Hookit’s Motorsport Insights | Ranking the social sponsorship performance of 2020’s series champions

Hookit, the BlackBook's official data partner, bids to find out if the winners of Formula One, Nascar, Formula E, MotoGP and Supercross were also champions for their partners.

With the 2020 motorsport season virtually at an end, Hookit analysed the winning drivers in each of the world's leading series for this month's data deep dive.

Of course, the winners of Formula One, Nascar, Formula E, MotoGP and Supercross are unlikely to ever race directly. However, what is more comparable is tracking their performance off the track for their sponsors.

These series were chosen as they are the top five series when it comes to generating value for sponsors on social media, so Hookit tracked their posts between 1st January and 30th November.

When it comes to followers, Lewis Hamilton's 33 million is number one in motorsports. Only MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi is near him with 28 million. No other driver or rider has more than 15 million followers.

Hamilton's following is 19 times that of Nascar champion Chase Elliott and 130 times that of Formula E winner Antonio Felix Da Costa.

However, with this massive following, as is typical with the top athletes across all sports, Hamilton suffers a lower engagement rate, falling below the median for athletes of one per cent.

Hamilton is able to make up for this lower engagement rate by his volume of posts, averaging a little under two posts per day for the year. However Elliott, who has a much smaller following, doesn't post nearly as much content, and still has a low engagement rate. This is an area that could be concerning for Elliott's sponsors, as brands typically seek to partner with top athletes whose fans are highly engaged.

MotoGP champion Joan Mir leads the field in engagement rate, coming in at four times the median. Mir also more than doubled his followers this year, earning him the highest growth rate among these champions, though all of them outpaced the median for athletes of four per cent follower growth rate. That said, in terms of sheer volume, while Mir added the second most total followers among these five since the start of the year, Hamilton has added over 7.7 million new followers in the same period.

Sponsorship performance

Obviously, social followers and interactions don't tell the whole story when it comes to promoting brands. 

Hamilton generated over 20 times more sponsorship value than any of the other four champions examined, which is not a surprise based on how many more interactions his posts garnered compared to the posts of the others. The only driver to generate more value than Hamilton was rally racer Ken Block. 

None of the other champions ranked first in their individual series in terms of value generated except Hamilton.

The only brand to make the top three brands with multiple of these champions is Monster Energy.


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