Formula One has never been big on that “internet” stuff, mostly because an old, angry and confused man ran the sport for years. That led F1 to be frustratingly absent online, and in an era when a lot ofyoung people would rather pay to look at their phones and computers than pay for cable, that’s not a good way to be.
In about a year, F1’s new owners Liberty Media turned that all the way around. ESPN reports that F1 (F1!) was the fastest growing sport on social media in 2017 percentage wise, beating Formula E, the NFL, the NBA, NASCAR and others.
According to stats from ESPN, F1’s overall social growth was 54.9 percent from 2016 to 2017. Its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts grew to 11.9 million followers, beating other sports by far.
The trick is that it’s easy for F1 to grow so much in terms of percentages because its previous online presence was so stifled under old boss Bernie Ecclestone.
It was frustrating from the standpoint of a fan and of a media outlet trying to cover the series, because having virtually no video content to work with left us unable to tell full stories a lot of the time.
When F1 switched ownership, the new bosses lowered Ecclestone down from CEO and started doing their own thing—including actually embracing the internet, like putting videos of the series’ best moments on YouTube.
Teams got to post videos from testing, more content went up on YouTube and on social media, and things were much smoother overall. There was almost no worry about videos being pulled by F1, because F1 was uploading them.
Ecclestone naturally hated it, because it was something he “would never do or never would have done” despite everyone else being pretty thrilled about it. Whatever. Good riddance, old man.