Formula 1’s Digital Media Drives Fan Engagement

Formula 1 drives fan engagement by distributing digital media to broadcast partners, racing teams and drivers. Watch a video about this discussion.

The most impactful sports broadcast deals today incorporate digital media rights for fan engagement and brand value lift. For sports industry leaders across the globe like Formula One Racing (F1), these short-form assets have become part of their core content strategies. 

Sam Tremayne, Formula One Racing’s Editor-in-Chief, Social and Digital, joined Greenfly’s CEO Daniel Kirschner for an engaging session to discuss this topic at the Leaders Week London 2021 event. David Cushnan, Head of Content at Leaders in Sport, moderated the discussion.

F1 is working with rights-holding broadcasters and athletes to deliver sports content that truly resonates with audiences. This approach helps them realize more revenue through compelling visual assets accumulating every event day and beyond. Leveraging this non-live digital media on social channels drives tune-in and increases sponsor appeal. This builds commercial value into their content solutions.

Listen to how global powerhouse Formula One Racing collaborates with broadcast partners and drivers. They’re boosting the value of digital media rights through race day content distribution

“We are a brand first, and we try and position ourselves really as a fan — that’s our persona tone of voice — but we’re never going to be able to replicate and match the authenticity of a driver.”

Sam Tremayne, Formula One Racing’s Editor-in-Chief, Social and Digital

Collaboration With Racing Teams and Drivers

F1 aims to engage auto racing enthusiasts with the sport year round. Over the last several years, the league has grown its digital presence. They’ve moved from an early focus on awareness to association — giving fans a reason to tune in and stay connected. And they understand the levers for amplifying content beyond their own channels. Sports fans most want to engage directly with athletes. So the league looks for ways to wrap both F1 racing teams and drivers into that strategy. And serve these partners with more digital media for enhanced fan engagement. 

Tremayne’s team takes an editorial-first approach to content. To start, he explained that the process of working with both racing teams and drivers involves good communication from the outset. This includes a consistent open sharing of their approach and goals. In this way, these partners can understand how media fits into the broader brand strategy. And how they can align with that. Then, the staff discusses how they can get content to the teams and drivers directly. They also learn what types of content these groups want. Finally, the marketers determine the content they can supply. This is based on digital media rights and fast retrieval times for building F1 fan engagement. Also, they look at how it fits overall with the content the league curates. 

How Stakeholders Think About Digital Media Rights

Kirschner discussed that we’re in a period where rights holders and broadcasters have a lot of opportunities to drive value on social media. He explained how each stakeholder is thinking about digital media rights for fan engagement now.

Athletes have come to appreciate their value on social media channels and their ability to connect with fans in direct ways. They’re looking for tools and resources to build those relationships. Rights holders are trying to expand the value of their core offerings. They’re looking at athletes as partners, advocates and ambassadors to amplify their messages to audiences. And broadcasters are seeking compelling content that brings value by driving tune-in and sustaining excitement between events. They’re searching for forms of content that sit outside of traditional broadcast to leverage on social and digital channels and turning to rights holders and athletes to support those goals. 

Race Day Digital Media Builds F1 Fan Engagement

F1 has a unique proposition among sports leagues, which Tremayne highlighted. Although there are fewer event days than other sports, there are 20 drivers with multiple cameras and radio systems, along with a worldwide broadcast feed within any given race. There is a depth of complexity beyond what audiences see on TV. However, with digital media rights to support F1 fan engagement, there is an opportunity to complement that content. He shared that the league ranks third among major rights holders, behind the Champion’s League and the NBA, for global fan engagement. This ranking is driven primarily by an audience that consumes a large amount of content per user through this exclusive digital media shown outside of the broadcast feed. Greenfly helps surface that content to bring to the teams and drivers for sharing.

Tremayne and Kirschner both cited Bundesliga as a great example of a league pioneering this way of thinking about digital media rights for strengthening fan engagement and driving value. Tremayne noted examples of giving an athlete an asset that’s authentic to them. They can use it differently than a club would be able to use it. They can talk about a moment genuinely in their voice and on their terms. This will always have power, resonance and reach beyond what the club can do with the same content. Sports brands can empower athletes in this area by giving them the right tools. And this activity isn’t cannibalistic to broadcasters. It’s mutually beneficial and spurs tune-in and long-term fan connection.  

Final Thoughts

The speakers talked about commercial opportunities and measuring value for sponsors. They also highlighted the need for content to reach further and reach its highest purpose. For example, assets that might not fit for broadcast are incredibly valuable to athletes or are popular in particular markets. And they agreed that turning athletes into media partners and making them part of a digital media rights distribution plan is critical for fan engagement success.

Watch the full panel discussion above.

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