Formula One has always been a worldwide sensation; although, traditionally speaking, fans from the United States have not contributed all that significantly to the overall viewership figures.
We can now see that shifting in a significant way.
This season, ESPN is attracting an average of over a million viewers for each race, which is 49% higher than in 2021 and 131% more than in 2020.
What, therefore, is the reason behind this pattern? Why is everyone in the United States, from New York to Florida to Texas, all of a sudden interested in Formula One? Why has the popularity of Formula One racing in the United States grown so quickly?
Many people feel that a particular documentary was the catalyst for the meteoric rise in popularity of Formula One in the United States. While this phenomenon is certainly not attributable to a single factor, there are many who hold this belief.
The Drive to Survive show on Netflix
The documentary series that was produced as a result of the partnership between Formula 1 and Netflix is widely considered to be one of the most successful documentary series productions of the past ten years. Interviews with drivers, members of the team, and managers provide viewers with an inside peek at what goes on behind the scenes of Drive to Survive. The show has only recently given the green light for seasons 5 and 6.
It was not anticipated that Drive to Survive would become as popular as it did, particularly in the United States, but the show did precisely what F1 had hoped it would: it converted viewers of the show into fans of F1 racing.
All-New Circuits for the Formula One Season in the U.S.
The United States has hosted a relatively small number of Formula One World Championship races during its long history, especially when compared to the overall scope of the event. This began to change in 2012 when the United States Grand Prix was reinstated to the calendar and began to take place at the brand-new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Prior to this, the United States Grand Prix had not been held in the United States since its original running in 1950.
Another significant event took place not too long ago: the Miami Grand Prix was held for the first time at the Miami International Autodrome. This was a momentous occasion. On the other hand, that isn’t all; it has also been confirmed that the Las Vegas Grand Prix will be added to the season in 2023. This news is really exciting.
Introduction of Sports Betting Across the United States
Although many people believe that the critically acclaimed documentary and the opening of new racetracks are the primary reasons for the growth of Formula One in the United States, there has been one more significant event in the last several years that has helped the popularity of not just Formula One but all sports.
In 2018, the decision that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was illegal paved the way for states throughout the country to legalize sports betting. It began in New Jersey and a few other states, but as of today, about half of the states have either approved sports betting or have plans to enable it in the near future.
Although the majority of people in these states prefer betting on major American leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, many sportsbooks also offer betting on Formula One. There is no question that people have a heightened interest in watching a sport when they have placed a wager on that sport.
More and more people in the United States are streaming in to watch the Formula One races as the season progresses. The documentary series Drive to Survive, which was produced exceptionally well, brand new races in Miami and Las Vegas, and the surge of legalization of sports betting around the country are definitely going to keep this trend going.
Formula One may have been an afterthought in the thoughts of sports fans in the United States, but it has now finally broken through and will undoubtedly reap the rewards of the benefits of the new unexplored market.
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