Off late, there has been a significant drop in the live viewership of F1 races. F1 CEO Chase Carey has blamed it on the sport’s move towards pay television deals.
Carey confessed that the average viewership of F1 races had fallen by 4% in comparison to last year.
“That is largely due to our move from free to pay television in Italy,” he said. “Excluding Italy our television viewership is up 3% year-on-year and our Saturday viewership for qualifying is up even more.”
Italian television channel Sky Italia took over the exclusive live broadcasting rights for the championship in a three-year deal. The sport is slowly moving towards pay television deals in other markets, such as the UK.
Fortunately, according to Carey’s numbers, viewership has increased in other countries, including USA and China. He said that “viewing figures are showing particularly strong uplifts in those 2 countries.”
“Fans reacted positively to our enhancements in cameras, sounds, graphics, and other elements in our broadcast and we have more to come,” he added. “69% of our fans say F1 TV coverage has improved while just 13% say it’s worse.”
However he did confess that there have been some problems. Especially concerning the launch of the sport’s direct streaming service F1 TV. The introduction of the service was set to take place at the Australian Grand Prix. Unfortunately, it was delayed until the Spanish round.
Carey said, “This year’s priority is get the product to where we want it to at this point in time to really give it a proper commercial launch next season,”.
The sport will also be banking on a slew of changes for the 2019 season. They hope that they can revive the sport’s popularity back to what it used to be. Will they succeed? only time will tell in the long run.