Formula 1’s 2019 audience figures reached almost 2 billion viewers, the highest figure recorded since 2012 and a 9% increase on 2018.
Since Formula 1 changed ownership from Bernie Ecclestone’s CVC to Chase Carey’s Liberty Media, the sport has undergone a ‘digital revolution’ which has seen a concerted effort across all media platforms to increase the visibility of the sport through use of video, picture and shareable memes. Such has been the impact of the change of approach, young rookies like Lando Norris, Alex Albon and Charles Leclerc have become household names very quickly.
According to information released by Formula 1 Media on Tuesday, F1’s audience figures reached 1.922 billion viewers in 2019 across TV and digital – the highest figures recorded since 2012 and a 9% increase on 2018.
Unsurprisingly, Formula 1’s top five markets were unchanged. Brazil, Italy, Germany, the UK and Netherlands led the way with audiences of over 100 million each. Off the back of this popularity, Netherlands gets a Dutch Grand Prix in 2020 with a return to Zandvoort, although Germany has lost its race at Hockenheim despite the prominence of Mercedes Benz and Sebastian Vettel. Germany’s audience figures actually rose by 23% in 2019, with huge rises also noted in Greece (75%), Netherlands (56%) and Italy (29%).
However, these are rookie numbers compared to what Poland managed. With Robert Kubica returning to the sport in 2019, Poland’s figures rose by 256% – Kubica’s sponsors PKN Orlen were similarly enthusiastic about the commercial response to the country’s representation.
Formula 1’s Director of Media Right is Ian Holmes, who said that they are celebrating a clear ‘win’ with their new, open approach to the sport’s visibility: “I think that it should be acknowledged that in the ever-fragmented media landscape we live in, achieving a flat-line is a ‘win’ so to have secured another increase is particularly satisfying.”
“In terms of what has been driving the increases I think it is a myriad of different factors on and off the track. I think generally there was more compelling racing in 2019, more storylines, new and exciting drivers challenging for honours.”
“Also, we are always looking at ways of improving the coverage and capturing the action. New graphics with the help of AWS, different camera angles and positions have also been introduced.”
“My personal favourite was the ‘on-halo’ graphics which I thought looked incredible. I also believe our efforts away from the track are bearing fruit. We ran four fantastic F1 Fan Festivals, introduced ever more digital offerings and games, further developed our e-sports series and enjoyed great success with the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ which really resonated with lapsed, light and new fans.”
“All these elements aligned with our on-going event by event marketing efforts such as those we put on around F1’s 1,000th Grand Prix meaning that we are talking to ever more people through so many different channels.”