Formula One popularity accelerates in United States
By Alejandro Echeverria
August 12, 2021
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Formula One driving has been around since 1950, but only in recent years has it reached the popularity in the US many feel it deserved.
Its increase in popularity is not an overnight success; fandom rose from a variety of factors, and the US growth does not look to be slowing down soon.
In 2012, the US Grand Prix was reintroduced. This added a local event for Americans to consume the sport, giving them a sense of belonging. Previously, with few drivers and teams being from the US, the sport seemed foreign, with IndyCar and NASCAR acting as the American alternatives. Not only was a Grand-Prix reintroduced in the States, but off-track action was added to further attract Americans to races.
With the US Grand Prix in place, the seeds to grow F1 in the US were planted. The next step taken to grow F1’s popularity occurred in 2017, when its promoter, “The Formula One Group” was bought by Liberty Media, a US-based media company. This led to more US-focused marketing, concentrating on bettering the brand’s image nationally. This included a partnership with ESPN for F1’s broadcasting rights in 2018, pushing F1 to sports fans across the country.
In 2019, the Netflix show “Drive to Survive” was released. This critically acclaimed show was the most innovative tactic used to increase F1’s popularity. It gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at the season-long drivers championship battle through drama filled episodes. According to a study conducted by Nielsen, a huge amount of F1’s growth among viewers aged 16 to 25 can be attributed to “Drive to Survive.”
Keep an eye out for where the sport goes, and which other sports use it as an example of how to grow in popularity themselves.