OCTOBER 2, 2001
Formula 1 makes only small blip on US TV market
FORMULA 1 has no major following in the United States of America, despite the fact that 185,000 people showed up for the race at Indianapolis on Sunday. However for the first time in modern history Grand Prix racing was live on network television with ABC using one of the channels produced by Formula One's own TV facility. Commentary was supplied by ABC caller Bob Jenkins and Eddie Cheever. They tried hard while pitlane reporter Jason Priestley struggled to get inside information from the teams and interviews with the stars.
The coverage did nothing to shake up the ratings but it was start with Nielsen Media Research giving the broadcast a rating of 1.1 with a 2 share. This means that 1.1% of all households with TV in the United States were tuned to the Grand Prix coverage. As it is accepted that there are 102.2m such households this means that there were around 1.1m viewers, which was a two percentage share of the whole audience at that point. These are not dramatic figures but not very different from CART and IRL broadcast numbers, which usually clock about a million viewers.
F1 has a long way to go in the United States as NASCAR's Winston Cup race at Kansas that afternoon rated 4.0 with an 8 share.
Still, it is a start...
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