Hookit’s Motorsport Insight | Supercross sees growth during ‘back to normal’ 2021 season

BlackBook official data partner Hookit analysed Supercross' social growth as the series 2021 season comes to an end.

The Supercross championship is the largest off-road motorcycle racing championship in the world. The typical season stretches from early January through to early May.

As with most sports in season during March 2020, Supercross had to stop events and figure out a plan B. This led to an 85 day hiatus of Supercross events between 7th March and 31st May, when the sport picked back up. Then, instead of the once a week events across different cities as normal, all of the May-June 2020 events were held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and some events were held on weekdays in order to finish the season in a timely manner. In 2021, the season returned to a similar window for a regular schedule between January to May. However, they followed a similar model where the races were held in a limited number of venues with races occurring on weekends and mid-week on several occasions. There were only two events remaining at the time of publication.

For this analysis, Hookit looked into the riders, teams, and league social accounts across all major social media platforms. To compare (relatively) evenly this year to last, we used these date ranges:

2020 (Includes all 17 events, excludes Covid-19 break – 105 days in total): 

  • From 1st Januar, 2020 to 10th March, 2020
  • From 25th May, 2020 to 30th June, 2020

2021 (Includes 15 of 17 events through to Atlanta 3 – 109 days in total):

  • From 1st January, 2021 to 20th April, 2021

Supercross social growth

In 2021, Supercross has seen a growing fan base. On social media, the combined total number of followers of all Supercross entities (riders, teams, and the series) is up seven per cent so far this season. That is double the growth the series as a whole saw during racing in 2020. However, Hookit has seen a trend across sports that social activity (number of posts per competitor) is down and Supercross is no exception. The total volume of social media posts across Supercross is down 26 per cent in 2021. The good news, though, is that even though the volume of social content is not as high as it was in 2020, the fan engagement per post is up 22 per cent. Fans are engaging more than ever with Supercross content. This should be seen as a huge opportunity by the sport to continue to grow its influence within the world of motorsport.

Looking at the broader world of motorsports, how does Supercross compare? Hookit looked at another North American-centric motorsport, Nascar, to see if Supercross was over or under-performing other series. Nascar in 2021 has seen a similar, but lower fan growth rate at just below five per cent (compared to Supercross at seven per cent). This growth rate for Nascar is less than it was last year, indicating a slowing of growth for the US auto racing series. In contrast to most sports, social activity in Nascar is actually up 15 per cent so far this season. However, fan engagement is down 32 per cent compared to 2020, a worrying sign for the series but a positive indicator for Supercross as it sees increased average fan engagement per post.

Sponsorship value generated across Supercross

Following the lower activity trend, there have been fewer posts promoting sponsors across Supercross in 2021. However, on a per event basis (as noted above, the data does not include the full 2021 season), sponsorship value (AAV) per Supercross event is slightly below 2020, down five per cent. However, when the volume of promotion is factored in, AAV per branded post is actually up nine per cent in 2021. Nine brands have seen over US$1 million in AAV so far this season, led by title sponsor Monster Energy. The top five brands by AAV in 2021, Monster Energy, Honda, Dunlop, Rocky Mountain ATV, and Kawasaki, have all seen value growth year over year on a per event basis compared to 2020.

The social leaders in Supercross

As with most motorsports, the series owned accounts have the most followers, generated the most engagement, and the most social AAV. 

Between Jan 1 – Apr 20, 2021, Supercross official accounts have:

  • 6.1 million followers (+ten per cent)
  • 4,800 posts
  • 20.4 million interactions
  • 159 million video views

The top five riders by social engagement (interactions + video views) are:

  • Ken Roczan – 6.7 million
  • Dean Wilson – 4.1 million
  • Jett Lawrence – 2.6 million
  • Justin Barcia – 2.2 million
  • Malcolm Stewart – two million

The top three teams by social engagement (interactions + video views) are:

  • Factory Red Bull / KTM – 3.8 million
  • Kawasaki Racing (Factory Monster Energy) – 1.5 million
  • Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing – one million

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