F1 is among a range of sports that exaggerate TV viewing figures seemingly to attract higher paying sponsors and to bump up the price of selling television rights, according to an investigation by the British newspaper The Independent.
According to the publication, official formula one sources published the viewing audience for the Brazilian grand prix at some 354 million people; more than four times the “verifiable” figures, the newspaper said.
An independent analysis by Initiative Sports Futures (ISF) found that only 83 million people actually tuned in to watch Felipe Massa win for Ferrari at Interlagos last October.
The Independent said sports figures are often “massively exaggerated” in some cases and “simply guessed” in others, and may include repeats and highlights and people who watched telecasts for less than three minutes.
ISF, on the other hand, uses figures only from reputable electronic monitors and audited measurement systems, and measures the ‘average’ audience rather than the more impressive ‘peak’ figures.