Motor racing's Formula 1 (F1) Singapore Grand Prix held over the weekend (September 17) generated a record US viewership figure for domestic rightsholder ESPN, the Disney-owned sports broadcaster.
Coverage of the race, aired live on ESPN alongside the F1 Kids telecast on ESPNU, gained a combined average audience of 1.2 million viewers, the race’s largest ever in the US.
Viewership peaked at 1.347 million viewers, with the main race telecast on ESPN averaging 1.18 million, while the F1 Kids telecast on ESPNU averaged 23,000 viewers. Last year’s race averaged 1.03 million viewers when shown on the ESPN2 channel.
ESPN holds the rights in the US to F1 until the end of the 2025 season after striking an extension in October. Under that deal, ESPN will provide live coverage of all F1 grands prix across its ESPN and ESPN2 channels, with at least 16 races per season aired on free-to-air sister channel ABC.
This was the seventh F1 race this season to set a viewership record for the sports broadcaster, with the others being Saudi Arabia, Monaco, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Italy, and Singapore.
This season has also seen three of the four largest F1 live audiences in history on US television, with Miami having 1.96 million viewers, Monaco 1.79 million, and Canada 1.76 million.
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Overall, all but three of the 15 races have averaged more than 1 million viewers with the exceptions being Australia, which was aired in overnight hours reaching 556,000 fans, Azerbaijan with 959,000, and the Dutch Grand Prix with 968,000.
Over the 15 races undertaken so far, average viewership is 1.2 million across the ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC channels, which is down one percent from 2022’s average of 1.21 million, the highest ever for F1 in the US.
Even when compared to the average viewership for the first 15 races of 2022, the number has decreased by four percent from 1.257, which did include the record-setting inaugural Miami Grand Prix’s 2.6 million viewers.
F1’s popularity in the US has been assisted, in part, by the huge interest in the Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive, which has helped drive fresh interest in the sport since the first season aired in 2019.
It is set to return for a fifth and sixth season this year and in 2024 covering the 2022 and 2023 seasons, respectively.