Haas team boss Guenther Seiner says he is not concerned by a recent drop in Formula 1’s TV viewership ratings in the United States.
In recent years, Formula 1’s popularity in America enjoyed a significant boost, spurred in large part by the success of its Netflix ‘Drive to Surve’ series.
The sport has capitalized on its US growth, adding two races – Miami and Las Vegas – to its schedule while ESPN ponies up a hefty $90 million a year for the right to broadcast F1 in the US, a contract that runs until the end of 2025.
Grand Prix racing’s surge was palpable once again at last May’s Miami Grand Prix which was attended by 270,000 race fans over the event’s three days.
However, despite the massive turnout, ESPN registered a decline in television viewership numbers for the American race compared to the previous year.
The Miami race broadcast on ABC – as part of ESPN’s arrangements – in the prior year set a historic record, attracting an impressive 2.6 million viewers, marking the largest live F1 audience in U.S. history.
But this year, ABC reportedly experienced a 25% drop in its audience compared to its 2022 ratings.
As the manager of the only American team on the grid, Steiner was asked if the reduced viewership, as reported by ratings company Nielsen, was a source of worry in terms of F1’s commercial allure.
“I think TV ratings is one of these things – I’m not an expert on TV ratings and TV, so don’t take my word as the gospel here – but I think there’s a lot of things watched now not on TV, especially young people, and I think there is not a real instrument yet to measure this,” Steiner explained.
“I think people are working on it, because I think there are more people watching than we actually know, because we still measure TV ratings like we did 20 years ago.
“As I said, I’m not the guru of TV ratings, but I just spoke with some people who know about stuff and they said they think we need to go to a more current way to measure eyeballs on a race.”
Ahead of the 2023 season, Haas completed a title sponsorship deal with Moneygram, the American and international peer-to-peer payments and money transfer company.
According to Steiner, the team has not seen a decline in interest from potential American sponsors.
“There’s still a lot of interest in general,” he said. “We are talking with different parties at the moment, but there’s very good interest.
“I think you can see also there’s very good interest when you see on a race weekend how much advertising is on the racetrack and things like this – new advertising.
“But as a team we’ve got quite a lot of discussions going on. In a normal sponsorship discussion, people want to know the facts and everything.
“They take their time and they are not in a hurry now to sign for next year. But discussions are good.”
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