The Screaming Meals Podcast has captured the attention of F2 fans with the paddock anecdotes, motorsport insights, and general wine-and-cocktail-related antics of the hosts. But their persistent confusion over their majority-female viewership has ATRL’s Mees Drijgers thinking there’s a thing or two for the hosts to learn.
December 4, 2022
What started out as an Instagram account on which Formula 2 driver Marcus Armstrong shared his love for food with anyone who would listen has now turned into an official podcast with hour-long episodes, co-hosted by fellow Kiwi James Harvey Blair and former MP Motorsport, now Trident F2 driver Clément Novalak. Often seated on comfortable-looking sofas in various locations, the trio and their guests discuss everything motorsports, like their F2 race weekends, starting from pole position and tyre deg, while often including funny anecdotes from their time spent off track.
With 11k subscribers on his Youtube channel, 16k on the Instagram account, and 15k on Tiktok, Armstrong has built up quite an audience in the past year. Due to Youtube’s access to channel analytics, content creators can now see exactly who is watching their content. In an episode with Jehan Daruvala and Dennis Hauger as guests, a guessing game between Hauger and Armstrong revealed that 96% of their viewership is female, to all the boys’ surprise. In a later episode with Max Fewtrell, the topic came up again, with the increase to 98% female viewership leaving Fewtrell in shock. Blair mentioned none of them had been able to figure out why the majority of their viewers were women, and Armstrong suggested it could be “because of the wine tasting and the stupid outfits.”
Recent studies have shown that the fan behavior of passionate male fans and passionate female fans is more similar than previously thought. Passionate female fans feel empathy the same way passionate male fans do (Pope, 2013); both genders experience the same joy and frustrations while watching sports, meaning that there is also no statistically significant difference in their behaviors and feelings as fans. However, the stereotypical description of female fans is often used against them; they are accused of not knowing the rules of the sports they watch, even though data suggests the knowledge of high-involvement fans does not vary across gender, or it is claimed their interest in the sport is solely based on the attractiveness of the athletes (Crawford & Gosling, 2004), this sexualization of athletes has often been used to oppress women in sport and delegitimize their belonging in the sports community (Cooky et al., 2015).
Though the overall behavior of male and female fans is similar, one thing does create a difference between them as fan groups. Clark et al.’s (2009) survey and research focuses specifically on the Super Bowl Broadcast; however, it could also be applied to other sports: male and female fans share the same primary motivations to start watching a specific broadcast, namely the teams or athletes featured in that specific broadcast, and the competitiveness of the game or race during that broadcast. What differentiates men from women is the entertainment surrounding the sport or the event: women were more likely to enjoy entertainment such as the half-time show, the celebrities present, and the introduction of the players. Since these are not the primary motivations for female fans to start watching this broadcast, the entertainment factor does not affect their motivation to tune in or start watching; it enhances their experience. While the high-involvement female fans do indicate that the entertainment factor is valued, it should not distract from the quality of the sport.
So, to answer their question: there are multiple reasons why women are so drawn to the content they release. Firstly, it adds to the female fans’ already existing interest in the sport; through the discussion of the race weekends that are often featured in every episode, fans can learn more about the sport through the eyes of experienced professionals. They get access to parts of the sport that are normally inaccessible to them, as Formula 2 does not have post-session shows or social media content specifically targeted to these topics. Secondly, it is part of the entertainment factor female fans enjoy next to the primary factor, which is the sport itself. Not only are the podcasts, Instagram posts, and Tiktoks a way to enjoy motorsport content outside of race weekends, allowing women to still consume content about topics that interest them, but it is also a way to connect with racing drivers they support and to see them in a more personal setting where they can share their intriguing stories from both on and off the race track.
And yes, the wine-tasting and “stupid outfits” are also part of the entertainment factor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mees was introduced to the world of F1 by one of her friends in July 2020 and hasn’t missed a race weekend since. Her favourite drivers are Alex Albon, Lewis Hamilton, Oscar Piastri, and George Russell; outside of F1, she also actively supports Liam Lawson and Callum Ilott. She specialises in writing about F2, but is looking to specialise in FE and IndyCar as well, after starting to watch both series in 2022. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture, she is currently getting MA degrees in Translation and English Literature & Culture. When she’s not watching motorsport, she’s either watching football matches (preferably Real Madrid), reading a book, or watching streams on Twitch.
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That was an interesting read, thank you.
PS It’s “YouTube”, not “Youtube”.