F1 ratings hot to start season – Sports Media Watch

Home » Ratings » F1 off to hot start with second cable high in as many weeks
After opening with its largest cable audience in 27 years, Formula 1 surpassed that mark in week two.
Sunday’s Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix averaged a 0.8 rating and 1.45 million viewers on ESPN, marking the largest live F1 audience since the 2014 Canadian GP on NBC (1.49M) and the largest on cable since the 1995 Brazilian GP on ESPN (1.74M). The first two races this season rank among the three most-watched ever on cable, with the previous week’s Bahrain opener ranking third at 1.35 million.
Overall, Max Verstappen’s win ranks among the ten most-watched F1 races ever on U.S. television, ranking slightly behind the 2002 Canadian GP in ninth place. The all-time record for an F1 race remains 2.78 million for ABC’s tape-delayed coverage of the 2002 Monaco GP.
For the second-straight week, F1 on ESPN outdrew NASCAR on FOX in the adults 18-34 demographic. Sunday’s race averaged a 0.44 in the demo, compared to a 0.32 for NASCAR from Circuit of the Americas. The previous week, Bahrain pulled a 0.43 and NASCAR a 0.37.
NASCAR won out in adults 18-49, scoring a 0.58 in that demo to F1’s 0.50. That was a wider margin than the previous week, when NASCAR won the head-to-head 0.55 to 0.50.
Notably, the F1 race was cable’s highest rated program of the day in adults 18-34 and 18-49. For the week ending Sunday, it was ESPN/ABC’s second-most watched sportscast behind a Sixers-Lakers NBA game last Wednesday night (1.52M) and ahead of Women’s NCAA Tournament games, primetime UFC and the NHL on ABC.
Through two races, the F1 season is averaging 1.4 million viewers — up 52% from the first two races last year (922K) and up 99% from the first two races two years ago, when the season did not begin until July (703K).
Beyond the race itself, Saturday’s qualifying coverage on ESPN2 averaged a 0.36 and 631,000 on Saturday.
f1 ratings chartf1 ratings chart
[Nielsen estimates from ShowBuzz Daily 3.29 a, b]
Dr. Jon Lewis (aka Paulsen) has been covering the sports media industry on a daily basis since 2006 as the founder and sole writer of Sports Media Watch. You can contact him here or on the Sports Media Watch Twitter page.
For more than sixteen years, a daily chronicle of sports media news and television ratings.
© MMXXII Jon Lewis/Sports Media Watch
© MMXXII Sports Media Watch


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