DECEMBER 15, 2004
TV audiences down
Formula 1 TV audiences were down in 2004. This is the finding of the UK-based marketing agency, Initiative Futures, which analyses TV viewing of the world's big sporting events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the Tour de France, soccer, rugby and cricket World Cups. The agency says that around 800m people tuned into F1 in the course of 2004, an increase in viewership of 6%. However when one takes into account the extra races, Initiative says that the average audience per race was down by 6%. The time zones played an important part in the figures with Bahrain coming out as the Grand Prix with the biggest audience (at that time of the season there was still some hope that Michael Schumacher would not win all the races) and China was the smallest audience, because it was aired in the early hours of a Sunday morning in core European markets. The company concluded that F1 is facing a challenge of trying to expand around the world without losing audiences in its established markets in Europe and South America. The company said that viewership in individual countries was influenced by the presence of a driver and singled out Fernando Alonso, who has helped Spain become the fifth-largest F1 audience.
Initiative Futures says that it believes that F1 has the potential to be the world's most popular sport.
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