Formula 1 in the United States is enjoying a rapid increase in popularity, but what's driving F1's U.S. boom?
The data say that 2021 was the most-viewed F1 season in American television history, increasing 58% in 2020 and 2022 saw a continuation of this trend. Following record crowds at the 2021 Austin Grand Prix, the first race in Miami sold out in under 60 minutes and set another record U.S. TV audience. A third U.S. race in Las Vegas has been announced from 2023 onwards and there are now over 100 U.S. headquartered partnerships in the sport.
The spark behind this growth has definitely been "Drive To Survive", the Netflix tv-series that show the behind-the-scenes of Formula 1 and drama related to that. In fact, 1 out of 7 new fans started to watch F1 because of the series.
It is very clear that Formula 1 is attracting a new wave of fans representing around a third of the total fan base and 50% of them come from the U.S. They are more digitally savvy, vocal about their passion for the sport and aware of the F1 ecosystem of partners and associated brands. The share of female fans is bigger for new fans vs. established ones, and they are on average 10 years younger.
Alongside that, F1 has been present in and out of the USA for decades and since 2012 has always had a US race, but it is now present with several races taking place in the States and it is definitely leveraging its presence in the market. Having three races in the USA and others in North and Central America (Canada and Mexico) gives American brands a fantastic opportunity to activate partnerships and engage multiple times with their target audience. In a few words, Formula 1 is now a very effective marketing tool also for brands only focused on the Americas.
These several races in the U.S. pushed Formula 1 to do a deep dive into the American entertainment culture, creating wider activations around the Grand Prix for fans, but also inviting American celebrities to take central roles in the delivery of the show.
With over 100 U.S. headquartered partnerships in the sport, as a motorsport marketing agency, we might be biased when explaining to a brand why investing in Formula 1 is the greatest marketing opportunity right now, but those facts do not lie.
The Formula 1 global dominance is real and the race for countries, corporations and brands to be part of it is definitely on.