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Sunday marked the first Canadian Grand Prix in three years after the event was postponed the previous two seasons due to COVID-19 restrictions. As Formula 1 returned to Montreal, so did the fans. The stands were packed throughout the weekend, with US viewership following suit. Monday’s F1 TV ratings release by ESPN confirmed a new benchmark.
The race aired on ABC, like the Miami GP earlier this year, which greatly improved F1’s reach. 1.7 million viewers tuned in for the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix, hitting a 2m peak. That is the largest TV audience ever for the Canadian race and yet another step in F1’s continual growth over the past two seasons.
Another viewership record for @F1 on @ABCNetwork
🏁 Largest #CanadianGP audience on record
🏁 1.7M tuned-in for race portion of telecast (2-4:13p ET), peak 2M
🏁 #F1 races averaging 1.3M viewers in '22, up 39% year-over-year pic.twitter.com/7IKte7eSbg
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) June 21, 2022
To put that into perspective the Miami GP drew a 2.6m rating. The all-time US record is 2.78m (tape-delayed Monaco GP from 2002). But even with a better time window for the US audience, the growth is still clear. Last season’s Circuit of the Americas (COTA) race in Austin, TX drew 1.2m in October 2021.
The average American F1 TV rating is now up to 1.3m. That’s up 39% from the 2021 season. The 2021 season’s viewership was up 54% from the year before. Formula 1 is experiencing an unprecedented boom at the moment. Still to come this season is COTA and the Mexico City Grand Prix in October, both of which should set new TV records.
And while these improved numbers of great on their own, they are even more important given their timing. The current US media rights contract with ESPN expires at the end of the season. ESPN has done a great job of their coverage by partnering with Sky Sports and will remain the favorites. But there will be competition. Insider is reporting that Netflix is considering a bid for F1 coverage in the US. Time will tell, but for now, F1 is enjoying the ride.
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