Formula One’s Surging Popularity in the U.S.: A Start of Something Big, Says McLaren Boss

Formula One’s surging popularity in the U.S. is set to accelerate even further with the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix and the announcement of an F1 movie starring Brad Pitt. According to Zak Brown, the boss of McLaren, the interest in the sport has been supercharged in recent years, thanks in large part to Netflix’s hit show “Drive to Survive.” With the addition of the highly anticipated race down the Las Vegas Strip on November 18, the frenzy surrounding Formula One is expected to reach new heights.

In an interview with Reuters, Brown expressed his excitement over the rapid growth of Formula One in North America. He stated that the sport’s popularity has exceeded his expectations and that it is great news for the sport. The awareness of Formula One in the U.S. had declined after the U.S. Grand Prix dropped off the F1 calendar in 2008. However, it made a strong comeback when it found a new home in Austin in 2012.

Brown attributed the broader appeal of Formula One to its acquisition by Liberty Media in 2016. Since then, the sport has attracted a wider array of fans. With the addition of a third race in the U.S., including Miami, Las Vegas, and Austin, Brown believes that Formula One’s TV ratings will experience a significant boost. ESPN, which recently signed a new TV contract to broadcast F1 races through 2025, is expected to benefit from this surge in interest.

Despite the increasing popularity, Brown acknowledged that Formula One’s TV ratings in North America still lag behind other major forms of sport. However, he remains optimistic about the potential for growth in viewership. Brown highlighted the sold-out races and off-the-charts corporate hospitality as clear indicators of the fantastic awareness surrounding the sport in the U.S. He believes that there is ample room for further viewership expansion.

The return of Formula One to Las Vegas after a decades-long absence is projected to be one of the year’s most significant sporting spectacles. More than 105,000 fans are expected to attend each day, starting with open practices on November 16. Organizers estimate that the event will inject approximately $1.2 billion into the local economy. Brown emphasized that Las Vegas is currently the hottest sporting ticket globally, and the presence of Formula One will only enhance its allure.

In addition to the upcoming races, Formula One enthusiasts can look forward to an exciting movie featuring Brad Pitt. Directed by Joseph Kosinski of “Top Gun: Maverick” fame, the film has been filming at racetracks. Brown expressed his belief that the movie will have a similar impact to “Top Gun,” inspiring a new generation of fans. He believes that the combination of the Brad Pitt movie and the new television contract is just the beginning of Formula One’s journey in America.

Overall, Formula One’s surging popularity in the U.S. is set to continue with the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix and the release of an F1 movie starring Brad Pitt. The sport’s rapid growth in recent years, fueled by the success of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” and its acquisition by Liberty Media, has attracted a broader range of fans. While Formula One’s TV ratings in North America still have room for improvement, there is a general sense of optimism that the sport’s popularity will continue to grow, making it one of the major forces in the American sporting landscape.