Formula 1 has experienced a significant decrease in social media mentions, new followers, and the number of people reached following Red Bull’s total dominance, as revealed by a new study.
Formula 1 has witnessed a drastic drop in social media mentions, new followers, and the audience size in the wake of Red Bull’s complete domination. Buzz Radar, a social intelligence and social media pattern analysis company of the past decade, has highlighted how the 2023 season has triggered a dramatic reversal in the impressive growth the F1 has seen in recent years.
In a case study published on Thursday, titled “Have We Reached F1’s Peak?” Buzz Radar’s analysis suggests that the boom in 2022, driven by the 2021 title fight and new technical regulations, may mark the highest point of interest in F1 for a while.
After employing a combination of human analysis and AI data to closely examine F1 on social media over the past ten years, analyzing 70 million fan posts, it found that the championship has experienced its first drop in interest in quite some time.
The data suggests that F1 mentions have decreased by 70.2% in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2022, with a 46.29% decline in new followers.
In the report, Buzz Radar concludes, “Comparing data between 2022 and 2023 has revealed significant declines in F1 mentions overall, along with disheartening numbers in the growth of new account followers.”
“Even the reach of F1-related content on various social platforms has decreased, in stark contrast to the steady progress observed every year. But the declining numbers are only part of the story. The 2023 social data has also shed light on a fundamental shift in conversations about F1: a noticeable surge in the use of negative adjectives associated with the sport.”
“Words like ‘boring’ and ‘annoying’ are becoming high-frequency descriptors, replacing formerly positive terms like ‘interesting’ and ‘exciting.”
The Buzz Radar report believes that the cause of this decline is simply the dominance of a single team, with Red Bull winning all but two races in the last 12 months. The report posits a direct correlation between the intensity of the F1 title battle and the number of fan mentions since the last time F1 saw such a decline was in 2018 when Lewis Hamilton clinched the title.
“The 2016 season was the most talked-about, until 2021, despite all the factors contributing to Liberty’s acquisition, Drive to Survive, and the lockdown, because [Nico] Rosberg and Hamilton were battling for the title [until the last race],” the document states – “The season was decided by just five points. Interactions plateaued between 2018 and 2020, while Hamilton was dominant, and they surged significantly again during the 2021 season, the most competitive championship since 2016. Both the 2016 and 2021 seasons were decided in the final race. 2022 continued to ride the wave of the close competition at the end of 2021, but now we are witnessing the outcome of one driver’s dominance again. The 2023 season is now on track to continue losing interactions, and this pattern will persist until the races become more competitive.”
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While the social media figures for 2023 are far from ideal, the Buzz Radar report acknowledges that F1 represents a unique case in terms of its audience growth in the last decade.
Compared to other major sports, it is among the best—despite having only 23 events per year. “Between 2016 and 2022, F1 increased its interaction levels by 80%, surpassed only by the Indian Premier League (a 208% increase) and the UEFA Champions League (a 112% increase).”
“It is remarkable that F1 managed to achieve this result despite hosting the fewest events, with only 22 race weekends compared to the NFL’s 285 games, including the Super Bowl, which, year after year, is one of the most talked-about sports events globally. The only year in which growth slowed was in 2018, while the greatest growth was recorded in 2021 when they gained around 14 million new cross-channel followers. This makes them the fastest-growing social channels of any major sport during this period.”