According to the 2019 F1 Audience report, Formula One has seen a 3.9% decline in unique viewers globally, with audiences falling to 471 million following the move from free to air to pay TV. Yet, this iconic racing series is growing audiences in the US, Middle East and Asia and still remains highly attractive to sponsors worldwide, with companies spending an estimate of $1.2bn annually on partnerships.
Sportcal’s latest report, ‘The Business of Formula One 2020’, reveals that technology companies make up the majority of team sponsors across the grid, accounting for almost 20% of all team partners – given their ability to aid and enhance performance. Moreover, automotive brands are unsurprisingly heavily involved, making up 17.6% of all deals while clothing and accessories brands are the third most common sector sponsoring the sport, accounting for 13.5% of all deals.
Despite the decrease in viewers, the motorsport series still has a sizeable global audience, and this continues to grow across the Middle East and Asia.
In 2019, both the US and China had a respective 7% and 5% increase of viewers according to F1’s annual viewership report. Highlighting the appeal to brands that through this partnership, there may be opportunities to reach strategic target markets.
The return to prominence of some iconic teams such as McLaren, who with 41 individual partners are the most sponsored team in the paddock – ahead of Renault and Ferrari, who respectively have 32 and 28 individual team deals. McLaren still have no title sponsor, they have made a conscious decision to focus on developing multiple partnerships with brands who can either provide financial or technical support to aid their progress back to the front of the grid.
While McLaren do not generate the same amount of revenue from their sponsors – $86.35m according to GlobalData’s Sportcal Intelligence Center, compared to Ferrari who lead the way with $254.1m thanks to their title sponsorship with Phillip Morris – they are well placed to lean on their partners to help them get back to winning ways.