Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 20, 2022 A general view during the race.
Thaer Al Sudani | Reuters
The 2022 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix drew more than one million American viewers at its season opener Sunday – making it the most-watched Formula 1 race on ESPN since 1995.
ESPN said the Bahrain Grand Prix drew an average of 1.3 million viewers in the US and peaked at 1.5 million viewers around 12:30 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. ET, as the race entered the final and most dramatic laps. Viewership for the race is up compared to the same race in the 2021 schedule, which saw an average of 927,000 viewers, according to ESPN.
The network used metrics from a measurement and analytics company Nielsen To report on F1 viewership in the US, Sky Sports owns the rights to broadcast F1 races in the UK
Scuderia Ferrari and Monaco driver Charles Leclerc won the grand prizeTo get 26 points to start the season. Leclerc beat his Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz, who finished second, and scored 18 points, with a total of 44 points, at the end of the first week. Mercedes driver and fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton finished third with 15 points.
This season, Hamilton is seeking a record eighth world title after falling in the last race of the 2021 season to Dutch Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.
The 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix drew more cable viewers to ESPN than anything since the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix, which averaged 1.74 million viewers, according to the network. It’s the most watched race ever DisneyNetwork owned since F1’s return to ESPN in 2018.
F1’s popularity and viewership have skyrocketed in the US since behind the scenes Netflix The series “Drive to Survive” debuted in March 2019. The series’ fourth season, which summarizes the 2021 season, became available to stream on Netflix on March 11.
The racing company set a new viewership record last season when an average viewership of 934,000 viewers per event on ESPN and ABC – a 54% increase compared to the F1 races of 2020. F1 viewership for 2021 included an average of 1.2 million viewers for the prix. The Great American in Austin, which was broadcast on both ESPN and ABC.
The previous viewership record came in 1995 when Formula 1 averaged 748 000 viewers per race.
In 2019, before the pandemic paused global esports and drove more American viewers into F1, the sport averaged 672,000 viewers on ESPN channels. In 2018, after ESPN brought racing back into its lineup, F1 races averaged 554,000 viewers on the grid.
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 20, 2022, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc during the race
Thaer Al Sudani | Reuters
Liberty Media It bought F1 in 2016 for $4.4 billion, and has managed to reach a global fan base of over 400 million. F1 is traded as a tracking stock under the “FWONA” ticker on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Companies use stock tracking to measure the success of a particular division of their portfolio.
Last month , I mentioned Liberty The Racing League brought in $2.1 billion in revenue in 2021, up from $1.1 billion in 2020. And Formula 1 should be in a position to increase revenue as a new race is added to the North American roster.
In April 2021, F1 struck a 10-year deal to offer the Miami Grand Prix, the second US race on the schedule. The inaugural race in Miami is scheduled for May 10. Financial data for that deal was not disclosed, but CNBC reports that motorsport experts estimate the Motorsports League has generated between $17 million and $20 million annually under the agreement.
F1 did not race in the US from 2008 to 2011 but returned with the US Grand Prix in Austin 2012. The Miami Grand Prix brings a total of four races to North America as F1 races also in Canada and Mexico.
And F1 could expand into the US again.
The racing company is reportedly seeking to return to Las Vegas, according to Las Vegas magazine review. That could happen as soon as the 2023 season and it would be the first time since 1982 that Las Vegas has hosted an F1 race.
F1 did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the possibility of the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
This season, F1 is set to run 23 races, but longtime sporting chief executive Chris Lynchsky has predicted that number will expand to 25 or more with the addition of the Las Vegas GP, another event in China, and a possible return to India and Africa.
Lencheski, president of private equity advisory firm Phenicia, served as CEO of sports and entertainment marketing firm SKI & Company before selling the agency in 2008. The company drafted F1 sponsorship contracts.
Lencheski said the Netflix series has bolstered support for F1 racing, and he said potential manufacturers – Audi and Porsche – are also causing quite a stir.
“Both have global footprints across performance cars. So if they come [to F1]This is a massive amount of corporate investment that would allow Formula 1 to expand the teams.”
F1 has also expanded its partnership revenue in 2021, including a A deal worth over $100 million With the Crypto.com blockchain platform.
The next F1 race – the Saudi Grand Prix – is scheduled for Sunday, followed by the Australian Grand Prix on April 10.
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal and CNBC’s parent Sky.
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