The Formula 1 World Championship in Abu Dhabi this Sunday was as exciting as ever, coming down to the last lap of an action-packed race. The ratings for this event did not disappoint either, as 963,000 viewers watched on ESPN2.
The race was the finale of an extremely successful season for F1 on the ESPN family of networks. With races airing on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, the F1 season averaged 934,000 viewers per race in 2021, shattering the previous season record average of 748,000 that was set in 1995.
The 2021 season average of 934,000 viewers was up 54 percent over the 2020 season average of 608,000 viewers and up 39 percent vs. the 2019 season average of 672,000 viewers.
The Oct. 24th United States Grand Prix from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, had the season’s largest audience, averaging 1.2 million viewers on ABC. It was the most-viewed race since ESPN reacquired Formula 1 rights prior to the 2018 season and the average viewership was up 42 percent from 2019, the last year the race was run.
The season included a number of event viewership records as well as cable event viewership records, with the Abu Dhabi race being the latest to have the largest U.S. television audience ever for the event.
That isn’t a coincidence. The sport was at the center of a hit Netflix docu-series this year called F1: Drive To Survive. Not only did it create new fans for the sport, it also opened the door to a deeper partnership between F1 and the streaming giant.
F1 will be back on ESPN Networks again in 2022, beginning with the Bahrain Grand Prix March 18-20. It will be interesting to see if the momentum can carry into a second season.
Mason & Ireland Ink Contract Extensions with ESPN Los Angeles
The pair signed a multi-year contract and that will ensure they continue to be the longest-running duo in L.A.
The long-running West Coast sounds of Mason & Ireland will continue. The pair signed a multi-year contract and that will ensure they continue to be the longest-running duo for ESPN Los Angeles.
Steve Mason and John Ireland have been on-and-off partners in radio since 1992.
Mason said of the extension, “I love L.A. sports and I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I really appreciate ESPN and our new owner Good Karm Brands. We’ve got a really good team on Mason & Ireland with producer Greg Bergman and associate producer Jorge Briones. And I especially love doing the show every day with John Ireland, my friend of 30 years.”
Ireland also has a statement that read, “It’s both an honor and a privilege to continue this ride with ESPN. During the course of our last deal, the Lakers, Rams and Dodgers all won titles. Obviously, we were able to mistakenly convince our bosses that we had something to do with that, so they’re letting us continue. Please, nobody tell them.”
Mason & Ireland airs weekdays from 1-4p PT on 710 ESPN in Los Angeles.
Mike Francesa and Phil Mushnick Lock Horns Over Golf Bets
That led to a Mushnick article lambasting the “soothsayer of colossal doom”. Mushnick continued to attack Francesa and claiming his legacy was as a “self-deluded, boastful blowhard”.
Phil Mushnick of The New York Post, is no fan of Mike Francesa. The latest bout between the two was triggered by a series of erroneous golf bets that Francesa has given out in each of the last three majors.
Francesa, on his podcast with BetRivers Network, told folks that the best bet to win the Masters was Brooks Koepka. The best bet to win the PGA Championship was Scottie Scheffler. He also said the best bet to win The U.S. Open was Cameron Smith. Neither won. Neither even made the cut.
That led to a Mushnick article lambasting the “soothsayer of colossal doom”. Mushnick continued to attack Francesa and claimed his legacy was as a “self-deluded, boastful blowhard”.
Francesa heard about, or read, the piece and responded on Twitter, calling Mushnick “sad, pathetic” and said that Mushnick’s writings make him look “like the jealous old man that he is”.
Moments later, Francesa tweeted again, “Ask him to add up how much the horses I own have won the past two years. What a complete, obsessed fool.”
As AMNY points out, these two have rammed horns before.
Mushnick once said he had alleged tapes of Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo demanding loyalty oaths from Jews after 9/11.
The writer would also accuse Francesa of fighting with his then-boss Mark Chernoff, after losing to ESPN New York’s Michael Kay in ratings, an accusation Francesa denies.
Luke Kuechly Joins the Carolina Panthers Radio Broadcast
“I just love the Panthers; I love being around it,” Kuechly told Panthers.com. “I love the people. I think I want to be attached to the team, and the game, and the organization somehow.”
The Carolina Panthers radio booth just added another piece to their crew for the 2022 season. Luke Kuechly, the retired linebacker who spent his entire eight-year career with the Panthers, will be an analyst this season.
“I just love the Panthers; I love being around it,” Kuechly told Panthers.com. “I love the people. I think I want to be attached to the team, and the game, and the organization somehow. I think it could be a lot of fun. I think that’s the biggest reason, to do something around the game on game day that’s fun. You still get the atmosphere, and all the good memories I have here in Carolina.”
Kuechly will join the three-man Panthers radio broadcast with play-by-play announcer Anish Shroff and two other former Panthers who call some but not all of their games, Jordan Gross and Jake Delhomme. Kuechly will be a part of the broadcast team for seven of the team’s games. Jim Szoke is the third man in the booth for the games Kuechly doesn’t call.
The Panthers have already announced which games Kuechly will broadcast. He will call Week 1 at home vs. Cleveland, Week 4 vs. Arizona, Week 5 vs. San Francisco, Week 7 vs. Tampa Bay, Week 9 on the road at Cincinnati, Week 12 vs. Denver and Week 15 vs. Pittsburgh.
The Panthers have made several broadcast changes this offseason. It includes a new flagship television partner and a new flagship radio partner as well.