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One of the most popular sports in the world is Formula One, but the racing league does not attract the same viewership numbers in the U.S. as it does in other markets.
That could be changing thanks to a docuseries on Netflix.
Netflix Series: Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) launched a documentaries series called “Formula One: Drive to Survive” in 2019 highlighting the popular world racing sports league, owned by Liberty Formula One Group (NASDAQ: FWONA)(NASDAQ: FWONK).
“Netflix’s ‘Formula One: Drive to Survive’ has used a unique combination of behind-the-scenes access and passionate storytelling to increase fan engagement,” Huddle Up Founder Joe Pompliano told Benzinga.
“Just like a successful F1 team, Netflix has nailed the release timing of their 'Drive to Survive' docuseries,” Roundhill’s Vice President Sean Poyntz told Benzinga.
Poyntz said the release right before the start of the next season will serve as an “appetizer” for viewers.
Increased Engagement: Netflix has over 200 million global subscribers. The company’s large base of U.S. subscribers may have had their first experience with Formula One through the docuseries.
“To the unconverted F1 fan, the series helps to tell each team’s story, making it more than just cars going around a track,” Poyntz said.
Poyntz said the increased engagement could lead to more appeal to sponsors from some of the smaller teams.
“Engagement across social media platforms is up 99% year-over-year. The season opener in Bahrain was the most-viewed U.S. race ever, and perhaps most importantly, over 75% of F1’s audience growth in 2020 came from the coveted 16-35 age demographic,” Pompliano said.
Viewership for the Bahrain Grand Prix first race of 2021 saw record viewership in the U.S. on ESPN2, owned by the Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS). Over 879,000 fans tuned in, marking the best audience for a Formula One race in the U.S. since 2019 and the highest on ESPN2 ever.
What’s Next: The partnership between Netflix and Formula One has increased brand awareness and viewership which could lead to additional revenue opportunities.
Streaming and television rights could be increased, according to Pompliano.
Pompliano, who is also a partner on the MVP ETF, said Oracle Corp (NYSE: ORCL) credited the “massive increase in excitement around Formula 1 in the United States” as a contributing factor when signing a sponsorship with the Red Bull team in 2021.
Formula One recently announced a 10-year deal to add Miami as its second U.S. city on the circuit beginning in 2022. Austin, Texas, is currently the only U.S. city to have a race on the annual circuit. The deal makes Miami the 11th U.S. location to have a Formula One race since 1950.
“With both Fort Lauderdale and Miami International airports servicing the area, the Miami Grand Prix should be the ideal opportunity for fans to experience a race weekend in person, hopefully converting them into diehard fans,” Poyntz said.
There are not any U.S. drivers in Formula One currently. The increased engagement and viewership in the U.S. could possibly be boosted even more with drivers from the U.S.
Financials: The pandemic impacted the revenue for Liberty Formula One Group with 17 events last year instead of the 21 in the previous year. Only three of the events featured fans in attendance, and those events had limited capacity.
The company reported full-year revenue of $1.15 billion compared to $2.02 billion in the prior year. Fourth quarter revenue of $485 million came in under the prior year’s $523 million.
The fourth quarter was helped by the timing of seven races being featured versus five the prior year due to the season being compacted in the second half of the year.
The company plans to have a record 23 events in 2021, which could help with a rebound in revenue.
Price Action: Shares of FWONK closed at $47.24 on Friday. Shares have traded between $25.23 and $48.49 over the last 52 weeks.
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia
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