The Black Book Motorsport Forum invited a variety of the industry’s most influential minds together to lead a day of high-level discussion and interesting insights into the world of motorsport business.
With speakers from Renault, Formula One, McLaren and more, here are our favourite quotes from the BBMF 2018 at The Grange, Tower Bridge.
We opened up with Sean Bratches, Formula One managing director, commercial, presenting the importance of evolving the Formula One fan experience.
Talking about F1 TV, the series’ digital over-the-top (OTT) service, Bratches said: “One of the things I think is important is that we do it right. We're on the market but I still see it as a beta product - we're still testing. It's probably the most complicated OTT platform in sports that's been launched.”
On esports, he added: “We have a little bit of an advantage [over other sports]. It would be great if F1's esports [and real world] could crossover.”
He was followed by two panels discussing the future of motorsport. The second focused on the growing status of electric racing, with Niall Treacy, head of commercial strategy and sales at Formula E, saying: “We are attracting a 'new fan' because we are in city centres. People are seeing it, reading about it, we're engaging sports fans.”
Making all the right noises - @FIAFormulaE's ability to race in city centres offers motorsport fans more chances to watch the sport in person, says Formula E's head of Commercial Strategy & Sales #BBMF18 pic.twitter.com/ls1Ir5xeeC— BlackBook 2018 (@MotorsportBB) August 21, 2018
He was joined by FIA World Rally Championships managing director Paul Bellamy, who explained the need to expand the global reach of motorsport. He said: “We have to grow the motorsport fanbase, not take from each other.”
Later Hookit chief executive Scott Tilton, Rob Bloom of McLaren and Feld Entertainment’s Dave Muye came to the stage to discuss the rise of spontech in the motorsport industry.
Bloom, on the significance of considering data in sponsorship spheres, said: “Sports sponsorship has been through a day of reckoning in recent times where data is constantly scrutinised.”
Tilton, from data company Hookit, added: “Brands are trying to get deeper into the data insights to see if they're reaching their target consumer.”
Following this session focused on the link between technology and sponsorship came a discussion on the ever-increasing necessity of evolution in the sport. Sabrina Kreienborg, head of global sponsorships at DHL, said of the increasing number of ‘disruptive’ innovations within the industry: “F1 teams would be well advised to dare to disrupt themselves.
“We see potential in esports to enhance what is existing in the real world.”
Speaking on the same panel, ABB’s Sebastian de Chaunac responded to a question of whether Formula E is more of a technology platform and Formula One an entertainment series by saying: “Formula E positions itself as a start-up. The technology we have in the sport is at a level we don't see yet in other sports. But I don't see the split that clearly.”
In the afternoon session Renault’s Antoine Magnan was joined on stage by Enrique Moreno, the global brand director for Spanish soccer’s La Liga, to discuss their innovative partnership. Despite the lack of Spanish driver in Renault’s ranks, Moreno explained it was no barrier to the success of the partnership for the Formula One team.
He said: “We need to go beyond football to be relevant globally.” Magnan, meanwhile, highlighted the importance the importance of the deal for the league, with the global appeal of Formula One expanding Spanish soccer’s top flight.
Moreno added: “The key idea behind this partnership is that the world of entertainment is huge, therefore it is essential to create collaborative environments.”
Finally, the forum heard a panel discuss the increasing influence of motorsport disrupters and the growing success of less traditional series.
Matt Bates, chief executive of ASL Activations and Events, said: “We're being led by youngsters because they're shaping our future, and if you can get them to bring their parents to an event then that's half the battle. It's about changing the way our sport is viewed and then offering it to a much wider platform.”
He added: “I knew that my product would work if we packaged it right. I used my own family as a model, and I knew that if I entertained them - people who were not motorsport fans - then I was onto something.”