WHAT LIBERTY MEDIA DEAL MEANS
It may be early days for Formula 1’s new owner Liberty Media, but some details of the firm’s plans to rejuvenate the sports have already leaked. Here’s a rundown of what we know so far.
Enhancing GP weekends
Liberty Media’s business portfolio means it can add far more to race weekends than just the on-track action. New F1 chairman Chase Carey says there is scope to add more attractions to grow the events as a whole. Carey says: “It’s about building the live experience at these races, which are tremendous events in many ways – one of the biggest to occur in a city and a country in which they do occur.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to make that event much bigger, broader, and appeal to a much larger audience, to have related things throughout the week, to have other entertainment things– sport is entertainment!
“They’re great today, but I think we can take them to another level, add all sorts of dimensions that are related to the sport, to entertaining, exciting and energising people, to everybody’s benefit.”
Currently F1’s digital footprint is miniscule compared to classes such as NASCAR or Indycar, or American Football. Much of F1’s social media traffic is driven by the teams themselves, but aside from that there’s little engagement or insight for fans.
Carey says: “There are multiple dimensions to developing the digital opportunities in F1. There is the marketing potential in telling the Formula 1 story, and it’s a great story with some of the most attractive stars in the world – great drivers, great teams, great brands, great technology. So it’s taking advantage of that and making it successful, really exciting that fan base, and using the data capabilities of digital media.
“It’s creating new competition for these rights, new opportunities to exploit these rights in different ways, to take advantage of what each of the platforms has to offer.”
Asia and America
F1 has found it tough to crack America and, while Asia is a growing market for F1 with races in China, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, there is still growth potential.
Carey says: “As a global sport there are opportunities, and we’re excited to grow the sport, like in America and Asia. The established markets that have been the home and foundation of F1, with Europe in particular, are of critical importance. And building in Europe has to be second to none. But the US and Asia markets are ones for us to develop.”
The growth in F1 video games has been key to drawing in fresh interest in the sport. Liberty is open to taking that a step further with augmented reality experiences and embracing new gaming technology.
Carey adds: “This sport is so suited to any of these new technologies, whether it’s the gaming or virtual reality arena – racing Lewis Hamilton for example. The technology around this sport is second to none, and the interest in the capabilities of these cars is incredible.”