With the competition as fierce as ever this season F1 teams will be doing everything they can to distance themselves from each other both on and off the track

 

Formula 1 currently finds itself in the privileged position of racing fans (Netflix newbies and die-hards alike) being as excited by the drama from the latest chapter of enthralling on-demand series ‘Drive to Survive’ as the pulsating on-track action, following the thrilling first three rounds of the new F1 season.

 

Indeed, F1 are in what sports would call a purple patch- with a new cult fandom, emerging superstars, and impressive figures post-Covid. Their cumulative TV audience for 2021 was 1.55bn, up 4% from 2020, and it was once again the fastest-growing major sports league globally in terms of social follower increase. From a sponsorship perspective, the signs are also trending upwards, with the recent Google-Mclaren deal showcasing the sport’s ability to attract some of the most sought-after sponsor brands.

 

For a long time F1 teams have successfully sold sponsorship to brands based on a set of tried and tested deliverables:

 

The power of the brand: think the glamour of McLaren, Red Bull innovation or even the style of Ferrari. It’s no surprise that these three teams are ranked as the most popular by fans (McLaren 29.5%, Red Bull 19.8%, Ferrari 17.9%), when asked to name their favourite team (Nielsen) and Aston Martin, another iconic brand, managed to double their support last year since rebranding from Force India

 

Global reach and presence: the hallmark of the F1 allure, which shows no sign of slowing down with a record 23 races scheduled for this season. The sport has now amassed close to 334 million fans around the world (GWI) and is one of the few, true global properties that runs for 9 months of each year

 

Providing a clear role for the sponsor: the majority of F1 teams do a brilliant job of providing a clear role for their sponsors, whether that’s technological aspects, providing drivers what they need to perform or even creating distinct territories for non-endemics to own- take Aston Martin’s recent partnership with ‘official creator’ – TikTok

 

These elements are still clearly valuable but with the sponsorship industry evolving and the marketplace saturated, brands are now making rights holders work harder for their money, asking more difficult questions around topics such as access to data, business impact and a stronger focus on digital.

 

Here are three ways we believe F1 teams (and rights holders in general) can meet some of these demands and stand out in a competitive environment:

 

1. USE OF DATA TO CREATE COMPELLING PROPOSITIONS

The greatest currency a modern rights holder has is its audience data (first and third) and there remains huge untapped potential around this due to sport’s unrivalled fan loyalty. Most rights holders will be using this in some capacity but applying a more varied and concerted approach will allow properties to create a compelling sales narrative.

 

Brand Challenges: Using a tool like Purchase Dynamics allows us to diagnose the key challenges for the brand vs. the sector, enabling a rights holder to present clear solutions for these shortfalls:

 

Category Analysis: Brand Index helps us to show the relationship between the general population and F1 fans when targeting a specific category- in this case purchase headphones:

Purchase Intention: Another tool we have access to is Global Web Index, which in this case, demonstrates the in-market potential and purchase intent of Aston Martin fans across a potential prospect category like insurance:

Fan Behaviours: when approaching B2B prospects we can use survey data from the likes of IPSOS to assess the attitudes and preferences of key business decision makers:

2. DEMONSTRATING BUSINESS IMPACT POTENTIAL

Brand marketers are under increasingly more pressure to generate business growth from advertising spend, which is why mainly highlighting media value as proof of ROI should be added to. Through a Fuse Ignite product: Business Impact Modelling, we’re able to use a concise methodology and multiple tools to highlight how a rights holder can demonstrate business ROI potential for a prospective partner:

By isolating a ‘primed buying audience’ (2.9k) we can multiply a percentage of this number (conversion can for example be the market share of a business, e.g.,1% of 2.9k) by the average revenue per customer, to develop ROI and revenue forecasts.

 

3. USING SMART INSIGHTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF INTERNATIONAL GROWTH

Due to more races and the Netflix-effect, the US has become the next big F1 market, with an average of 934,000 people tuning in per race last season (an increase of 54% compared with 2020), but how do teams take advantage of this intel? GWI’s Sports Module allows us to see the most relevant and under-serviced categories to target in the US and how a team aligns specifically to that category:

In summary, the demand from brands to partner with F1 teams will only enhance as the sport continues to grow at such a healthy rate, creating fantastic commercial opportunities for all 10 teams. However, like the end of last season, winning comes down to fine margins and doing things to separate yourself from the competition, as is the case when pitching to a prospective sponsor. The F1 teams that continue to innovate commercially and bolster their proposition in line with modern brand requirements will reap the benefits and truly be in a position to thrive, rather than just survive.    

 

Fuse Ignite is Fuse’s rights holder consultancy that was launched last year, created to accelerate the commercial success of organisations in sport and entertainment utilising their expert understanding of what brands want and OMG’s unrivalled access to business intelligence resources and tools. For more information, please contact [email protected]

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