First live F1 race on YouTube attracts sizeable young audience
Video streaming giant YouTube attracted 1.7 million viewers for its first-ever live broadcast of a Formula 1 race as British driver Lewis Hamilton made history in winning the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany last week.
The race was streamed live and free-to-air on the Formula 1 YouTube channel, as a social media exclusive, in the home market, plus Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, in what was described as a first-of-its-kind initiative.
According to Formula 1, the race in Nürburgring attracted a large young audience, with 31 per cent of the 1.7 million viewers being under 25 and 68 per cent under 35.
The grand prix was watched across multiple devices with 33 per cent viewing on mobile phones and 30 per cent on connected televisions as Hamilton secured his 91st grand prix win to go level with legendary German driver Michael Schumacher.
As well as the live race, coverage on the Google-owned platform included previews, highlights and analysis.
Over the week of the race, the Formula 1 YouTube channel delivered 41 million views to an audience of 10.5 million fans, which the series claimed is double the volume of the equivalent race date-wise last year.
The channel also secured 50,000 new subscribers over the course of the weekend, taking its total up to 4.4 million.
According to Formula 1, the channel has reached a unique audience of 40 million fans over the past 90 days and attracted 800 million views in the year to date.
Adam Crothers, head of digital media rights at Formula 1, said “It’s clear to see that younger fans are more engaged with live streaming than ever before and the partnership with YouTube ensures we continue to engage with those fans and help to grow new ones through creative content on the platform, which should also have a positive impact on our hugely important global broadcast community.
“It’s incredible to see how far Formula 1 has come on the platform in the past few years and continues to position us as one of the strongest sports brands on YouTube.”
The move to make the Eifel Grand Prix free in selected markets was motivated in part by the fact that, because of Covid-19 restrictions, spectators were excluded from the grand prix, which would normally have attracted up to 250,000 fans across the weekend.
In recent years, major sporting events have been made available on YouTube including European soccer’s Uefa Champions League final, via pay-TV’s BT Sport in the UK, and North American basketball’s NBA Finals, through its deal as presenting partner of the league’s climax.
Germany was not included on the initial 2020 Formula 1 calendar, but a race at the famous Nürburgring, absent since 2013, was added to the schedule after various rounds were cancelled because of the pandemic.
The season continues next weekend with the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimão and could feature spectators although the country's health authority is reconsidering allowing them access to the venue.
The director of the circuit in Portimão, based in the country’s southern Algarve region, said in August around 28,000 tickets had already been sold, but warned fans would not be allowed in if there was a second wave of Covid-19 cases.
Formula 1 announced in July that the Portimão circuit would host a grand prix for the first time as part of a revised calendar after several other races were cancelled because of the pandemic.
Graca Freitas, head of the country’s health authority, said a decision on spectators will be made based on the situation in the region this week.
According to the government, on Friday, Portugal had 2,608 daily cases of coronavirus, its highest number of infections in a single day since the pandemic started.
The Portugal race is also set to mark the return of Formula 1’s exclusive Paddock Club hospitality for VIP guests for the first time this season.
Hospitality is an integral part of Formula 1’s global sponsorship deals and a major source of revenue for the sport, with the Paddock Club accounting for $358 million of overall turnover of $2 billion in 2019. At European races, Paddock Club tickets cost $3,800 for two days.
In July, Formula 1 teamed up with Zoom, the burgeoning digital conferencing platform, to provide a virtual corporate hospitality offering for VIP guests.
Meanwhile, six-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton has been named as a brand ambassador for LG, the Korean electronics giant.
Under the agreement, Hamilton will promote the brand’s LG Signature home solutions product.
The Briton will be involved in a series of marketing campaigns for LG.
The 35-year-old’s endorsement portfolio already includes Tommy Hilfiger, Bose, Puma, Monster Energy, Sony and L’Oreal.