The rise of Formula 1 through global social media marketing

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The fastest motor racing sport in the world, Formula 1 is a world championship of 21 Grand Prix across 21 different countries. It features some of the best drivers in the world, racing for teams with a rich heritage in motor racing like Ferrari. Although synonymous with glamour, big name sponsors and manufacturers, the sport is highly regulated in terms of car technology and TV broadcasting rights. Under the ownership of Bernie Eccelestone, the reach of what goes on behind the scenes of racing was highly restricted. Fans and followers were limited to watching live broadcasts of the race weekends on TV and following news through international publications. With the advent of social media, access to behind the scenes content was still highly regulated, limiting the growth in audience across the globe. However, this changed when Liberty Media took over Formula 1 in 2017. Championing social media as the primary tool to grow its audience numbers, the company allowed teams, drivers and partner TV broadcasters to release behind the scenes content over all social media hubs like YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. Fans and followers had access to more than just watching the race weekends, they could now follow the glamorous lifestyle associated with the sport, gaining more interest.

With more curated content related to behind the scenes, press conferences, podcasts and special events, Formula 1 started gaining a lot of traction across social media platforms. According to a recent Autosport article, Formula 1 has seen a 53% YoY growth across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, with a strong fan following of 18.5 million people across the globe. The top performing markets for Formula I in 2018 were Brazil, China and United States, with India and Europe close behind. Through this extended access and curated content over social media platforms, Formula 1’s fanbase had an average age of 40 that was inline with most major sports and leagues like NFL, EPL, NBA and so on.

Liberty Media took the right steps and used the right platform to make Formula 1 the fastest growing sport on social media. With the recent launch of Formula 1’s digital subscription offering called F1 TV, the sport has seen a further growth in audience and fan following, taking the overall numbers to 506 million across the world. With new initiatives lined up for the 2019 season, Liberty Media is looking to take Formula 1 to the top spot and further build on the growth it saw in 2018.

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