to our fans around the world. The audience figures for 2020 show the strength and resilience of our sport, with average audience figures in 2020 at 87.4 million and a total season cumulative audience of 1.5 billion.”

Formula One’s Esports Series saw a record number of fans tune into the action during 2020, achieving a total of 11.4 million live stream views across all digital platforms – a 98 per cent YoY increase.

The series’ final scored 1.7 million social media engagements, an all-time record for any Formula One esports event. The Pro Series achieved 291 million total social media impressions, a 151 per cent YoY increase.

Additionally, the series recorded 23.8 million video views, up 29 per cent on 2019, aided by increased social media output.

Formula One made significant digital gains in 2020

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