Back in March, we published our F1 sponsorship white paper, looking at some of the trends around the sport ahead of the 2022 season. Eight months and 22 races later, Abu Dhabi closed the curtain on another championship full of talking points on and off the racetrack.
The headline figures pre-season were a 150% increase in tech sponsors over the past five years, 80% of the grid were partnered with crypto/blockchain brands, and purpose-led campaigns were coming to the fore.
We outlined six key trends for the sport in 2022, starting with value-aligned partnerships: the crux of any successful sponsorship. We explored partnerships that transcend the sport, examples of where technology from F1 is used outside of the sport and in our daily lives. The Netflix Effect continued to drive new fan engagement, especially in the US, with Drive to Survive. We looked at the potential for a crypto crash, opportunities for other web 3.0 trends to emerge, and the rise of fintech. So, where are we nine months on?
Across all ten teams, we’ve seen a further increase in the total number of partners – a growth of 12% (308 vs 274), with Alfa Romeo contributing the greatest number over the season. The biggest growth area continues to be IT and tech, where global brands like Oracle, NetApp, AWS, and Cognizant are all finding tangible ways to tell their stories through F1 team partnerships. B2B opportunities at races are also driving this growth.
One event that helped F1’s buzz in 2022 was the inaugural Miami GP. Title sponsored by Crypto.com, and complete with *that* fake marina, the event broke audience records in the US with 2.6 million viewers. The event proved somewhat divisive with some reports of unhappy customers at Paddock Club suggesting that the event itself might benefit from some stakeholder PR for 2023. The on-track action was lacklustre compared to the off-track hype, but with Las Vegas joining the calendar, expect the US fanfare only to intensify next season.
Talking of crypto, the crisis surrounding FTX showed just how fragile sponsorships in this space can be, in this case to Mercedes’ detriment. With most teams now involved in crypto and blockchain, the fall of FTX should serve as a cautionary tale. Fintech, however, continues to offer resilience with Haas recently announcing MoneyGram as title sponsor on a multi-year deal. Keep an eye on fintech and insurtech in 2023.
F1 remains an absolute powerhouse for partnerships and the upward trajectory looks certain to continue not only with the numbers of sponsors but crucially the maturity with which teams treat partners. Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking no longer applies to car performance; McLaren’s collaboration with Seamless Digital, which pioneers dynamic advertising panels, is a case in point, increasing on-car branding opportunities live during a race weekend.
Yet, branding is no longer the selling point that it used to be. The reason we are seeing an increase in sponsorship in F1 is because it is a storytelling platform: a high-speed vehicle through which brands can showcase their products and tell their stories to audiences who are eager to listen.
Click here to access our free white paper: https://bit.ly/3qsArKZ
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