Liberty Media figures reveal fan engagement boost, hopefully

Just perusing the Q2 figures released by the owner of the Formula One Group, admittedly not quite as expertly as my esteemed colleague Formula Money’s Christian Sylt, who is a noted expert in this area.

I notice Chase Carey, Formula One Group’s Chairman and CEO says: “We are in the process of developing our three to five year strategic plan while focusing on key priorities like improving and building fan engagement that will positively impact the business and build the foundation for long-term results.”

If you remember Carey, the former Vice-Chairman of 21st Century Fox, replaced Bernie Ecclestone after nearly 40 years at the helm of F1.

So, does this mean it’s trying to make the sport more exciting for the fans? Let’s hope so.

Anyway…

Here’s the rest of Carey’s chat at the press conference. I’ve omitted most of the financials (read Christian’s stories about those; they’re quite revealing):

“We just passed the halfway point in the 2017 season as well as the six-month anniversary of the change in ownership at Formula One. And while it’s still early days, it’s been a good start on both fronts. Attendance at our races and television viewer numbers are both up solidly season-to-date.

“Our engagement on digital platform season-to-date is up even more dramatically, particularly on video usage. Most of our senior executive team will be in place when we return from the August break. And we moved into new offices two weeks ago that will dramatically improve our effectiveness and efficiency.

“For the first time, we’ll have an organisation capable of properly managing and growing the sport. Most importantly, Formula One has a fresh energy and excitement among our fans and partners that is providing critical momentum. Our initial market research, as well as great events like our Formula One Live celebration in Central London last month, illustrated our fan’s great passion for the sport and the untapped potential of Formula One.

“We’re in the process of building a strategic plan, another first for Formula One, that will outline our vision and goals over the next three to five years. At the same time, our new operating groups have begun to move forward on key priorities that will be the building blocks for that plan.

Sponsorship

“In the sponsorship area, we’re actively engaged with potential new sponsors in a number of previously untapped categories as well as building stronger relationships with existing ones. We’re developing capabilities to provide more uniquely tailored offers that better match sponsors’ objectives and provide us both more inventory and premium values. On the promoter front, we’re working with existing promoters on key renewals and ways to enhance the appeal and value of our events.

Fans

“We’re expanding the consumer experience at the track in terms of entertainment, exhibitions and food as well as building new offerings in areas like merchandising. Quite simply, we’re making a lot more fun, interesting and open for fans. At the same time, we’re actively exploring some exciting new locations for future races.

“One area of particular focus related to our events is hospitality. It is increasingly important that we maximise the entire range of consumer experiences that enable us to fully exploit the potential of our most valuable customers. We’re also building stronger relationships with our local promoters and other partners to properly market and sell these experiences.

“In the television area, both traditional and digital, we’re balancing our goals for reach, economic value and growth potential for critical new areas like over-the-top. Our unique premium product positions us well for this expanding arena. We’re in the process of selecting the partners that will help us build our digital platforms and create new exciting content for fans.

“On the motorsport front, we’re addressing key issues like the next-generation engine, cost controls, aerodynamics, track design and other initiatives, all of which are designed to improve competitiveness and action on the track for fans and to strengthen the business for Formula One and its partners.

“This is just some of the activity at Formula One today, and we have many more initiatives like broader engagement with host cities, opportunities in the gaming area and developing Formula One in the US and China. Overall, our priority in the short term is to, first and foremost, improve and build our engagement with fans. Our sport is loved by our fans worldwide, and we have the opportunity to grow that base.

However, in recent years, this work is not delivering on its promise and potential. We now have the team in place to do so and look forward to turning a newly engaged fan base into an exciting business for all of us.”

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