The F1 market is seeing growth in the US; but can they use the NBA model to grow it further? – pitpass.com

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It is like comparing chalk and cheese; the two sports seem to have little in common. While basketball has been popular for many years in the U.S., F1 has been a slower and steady growth.
When it comes to global rankings and popularity, out of ten basketball comes in third while F1 is just outside the top 10.
So how does F1 stack up against this titan?
Just how popular is F1?
Formula 1 has seen audience figures going through the roof in the last two years; the total global audience in 2019 grew to a vast 1.922 billion, the highest amount of viewers since 2012.
Between 2018 and 2019, the viewership grew by a massive 9%.
The biggest markets for F1 were Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and the U.K. The audience figures for the U.S. have seen a minor increase of 7%.
That growth in viewership is reflected in the social commentary of F1, seeing a sharp rise in the number of people following, liking, and otherwise interacting with the F1 social media accounts.
The usage of the F1 mobile app has seen a substantial increase in users, and that is noted as an increase of 152.3%.
And basketball?
Basketball in 2019 was noted as having the third-most valuable media rights globally, estimated to be around $4.28 billion in 2019.
The NBA does the heavy lifting when it comes to the majority of the media revenue, with 94% being contributed.
The second most valuable basketball competition in terms of media rights is the Euroleague.
In terms of viewership, the NBA, on average, sees around 1.34 million viewers per game across networks like TNT, ESPN, and ABC.
It is not an exaggeration to say that basketball has billions of fans, especially since it is the third most popular sport globally.
Unlike F1, basketball has its most enormous fanbase in the US, Canada, Argentina, Russia, and Spain.
Since most countries have a range of their teams, and it is usually played in schools, basketball can be popular earlier in the lives of their fans.
How is F1 trying to grow their market?
Formula 1 racing has always appeared to be a glamorous sport. The winners on the podium spray champagne and celebrate. The sport itself also takes place in some of the most luxurious cities globally, including the Monaco Grand Prix.
In recent years there have been many films and documentaries focusing on the F1:
• Grand Prix 1966
• Senna
• McLaren
• Life on the Limit
• Rush
• Drive to Survive
These movies are great for people who aren’t already watching F1 and have gone some way to increase the sport’s popularity.
The biggest names in F1 are also putting themselves in the public eye more often and aligning themselves with specific causes. Lewis Hamilton is one of the main driving forces behind increased youth viewers.
And contrary to their profession, many drivers like Vettel and Lewis aim to make their homes and the sport greener.
Although the history of the F1 in the U.S. hasn’t always been great, it is set to make a huge impact. In previous years, U.S. fans didn’t have the same love for the sport as Germany or the U.K. NASCAR and IndyCar; however, both have a solid fan base in the states.
A factor that didn’t help was that the Us had no successful American F1 drivers – so the exposure remained low.
However, with the reintroduction of the US Grand Prix, there was a notable rise in the viewership in the market. The championship also realizes that they need to connect and engage with the U.S. fanbase.
COTA has created a festival-like atmosphere to go along with it, attracting new followers. In addition to the Grand Prix, the Austin, Texas-based circuit has staged concerts in recent years, attracting big-name artists such as Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Elton John.
There is a lot that F1 can learn from basketball in how they promote, engage, and support their fans.
Could fantasy F1 be the answer?
Many of the most popular sports have massive fantasy leagues. Basketball fantasy leagues are some of the most popular. They allow fans to build their ideal team and compete against each other.
Fantasy leagues run along with the sport; it can be a great way for fans to further engage and learn about the players – or learn more about the drivers in the case of F1.
A thriving F1 fantasy community is steadily growing – Reddit fantasy F1 is a great example of that.
There are also features on the official Formula1 website that gives new F1 fantasy players a rundown of getting started.
Like other fantasy sports options, you can build your team with whatever drivers you like.
To truly engage your fanbase, you need to offer more than just the ability to watch the game or the race. Fans should feel like they are an integral part of the action, and fantasy drafts are one of the key ways to do that.
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