(Reuters) – Last Sunday’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix set a record for a live telecast of Formula One in the United States with an average viewership of 2.6 million, broadcaster ESPN said on Tuesday.
The coverage of the race, won by Red Bull’s Dutch world champion Max Verstappen, peaked at an average 2.9 million, it added.
The Netflix behind the scenes docu-series ‘Drive to Survive’ has been credited with fuelling Formula One’s rising popularity in the United States, a market the sport had previously struggled to crack.
ESPN said average viewing numbers over the first five races were up 53% on that for the same period in 2021, which was the most viewed F1 championship yet on U.S. television.
The same-day delayed broadcast of the 2002 Monaco Grand Prix, which followed the Indianapolis 500, averaged 2.784 million viewers and is the most-viewed Formula One telecast in U.S. television history.
ESPN said the previous record audience for a live race telecast was the 1.744 million it registered for the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)