“F1 was the fastest-growing sport brand on social media platforms in 2017” Formula One Management announced today.
It’s a move in the right direction for a sport which once shunned the opportunities presented by the Internet. That had begun to change before Liberty Media took the reins late in 2016, but last year F1’s new owners took its social media campaigns to a higher level.
Video content was a key part of F1’s offering. Previously this was kept exclusively for the use of F1 broadcasters and little to no footage from race weekends or tests made it onto F1’s official social media accounts.
Now video highlights are available soon after sessions finish and archive material has also begun to appear as F1 realises the opportunity offered to expand its following on social media.
The result has been a rapid rise in interest from fans. The data released by FOM today showed F1’s combined audience across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram grew faster than several other notable sports and sportswear brands:
However F1 has made these gains from a lower starting point than the sports and other brands it benchmarked itself against. To get the full picture we need to consider what the total following of each of these brands is.
F1 Fanatic has gathered that data, which can be seen here:
Other popular sports exploited the potential of social media earlier and reaped the benefits more quickly. Some have even used social platforms to broadcast live events.
The Champions League boasts over 63 million followers on Facebook alone and has broadcast matches on the platform. F1 has used Facebook Live to broadcast fan events from grand prix weekends but has not yet used the platform to show live races.
Two other relevant championships were not included in the data issued by Formula One. The soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games are useful points for comparison to F1 as they are also international events, though they only take place every four years.
The progress other sports have made while F1 ignored social media illustrates what commercial head Sean Bratches’ remarks that the digital side of the business was “almost non-existent” when Liberty Media took over the running of the sport from Bernie Ecclestone. F1 has clearly made excellent progress since then but it still has a long way to go.
2017 F1 season
- Stripping Verstappen of 2017 US podium was “one of the toughest decisions” – steward
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- New kerbs at COTA in response to Verstappen’s corner-cutting
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year