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F1 records TV and digital audience growth for second consecutive season

Formula One reached 490.2 million unique viewers across traditional broadcast TV worldwide during its 2018 season, according to new figures released by the rights-holder.

The number is an increase of 10 per cent over 2017’s figure worldwide, although Liberty Media – F1’s ownership group – will be particularly pleased with the improvements seen in its key target markets. Viewership in China increased threefold over 2017, thanks to the deal struck to return F1 to free-to-air CCTV. Audience figures in the US – the second of Liberty’s ‘key markets’, alongside China – grew by 20 per cent, while the Indian subcontinent saw growth of 87 per cent.

The Monaco Grand Prix was the most-watched individual race, with a cumulative global audience of 110 million – up 10 per cent year-on-year.

Digital engagement was also up as Liberty continued to place more emphasis on attracting younger audiences. Total social media impressions were up by nearly 30 per cent, while subscriptions to Formula One’s YouTube channel grew 115 per cent.

The numbers will come as a major boost to Liberty, which has made digital a cornerstone of its efforts to appeal to younger fans. Earlier this month, SportBusiness reported that despite F1’s best efforts, the under-25s still made up just 14 per cent of the sport’s global audience. A new study from Ipsos, however, has revealed that of the new fans F1 has added in the past two years, 36 per cent are 25 or younger, much of that related to the sport’s improved digital content output.