3 min read

F1 To Reach One Billion Fans By 2022


Nielsen Sports’ latest research has revealed one billion people will claim an interest in Formula One (F1) by April 2022.

The report found interest in the motorsport series was driven by young people, sparked primarily by Netflix’s successful “Formula 1: Drive To Survive” series.

The research found 77% of the growth came from the 16 to 35 age group, which is equivalent to 46% of F1’s fandom in 2021.

On top of Netflix’s docuseries, last year’s ‘Virtual Grand Prix’ was also reportedly a hit amongst young viewers.

Whilst races were suspended amid the initial stages of COVID-19, drivers including Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, George Russell, and Alex Albon all streamed via Twitch to interact with fans during the break.

This directly contributed to the rise of popularity in the sport in March 2020, where interest amongst the 18-35 age group increased from one in four to one in three people.

The sport’s ‘We Race As One’ initiative was also cited as a key reason behind F1’s newfound attractiveness.

F1’s promotion of diversity, sustainability and inclusion is aligned with the views of young people, the report revealed.

Nielsen Sports head of rights holders, Tom McCormack, said online and social media have played a major part in making the sport appealing to young people.

“Formula One continues to benefit from its strategy of expanding its content offering – through additional peripheral and story-telling programming – which appeals to that 16 to 35-year-old market,” McCormack said.

“The current grid of young, social media savvy drivers, like Lando Norris, is helping to reach new consumers through platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.

“By embracing these platforms – as well as OTT services such as Netflix, with its Drive to Survive series – Formula One is now well-poised to convert newcomers to the sport to long-term fans and generate unprecedented interest levels.

“F1’s ongoing commitment to its #WeRaceAsOne initiative, which focuses on sustainability, diversity, inclusion and community, also speaks to that younger demographic who place high value on those issues,” he said.

F1 director of research and analytics, Matt Roberts, said the research highlights what F1 is doing right.

“Nielsen’s research is important in the understanding of our sport, and how fans are engaging with it,” Roberts said.

“The increase in interest we have seen is hugely encouraging and reinforces F1 as one of the leading global sports properties.

“In particular, the growth in interest among 16–35 year-olds shows that F1’s commitment to digital, social and Esports programmes are having a tangible impact,” he said.

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