Everyone knows how loved NASCAR is in the United States, but in more recent years there has been an unprecedented boom and growth in the interest and popularity of Formula 1 racing, with Williams rookie Logan Sargeant their big hope.
Back in the thrilling 2021 F1 season that saw some great battles on the Grand Prix track, airtime in the US averaged roughly 949,000 viewers per individual race. The 2022 season saw a dramatic growth of around 28% where viewing figures topped one million watchers for the first time ever and that number is simply expected to grow even further as the battles of 2023 play out.
For those who like a small flutter, there are probably betting odds out there relating to just how big the sport could now become in the US during the 2023 season, and that is, of course, notwithstanding the odds available out there via NJ betting apps on who this year’s F1 World Championship winner will be and all the other options that punters could play with.
Not least, of course, in light of the huge success of Netflix’s Drive To Survive series, which has pulled more eyes onto the sport. Back in late February, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was featured in a scene where he was singing The Star Spangled Banner, and this has played its own part in helping to stoke up interest in May’s Miami Grand Prix.
Having previously taken in the crowd for the new race, Domenicali had been wowed by the response and was clearly very enthusiastic as to how big F1 could now truly become in the US.
“I’m pretty convinced we are just scratching the surface of this market. We are just looking into the future. I’m very excited.”
There are other reasons for the more dramatic rise in the interest of the sport though in the last few years, Formula 1 has welcomed in their first American driver since 2015 as 22-year-old Logan Sargeant is now racing for the Williams team, and furthermore, for the first time in recent generations not only is there an American driver on the track, but US-based team, Haas F1, are also simultaneously battling for their own success.
Viewership has increased every year since F1 returned to ESPN and ABC in 2018
Apart from Sargeant driving in the top flight, his year’s F1 calendar also sees three US-based races (the most of any other country. Following the success of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas (2022’s edition saw them smash the all-time attendance record with 440,000 fans in attendance), and the Miami race that ABC debuted last May (a highest-ever 2.58 million viewers), this year sees the much-hyped night time race with a straight spanning the Las Vegas Strip.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto D-Nev is already on record talking about the new race and how it would be ‘beneficial to our community’, bolster ‘our economy’ and more than ably demonstrate their ability as a ‘world-class service industry’.
“It’s a big deal! We’re very excited in Las Vegas to be hosting. And not only is it exciting for Formula 1 fans; it’s exciting for Las Vegas and Nevadans.”
ESPN clearly know they are on to a good thing, and spokesman Andy Hall was quoted as saying: “Viewership has increased every year since F1 returned to ESPN and ABC in 2018. Making viewership predictions, for an upcoming year, isn’t something we do, though of course, we’d love to see it rise again.”
He also offered that, unlike other sports, they record little to no drop off in viewership levels despite the difficulties associated with the pandemic. The broadcaster are so pleased with the figures that last fall they signed a new deal through 2025 to air a minimum of 16 races on ABC and ESPN, with the remainder available on ESPN2 – including the tie-in with Sky Sports F1.
ESPN could well get their wish. And if local hero Logan Sargeant moves up the F1 grid, expect a further boom!