One week after a record-setting audience watched the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship season opener on ESPN, the viewership for Sunday’s live telecast of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix surpassed the week-old record as ESPN’s largest F1 audience since 1995 and the largest on any ESPN network since it returned to the sport in 2018.
The race, which began shortly after 1 p.m. ET, averaged 1.445 million viewers, peaking at 1.82 million in the 2:15-2:30 p.m. quarter-hour near the end of the race. The viewership audience exceeded last week’s average of 1.353 million for the Bahrain Grand Prix as the largest since ESPN returned to F1 and the second-largest on U.S. cable on record behind the 1.74 million that watched the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix.
The race is the 10th most-viewed F1 event in the U.S. on record, broadcast or cable, and the largest audience since 1.49 million watched the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix on NBC.
The telecast led all of U.S. cable for Sunday in multiple key demographics including Persons 18-34, Persons 18-49, Male 18-34, Male 18-49 and Male 25-54.
The audience was up 54 percent over last December’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on ESPN2 (937,000 average viewers), and was up 57 percent over last year’s second race from Emilia Romagna, Italy, on ESPN (918,000 average viewers).
In addition to the race telecast, ESPN2’s live coverage of F1 qualifying on Saturday at 12:55 p.m. earned an average audience of 631,000 viewers.
Through two races, the 2022 F1 season is averaging 1.4 million viewers, up 47 percent over the full 2021 F1 season (949,000 average viewers). This year’s seasonal average is 52 percent larger than the first two races of the 2021 season (922,000 average viewers) and and 99 percent larger than the first two races in the 2020 F1 season (703K viewers).
The F1 season continues with the Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, April 10. The race will air live on ESPN at 12:55 a.m. ET (late Saturday night in other U.S. time zones).
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