TV Ratings Say Fans Are Buying into F1's New Era
The F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Race attracted cable’s largest F1 audience since 1995.
TV ratings for the first two races of the season are 52 percent larger than the first two races of the 2021 season.
According to ESPN, the race is the 10th most-viewed F1 event in the U.S. on record
Two races into the 2022 Formula 1 season, it appears that fans are buying into the sport's changes that have encouraged more passing and at least a slight change to the F1 power structure.
According to ESPN, the viewership for Sunday’s live telecast of the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix topped a week-old record for the the cable sports network. and produced ESPN’s largest F1 audience since 1995. The viewership was the largest for an F1 race on any ESPN network since it returned to the sport in 2018.
The race, aided by a 1 p.m. ET start time, averaged 1.445 million viewers, peaking at 1.82 million in the 2:15-2:30 p.m. quarter-hour near the end of the race. The viewership audience exceeded last week’s average of 1.353 million for the Bahrain Grand Prix as the largest since ESPN returned to F1 and the second-largest on U.S. cable on record behind the 1.74 million that watched the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix.
ESPN said that the race was the 10th most-viewed F1 event in the U.S. on record, broadcast or cable, and the largest audience since 1.49 million watched the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix on NBC. The telecast led all of U.S. cable for Sunday in multiple key demographics including viewers 18-34, viewers 18-49, males 18-34, males 18-49 and males 25-54.
The audience was up 54 percent over last December’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on ESPN2 (937,000 average viewers), and was up 57 percent over last year’s second race from Emilia Romagna, Italy, on ESPN (918,000 average viewers).
In addition to the race telecast, ESPN2’s live coverage of F1 qualifying on Saturday at 12:55 p.m. ET earned an average audience of 631,000 viewers.
Through two races, the 2022 F1 season is averaging 1.4 million viewers, up 47 percent over the full 2021 F1 season (949,000 average viewers). This year’s seasonal average is 52 percent larger than the first two races of the 2021 season (922,000 average viewers) and and 99 percent larger than the first two races in the 2020 F1 season (703,000 viewers).