ESPN, the network that broadcasts Formula 1 in the United States, has reported an average viewership for the Bahrain Grand Prix of 1.353 million, with a peak audience of 1.54 million.
There’s plenty of growth opportunity too, as there are 122 million households with televisions in the US.
For a long time, the Monaco Grand Prix was about the only race you could watch, as ABC (ESPN’s parent company) carried the race via a deal. And the audience was big for the 2002 Monaco GP on ABC — 2.78 million people tuned in.
ESPN began their coverage of races in 1984 and covered all races except Monaco. There was even a regular team that covered the Grand Prix.
However, the highest audience they could achieve was at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1995, which was the season opener and the first race in Brazil after Ayrton Senna’s death the previous year — his home race.
Later on, the Speed Channel had a deal in place, then NBC and finally, ESPN bought the rights back in 2018. And the deal was simple: take the Sky Sports feed, which featured British commentators, and broadcast to their audience.
Average viewership from went from 554,000 in 2018 to 672,000 in 2019 and 927,000 in 2021.
Last year’s United States Grand Prix hit 1.2 million viewers and was the highest of the season.