Blog: Following Facebook followers: NASCAR vs F1

Steve Kim

Social network has fast become a dominant way that people interact with each other. Most racers have twitter accounts that they use frequently to reach out to their fans. Social network became a point of controversy this year at the Daytona 500 when Brad Keselowski tweeted photos of Montoya's car crash while the red flag was out. Just last week when Mark Martin's twitter account was violated by a hacker, Martin was visibly upset that he could potentially lose touch with his fans.

Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Given the importance of social media, how well has NASCAR and Formula one gathered momentum in this area? Here, I look at Facebook, which has about 800 million user accounts globally. Which type of racing do the Facebook users follow: NASCAR or Formula One?

I did a quick tally per select countries using the hash tags #NASCAR and #Formula One. I provide the counts in the table below (as of March 25, 2012). Each unit is 1 user account.

#NASCAR #Formula One
Total 4,000,000 2,800,000
North America US 1,997,900 127,320
Canada 117,140 23,880
Asia Japan 1,700 20,440
Hong Kong 1,680 3,360
Australia 26,200 34,680
S. Korea 900 3,840
Taiwan 2,820 8,500
Europe UK 39,840 223,280
Germany 24,900 138,160
France 22,040 46,160
Italy 17,960 140,340

Here are some things I observe from the figures:

- Both NASCAR and Formula One have fractions of their fan base (the figures they each claim) following them on Facebook. Only 4 million fans are linked up to them via Facebook. Formula One has fewer fans linked up at 2.8m.

- As a point of reference, football has 27.9 million followers worldwide.

- More reference points: baseball has 10 million followers, hockey 4.5 million, bowling 4.3 million, table tennis, 3.7 million. Curling has 857,000. Yes, curling. Shockingly, both NASCAR and Formula One are lagging bowling. Formula One is far behind table tennis.

Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

- US is extremely tilted toward NASCAR. Canada is also dominated by NASCAR fans, although not as many accounts exist there.

- Europe, as expected, is Formula One dominant. There aren't as many Facebook link ups in that region though.

- Asia numbers are anemic. Tilt there is towards Formula One.

My conclusion is that both NASCAR and Formula One have lagged in getting traction on Facebook. The participation rate in relation to the overall fan base doesn't seem strong. It also lags sports that have smaller constituents in terms of following. Between the two, NASCAR has done better, mostly owning to US and Canada. Rest of the world is dominated by Formula One.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Ryan Newman , Eric Gilbert , Brad Keselowski , Mark Martin
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing
Tags facebook, feature, keselowski, martin, montoya, steve kim, twitter