Landing data-driven deals during a pandemic: An inside look at F1, Formula E, MotoGP, and Nascar

Sponsorpulse lifts the lid on the motorsport market in Europe to highlight the opportunities for brands and rights holders.

The last five months have represented unchartered territory for the live entertainment industry and motorsport has been no exception.

Whether it be cancelling or rescheduling races, managing broadcast rights and partner obligations, or rethinking business models of motorsport, there have been no shortage of challenges. As brand budgets contract due to these extreme circumstances, properties are being put to the test to find new business opportunities where the well seems to have run dry. Although partnerships have often been driven by emotion and perceived fit, the current climate has put emphasis on the importance of leveraging data to identify and create mutually beneficial opportunities.

Sports fans are hungry for content

Sports fans have been deprived of sport over four months now, creating pent up global demand to consume that content that fans long for. Upon the return of sport, an increase of 34 per cent of people intend to watch sports on TV, an increase of 27 per cent intend to stream, and an increase of 18 per cent intend to watch in bars across the globe. The early results that have come in from rights holders across the globe further validate that this pent-up demand is leading to record setting audiences for as they return.

Sponsorpulse has been tracking motorsports around the world on a monthly basis since early Autumn 2019 to have up-to-the-minute data available to inform partnership discussions and strategies. So let us take a look at what we know about motorsport in Europe across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Formula One reigns king in European reach

Formula 1 rises to the top of the motorsport list engaging roughly 1 in 2 people aged 13 to 64 in Europe, presenting the most significant reach opportunity in motorsport for partners. The property offers reach comparable to some of the largest sports properties in the marketplace, a quick way to showcase relative size and scale to get a conversation started.

Property Avg Engagement Europe Gap to Formula One
Formula One 49%
MotoGP 42% -7%
Formula E 31% -18%
Nascar 29% 20%

SponsorPulse by IMI. Average Engagement Europe 13 to 64 year olds.

Country-by-country highlights a compelling narrative

The country-by-country story reveals a couple of interesting insights. For starters, MotoGP ever so slightly outperforms Formula One on driving engagement in Spain and Italy. The results posted by both motorsport properties put them right at the top of the total sports property list next to the likes of Fifa, Uefa Champions League, La Liga and Serie A. Second, the country breakdown offers immediate context and perspective on the life stage of properties and where there’s a need to defend versus an opportunity to grow. Italy and Spain can be leveraged as mature markets where learning can be adapted and applied to drive growth in the rest of Europe.

Property Italy Spain Portugal France UK Germany
MotoGP 62% 60% 42% 31% 27% 27%
Formula One 61% 59% 52% 36% 40% 43%
Formula E 43% 38% 28% 23% 25% 27%
Nascar 31% 36% 35% 24% 21% 24%

SponsorPulse by IMI. Country Engagement 13 to 64 year olds

Riding the wave of momentum

Formula E continues to make significant moves in the market while finding compelling ways to drive exposure and profile for its socially conscious mandate. A prime example being its 2019 documentary 'And We Go Green' featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. With positive momentum on its side, a lead indicator for future growth over the next 12 months, Sponsorpulse can dig deeper to identify specific categories where momentum is strongest and as such where there’s the greatest opportunity for a partner to capitalise on. Looking at the two top motorsport markets, Formula E offers significant and untapped partnership opportunities for brands in gaming, beverages and food delivery 

Formula E momentum by category behaviour Spain Category partner (Y/N)
Purchase airline tickets +27% Y
Purchased wine +26% Y
Purchased coffee at restaurant +26% N
Played video games +26% N
Purchase tyres for a new vehicle +25% Y

Formula E momentum by category behaviour Italy Category partner (Y/N)
Purchase sports drinks +36% N
Purchase tyres for a new vehicle +36% Y
Purchase coffee at restaurant +33% N
Ordered food from a delivery service +31% N
Played video games +31% N

SponsorPulse by IMI. Formula E Country Momentum by Category: 13 to 64 year olds Italy, Spain.

Driving brand impact through partnership

Brands are continuously challenged to find solutions to connect with consumers, add value and ultimately drive impact. By understanding the percentage of a properties engaged fanbase that would be more favourable toward its brand partners, properties can quantify the base population that it can bring closer to its products and services.

Property Avg Favourability Increase Europe
MotoGP 13%
Formula One 13%
Formula E 10%
Nascar 8%

SponsorPulse by IMI. Average Favourability Increase in Europe by Property: 13 to 64 year olds

Building excitement and passion for the motorsport industry as a collective

As motorsport industry leaders come together to build the sport across all markets, it can benefit from looking at where its most passionate and excited fan bases exist. Understanding how people feel toward motorsport across the continent can identify hot spots to target with events, geographic areas to test innovations

Country  Avg Motorsport Passion  Avg Motorsport Excitement
Italy 21% 36%
Spain 19% 36%
Portugal 15% 45%
France 13% 25%
Germany 13% 28%
UK 11% 30%

SponsorPulse by IMI. Average Country Passion and Excitement by Country: 13-64 year olds.

Whether you represent a brand, an agency, or a property, leveraging data to identify opportunities is the first step to landing data-driven partnerships, particularly in a time of economic downturn. Fresh data will serve to ground discussions in consumer insight, offer context and keep focus on the opportunities at hand.

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