Motor racing’s Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix, held at the Circuit Zandvoort on Sunday (5 September), drew an average audience of 3 million viewers in the Netherlands and a peak of 3.3 million when Belgian-Dutch driver Max Verstappen crossed the line to win.
The figures represent a viewership record for an F1 race on Dutch pay-television operator Ziggo Sport, which broadcast the race via two of its channels.
Ziggo's previous F1 viewership high came at this year's Bahrain Grand Prix in March, for which an average of 1.93 million was recorded.
The figures are also reported by some media to represent the highest audience in the Netherlands for an F1 Grand Prix ever.
By comparison, the Dutch national soccer team's qualifying matches against Norway and Montenegro last week for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar drew audiences of 2.5 and 2.2 million viewers, respectively.
It is thought that the viewing figures would have been larger still but were kept slightly lower due to good weather in the country.
Sjoerd Pennekamp, director of the KijkOnderzoek Foundation, which tracks viewing figures, is quoted by Dutch outlet NOS as saying: "There was great interest because it was held in the Netherlands and people expected a lot from Max Verstappen, but with good weather there are always people who opt for a terrace or other outdoor activities. That always has a negative effect on viewing figures."
Since Verstappen’s debut appearance in 2015, interest in the sport in the Netherlands has grown from 24 to 40 per cent, going by some measurements.
The 23-race F1 2021 season is providing compelling, with Verstappen and his Red Bull team going toe-to-toe with Great Britain’s Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team in the driver and constructor championships.
Zandvoort last staged the Dutch Grand Prix in 1985.