More than half a billion watched F1 in 2010

Fans. Formula One World Championship

More than half a billion people watched Formula 1 in 2010

Formula One Management (FOM) announced at the end of last week that Formula 1 global television viewership in 2010 increased to 527 million people.

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren with Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari; Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing; Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) CEO Formula One Group (FOM); Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday 21 October 2010.

Bernie Ecclestone with Formula 1’s biggest stars

No doubt boosted by one of the most intriguing and news headline grabbing seasons in years with five of the sport’s top stars Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Jenson Button battling it out throughout the year, with Vettel stealing the title in dramatic fashion in Abu Dhabi.

Audiences tuned in for what amounted to be over 16,000 hours of coverage – including practice, qualifying and races – with 187 countries taking the F1 feed.

FOM announced, “There was growth in nine of the 11 largest TV markets, and it was a particularly strong year for Formula One’s European audience, with many of FOM’s broadcast partners reporting their highest race audiences in a number of seasons.”

Formula One Group CEO, Bernie Ecclestone commented, “Whilst 2010 has delivered some great things, 2011 promises even more as Formula One seeks to build upon the foundations laid in our emerging markets and enthral our audiences across the world.”

F1 television

European F1 TV figures

The 2011 season will see Formula 1 racing televised in HD with broadcasters being offered HD coverage of all sessions.

Earlier this year we reported that according to a Watching Brief report, quoting analysis by SportBusiness Intelligence and Eurodata TV Worldwide, three of Europe’s five biggest television markets – Germany, Italy and Spain – showed substantial TV ratings increases. The UK showed a negligible increase while French viewership figures took a dip.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel became the youngest ever F1 champion in dramatic fashion

Free-to-air-broadcasters in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and United Kingdom witnessed a cumulative average television  audience of 24.86 million viewers per race in 2010, a 15-per-cent increase on 2009 and the biggest average since 2006.

Also helping the ratings was the fact that three of the four contenders in the final race were from the so called big five European markets. Thus the Yas Marina race attracted the highest audience from these three countries totaled 40 million viewers.

Vettel’s strong showing helped German broadcaster RTL figures which were 21 percent up compared to 2009. Spain’s La Sexta enjoyed a 38 percent increase in viewers thanks to Fernando Alonso’s move to Ferrari and his return to winning ways.

Germany had the most drivers on the grid (six drivers until Nick Heidfeld’s return made it seven) and combined with the Michael Schumacher factor boosted RTL average to 6.29 million viewers per race, which was over a million more than in 2009.

Alonso’s presence at Ferrari also boosted Italian audiences and saw a 21 percent increase in RAI grand prix viewership. Italian audiences were the biggest in the top five European territories with an average of 6.71 million viewers tuning in to F1 live coverage in 2010.

The 2011 FIA Formula 1 World Championship seasons gets underway in Bahrain on March 13.

  • Bec

    China is the biggest single market with over 121 million people watching, but that is still only 9% of the available audience.

    The USA is very disappointing with about only 5% of the market, although that is still a slight rise, whereas Nascar has seen an almost 25% drop in viewers.

    In the UK almost 9 million people tuned into the BBC’s specialist ‘Red Button’ F1 coverage, which includes the race weekend discussion forum.

  • Bec

    China is the biggest market for F1, with nearly 121 million viewers, however this still only represents about 9% of the possible viewers.

    USA has a disappointing 5%, however this is slightly up, and bucks the trend of declining motor sport viewing in the USA, which saw a drop of nearly 25% for Nascar.

    The BBC’s specialist F1 ‘Red Button’ coverage, drew in nearly 9 million viewers for their discussion and free practice coverage.

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