F1’s fake TV figures?

A report by English newspaper the Independent, has claimed that F1 are among several sports that exaggerate their viewing figures in order to attract higher paying sponsors, and to increase the selling price of television rights.

According to the Independent’s article, Formula 1 sources claimed that the viewing audience for the Brazilian Grand Prix was around 354 million; An independent analysis by ISF (Initiative Sports Futures) reported that 83 million people watched Felipe Massa win at Interlagos in 2006 – nearly four times less than the official figures state.

The Independent said that sports figure massaging and guessing was par for the course in many sports, with some including the viewing figures for people who watched repeats and highlights, and people who watched the program for less than three minutes.

ISF uses electronic monitors and audited measurement systems, and releases the average audience rather than the peak viewing figures.