Hookit’s Motorsport Insight | How to leverage F1’s increasing popularity

BlackBook's official data partner looks at how brands and rights holders can leverage Formula One's increased popularity thanks to the likes of Netflix's Drive to Survive.

With the increasing popularity of Formula One and its success on Netflix's Drive to Survive, sponsorship in the series has become an attractive opportunity for brands looking to expand their global reach.

In December, Kore released a comprehensive market intel report in private workshops that provided valuable insights about how brands and rights holders can leverage this trend and maximise their spend.

Here, we’ll share highlights from Kore's recent workshops to inspire your own strategy.   

How Kore’s Formula One evaluation works

In February 2022, Kore acquired Hookit, the leading AI-powered sponsorship analytics and valuation platform. With this addition to Kore's suite of products, brands and rights holders now have access to an innovative Portfolio Optimization Platform that can provide insight into managing, measuring, and optimising sponsorships like never before.

This social valuation tool helps brands learn where opportunities are to invest in sport sponsorship, with who and what assets to invest in. It helps sport teams understand how they stack up, and where to optimise their strategy and content for the best return on investment (ROI) for their brand sponsors.

The adjusted ad value (AAV) formula assigns a dollar value to a social post based on how clearly logos or brand mentions are displayed within text, image, or video and how much engagement the post generates:

  • Text-only social listening tools miss significant visual attribution.
  • Evaluate Social, designed by Hookit, can capture a brand’s social value through:
    • Quality logo visibility
    • Audience data and watch-through rates
    • Built-in authentication

These features create a robust data story. Kore can track the AAV of any content created on social media that displays clear logos, deliberate tags, and keyword mentions.

What was analysed across the Formula One social scene?

Over 420,000 posts from Formula One, teams, drivers and any content that referenced them during the 2022 season. The date range is from March to December.

Social media data includes followers, posts, engagement, valuation and audience data, and platforms analysed include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Weibo and VK.

Compared to the National Football League (NFL), which grew followers modestly by five per cent this past season, the clear trend for Formula One across social is growth, specifically in the US, which accounted for 36 per cent of the growth. In terms of audience, women and youth were a huge part of the growth.

Formula One viewership was up:

  • 34 per cent among females
  • 49 per cent among 12-17 year olds
  • 43 per cent among 18-34 year olds

Formula One race attendance grew by 27 per cent, from 234,000 on average since the last full capacity season.

The general state of Formula One across social

The drop in social engagement is a global impact across sport, speculatively attributed to general, post-COVID ‘hangover’, a term recently coined to refer to the massive emphasis that was placed on social during lockdowns. Video viewership is up for mainly two reasons:

  1. Access and adoption of Instagram Reels
  2. Increased emphasis on video content amongst all social platforms

Content plays an integral role in creating deep connections between brands and audiences. It is essential to have strategies in place that capitalise on content type, its placement across channels, audience targeting metrics such as age/gender/location etc., including key influencers in the space.

Additionally, understanding which specific topics resonate best with your target audience plays a critical role when formulating content strategies that drive maximum engagement rates.

How Formula One's social impact compares with other sports leagues

Formula One had a 23 per cent increase in followers in the last 12 months quickly climbing to half of the amount of followers that the NFL has.

When compared to other major sports leagues such as Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) and NFL, Formula One comes out on top when it comes to its fans social media engagement.

In fact, Formula One’s engagement per follower rate is the highest across all sports. This makes Formula One a top choice for sponsors looking to reach a highly engaged fan base on social media platforms.

The Drive to Survive effect

The launch of Netflix’s ten-episode docu-series Drive to Survive had an immediate impact on Formula One viewership numbers as well as fan engagement rates on social media platforms.

Four season later, the series has provided unprecedented access into the inner workings of teams and drivers which resulted in higher levels of fan interest and engagement compared with previous years.

There is an excellent opportunity for brands looking to leverage this newfound interest by targeting viewers who are already engaged with the sport through their content marketing efforts.

How to reach more fans

Kore found that 53 per cent of fans who follow a Formula One team account on Twitter also follow the official account of Formula One. Sponsorship opportunities could have a broader reach when you partner with both Formula One and teams.

Moreover, Kore has even more data that drills down the overlap of fans following drivers. Get in contact with the company for a private viewing of the full data report.

A few key findings

  • In general, funny, unusual, heart-warming, behind-the-scenes content drives engagement
  • The most viral Formula One post garnered 52 million views
  • Instagram is still number one, delivering 83 per cent of all Formula One, team and driver engagement and 68 per cent of all video views
  • 71 per cent of video views from Instagram by Formula One teams, drivers and owned accounts comes from Instagram reels (85 per cent teams, 90 per cent for drivers)
  • Formula One posts more videos than reels on Instagram, yet video views are down 35 per cent this season

Reach out to Kore for the full list of key takeaways.

Conclusion

Formula One represents a unique opportunity for brands to leverage sponsorship investments and gain maximum exposure within one of the most engaged sports communities today.

As more people become aware of its unique appeal and entertainment value, Formula One's fanbase continues to grow every day. Through engaging activations built around Formula One events, properties or drivers, brands can maximise their return on investment with data-driven insights into what resonates most with audiences, such as Instagram Reels engagement, as well as creative approaches to creating content tailored to specific demographics.


If you’re interested in learning more about Kore's insights from its privately held workshops, request a demo or reach out to Kore at [email protected] to learn more.

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