Record TV audience for Formula E
October 4, 2021
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship reports that it has continued to grow its live television audience globally through Season 7 to record-breaking levels, recovering strongly from the pandemic-hit previous season.
By the dramatic conclusion of Formula E’s first-ever World Championship season which was won by Mercedes-EQ’s Nyck de Vries in the final E-Prix of Season 7 on August 15th in Berlin, the live television audience made up the majority of Formula E TV viewers (62 per cent) for the first time in the Championship’s history.
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship increased its cumulative audience to 316m – a 32 per cent year-on-year growth – driven by new distribution agreements with free-to-air (FTA) channels in key markets, which also lifted Season 7’s live audience above pre-pandemic levels underscoring the organic growth in fan interest in electric open wheel racing. This was achieved despite a shorter calendar and a lack of races in Asia.
After Season 6 was cut short due to Covid-19 and wrapped up via six races in nine days in Berlin, Season 7 saw the Championship return to iconic global cities including Rome, New York and London with 15 races in eight locations.
A combination of improved broadcast content and alignment on start times with broadcasters to optimise live audience and channel share contributed to +26 per cent increase in the average viewing duration per live race.
Overall, Formula E’s positive Season 7 performance was driven by new media deals struck in key markets of Germany, Italy, Brazil, UK, France, US and Indonesia which all demonstrated spectacular growth above the global average.
- Germany’s audience saw the biggest increase of +338 per cent against Season 6 with races airing consistently on FTA broadcaster Sat.1.
- Brazilian audiences increased +286 per cent YOY on FTA channel TV Cultura and Globo’s SporTV pay channels.
- UK live audiences grew 156 per cent on Season 6, driven by two London races airing live on Channel 4, two on BBC2 which delivered the highest-ever Formula E audience in the UK; plus four races on Discovery’s FTA channel, Quest.
- Italy’s viewing audience grew +128 per cent compared to Season 6 with five races on Mediaset’s main channel, Italia Uno, and 13 races on new partner Sky Italia.
- France increased +123 per cent YOY driven by a positive new partnership with L’Equipe.
- USA’s cumulative audience growth of +25 per cent YOY was positively impacted by two races, including the New York E-Prix, airing on the main CBS network.
- Indonesia’s Formula E audience exploded with a 147 per cent increase on Season 6 on its free-to-air TVRI channel.
These numbers were also reflected in the percentage of viewers watching race programming live rather than highlights or repeats. Fans in Germany (730 per cent increase), Italy (+234 per cent), France (+232 per cent), UK (+164 per cent) and Indonesia (+92 per cent) were all far more likely to tune in to watch the 24-driver grid compete live.
Jamie Reigle, Chief Executive Officer, Formula E, said: “This was a record-breaking year for Formula E as we worked with our teams, media partners and sponsors to deliver a fan-first strategy emphasising live race audience development and direct engagement on our digital platforms. It’s clear there is strong fan interest in Formula E’s electric racing in cities and we are delighted to see our strategy of partnering with broadcasters committed to localised, engaging and accessible free-to-air coverage paying off. We are set for a fantastic Season 8 as we welcome back fans at our races in some of the most iconic city locations in the world. We are focused on strengthening our broadcaster footprint and relationships, increasing our global audiences and delivering an integrated media platform to serve our fans and support our continued growth.”
Season 8 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will begin on January 28th 2022.