While Europe is the sport's traditional base, and hosts about half of each year's races, the sport's scope has expanded significantly and an increasing number of Grands Prix are held on other continents. F1 had a total global television audience of 425 million people during the course of the 2014 season. Grand Prix racing began in 1906 and became the most popular type internationally in the second half of the twentieth century. The Formula One Group is the legal holder of the commercial rights.
With the cost of designing and building mid-tier cars being of the order of $120 million, Formula One's economic effect and creation of jobs is significant, and its financial and political battles are widely reported. Its high profile and popularity have created a major merchandising environment, which has resulted in great investments from sponsors and budgets in the hundreds of millions for the constructors.
Since 2000 the sport's spiraling expenditures and the distribution of prize money which favors established top teams have forced complaints from smaller teams and led several teams to bankruptcy.