Having shifted its social media policy under new ownership, Formula One became the fastest growing sports brand across social media in 2017.
In a statement, the brand revealed it ended 2017 with 11.9 million followers across its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels, up 54.9% on 2016.
Previous owner Bernie Ecclestone, who was removed from the sport at the start of last year, was not a big fan of social media, giving it very little time, while new owners US-based Liberty Media have shifted the focus to exploiting social media platforms, looking to develop the sport and attract new audiences.
Video content posted by the brand came out top on Twitter, with more than 64 million views, a 165% increase year-on-year. Instagram followers almost doubled to 3.8 million.
Television viewing of the sport also saw a rise, with the cumulative television audience for all F1 programmes broadcast throughout the year in the top 20 markets reaching 1.4 billion, up 6.2% year-on-year.
Out of the top four markets, Italy showed the biggest increase, of 19.1%, followed by Brazil (13.4%). Britain (3.9%) and Germany (0.9%) also showed positive growth. China, a key market that the sport has targeted for future growth, showed a promising increase of 42.2%.
Concerning viewing of the races themselves, cumulative viewing of the 20 events, broadcast live and non-live, remained stable at about 603 million, although the live audience grew one percent in a season with one less Grand Prix than 2016.
“During 2017, 352.3 million unique viewers have tuned their TV set into F1 programming at least once,” said Formula One. “It’s the first time since 2010 that there was not a decrease in this specific number”.
Brazil remained the biggest television market in terms of unique viewers with more than 76 million, although that figure was down 1.8% year-on-year.