The Formula One global motorsport series has revealed that it made just US$10 million in digital revenues last year.
That figure, which accounts for things such as sales of the official F1 App and the licensing of online ticketing and merchandise rights, makes up as little as 0.6 per cent of the championship’s total revenue, despite new owner Liberty Media’s attempts to revolutionise the way the series is presented.
In initial efforts to drive digital revenues, Liberty has introduced a Formula One esports series, revamped the F1 App and launched F1TV, a new over-the-top (OTT) service which streams races directly to fans.
Liberty has, at least, succeeded in increasing Formula One’s digital revenues, with the US$10 million made in 2017 up from US$6.1 million in 2016, marking a 65 per cent increase. The latest results do not include sales of F1TV given that it only launched earlier this year, while the esports series has also not been included in the latest financial statement.
An official statement from Formula One Digital Media read: ‘Revenue grew strongly, up by US$3.9 million despite the company’s primary focus being on planning future products and services, the increasingly successful development of its digital and social media channels, and the development of content and underlying technical platforms to support future growth opportunities.
‘The directors consider the performance of the company during the year to be satisfactory and in line with expectations as the company continues to invest in the development of its digital platforms, and believe the company to be in a sound position at the balance sheet date and, with the progress it is making, well positioned for the future.’
More broadly, Liberty’s first year at the helm saw Formula One’s revenue reversed by UK£13 million (US$18.3 million), meaning team payments dropped and prize money for this season fell by five per cent.
Much of that slide was driven by the loss of the German Grand Prix and several sponsors including Allianz and financial services giant UBS, but a recent US$100 million deal to introduce betting sponsors – coupled with Liberty’s ongoing digital drive - could signal the beginning of Formula One’s path back to profit.