The award-winning 2018 F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series recorded a total of 4.4 million viewers tuning into the series, with 3.2 million of them watching through streamed platforms.
The 2018 F1 Esports Series saw Brendon Leigh retain his title and Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports clinching the first ever F1 Esports Constructors’ title in a thrilling ten race championship taking place at the GFinity Arena in London.
The second series saw nine F1 teams enter the championship and selected their drivers through the Pro Draft.
Over the two months, the series accumulated over 100 million social media impressions and 20 million online views, demonstrating the increase interest of a younger, more digital audience gaining an interest into the sport.
F1’s Commercial Director and F1 Esports Commissioner, Sean Bratches says this years’ F1 Esports Series has been pivotal for the future of the series heading into 2019.
“2018 was a pivotal year for our efforts with respect to Formula 1 Esports as it saw the inclusion of the first official teams and built firm foundations for the future success of the series,” said Bratches.
“The exponential growth in esports is a material fan engagement and commercial opportunity for us on myriad fronts and we plan to remain in the vanguard as we move into the 2019 season.
Our continued focus will be on broadening opportunities for the next generation of motorsport fans and brands that understand the value of this audience and are hence investing in this space. Formula 1’s message is clear that esports is an open door for anyone with a passion for gaming and racing.”
The series brought together the best Esports racers around the world and some of the most recognised Esports teams together in collaboration with the F1 teams. Over 66,000 players entered into the series on F1 2017 via PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
“The viewing figures for this year’s series are a testament to the series’ growing interest and engagement with a new audience,” added Director of Digital and New Business at Formula 1, Frank Arthofer.
“The younger generation has truly embraced the F1 Esports Series. Looking to next year it is our ambition to continue to grow participation and engagement with the series and we will be building on various elements, such as giving fans the opportunity to go from living room to podium, which has clearly resonated with this audience.”
Twenty six drivers competed in the series between the three live shows, ranging from various countries such as the UK, Chile, Germany, Sweden, Hungary etc. The drivers fought among-st one another with their respected teams for the $200,000 pool of prize money that was on offer, allocated to the order of the teams’ standings.
Head of Growth and F1 Esports in F1, Julian Tan, spoke about the 2018 series being a success with a strong response in terms of viewing figures and the attention of partners they’ve gained within the series.
“The 2018 F1 Esports Series has been a resounding success, and it’s fantastic to see such a strong response in the viewing figures and levels of engagement,” said Tan.
“We have also had great partners in New Balance, DHL and Fanatec come on board to support the programme. With esports being a new direction for F1, we came into this season with a test and learn approach, and this is something we will continue into 2019.
“The introduction of components such as the Pro Draft mechanic helped to drive another layer of excitement that captured imaginations, and a key goal for next year will be to continue to move towards building a sustainable series structure.”