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F1's Stellar Growth Liberty Media's 2024 Review

F1’s Stellar Growth: Liberty Media’s 2024 Review

09/05/2024

Liberty Media highlights F1’s audience and sponsorship surge in their 2024 early year performance review.

Liberty Media has released its first quarter 2024 results (available here), and its CEO held a standard press conference for the announcement.

Greg Maffei praised the group’s acquisition of MotoGP, as well as the state of F1, highlighting how successful the start of the season has been.

F1's Stellar Growth Liberty Media's 2024 Review

“We were thrilled to announce the acquisition of MotoGP in April. I want to reiterate the attractive qualities of this asset, an international-level sport with incredible racing. The sport is fantastic, and Liberty has the necessary experience to help it gain more exposure worldwide,” Maffei stated before turning to F1.

“For the first quarter, we had successful races across several key growth markets. We returned to China for the first time since 2019 and for the first time with a Chinese driver. It was a sold-out race, and live viewership and CCTV increased by 50% compared to 2019.”

“Miami was an exciting and highly competitive race. I want to congratulate Lando for winning his first GP after 15 podiums. The improvements at McLaren are working well, and we anticipate more competitive races in the future. We continue to see growth in engagement in the United States.”

“Miami was sold out with a record attendance of 275,000 spectators. F1 recorded its highest live TV audience in the United States, with 3.1 million viewers, peaking at 3.6 million. We also recorded our highest audience for a Sprint race since the format was introduced in 2021.”

Promises of a Bright Future

Stefano Domenicali, CEO of F1, also celebrated a more lively start to the season compared to 2023 and emphasized the significance of the Chinese Grand Prix and its return to the calendar. He is also optimistic about the future of the sport, with a busy schedule and promising sporting prospects.

“The 2024 season kicked off with a bang, featuring plenty of track action and increasingly tight gaps between teams on the grid,” notes Domenicali. “While Red Bull and Max Verstappen continue to demonstrate their strength, we’ve seen consistent performances from Ferrari, including a one-two finish in Melbourne.”

“This showcases their ongoing improvement, as well as increasingly strong performances from McLaren, including a spectacular first race win for Lando Norris in Miami before a sold-out crowd.”

“The midfield battle is the tightest it has been in many years, and we hope it will continue throughout the season. We have 24 races this year, including six sprints, and we are thrilled to have the F1 Academy with us at seven F1 events.”

“The return to China was incredible, and we were delighted to witness an event that was a sell-out, with over 200,000 people attending over the weekend. The enthusiasm generated by these events shows that the number of young fans is growing in the country, and our Chinese fans were excited to cheer on their hero, Zhou Guanyu.”

“Over 1.5 million viewers watched the race live on CCTV-5, far exceeding the one million from our last visit in 2019. China also hosted our first Sprint of the season, won by Max Verstappen and Red Bull, with Lewis Hamilton taking second place.”

“The Sprint continues to deliver great action for our fans, broadcasters, sponsors, and promoters. There have been many driver updates early this year. We have the exciting announcement that Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari in 2025. Fernando Alonso has committed to staying with Aston Martin.”

“Hülkenberg will move to Sauber in 2025, and we are yet to see where Carlos Sainz will be next year. This continues to create great excitement and anticipation for our fans, with 10 drivers having confirmed their spots for next year.”

Audiences Offering Commercial Power

Similar to China, Domenicali announced that attendance has been up at all races at the start of the season, with an all-time record crowd at Melbourne, totaling 452,000 people over the Australian weekend. Suzuka also set its record with 229,000 attendees.

Formula 1 is also performing well in TV viewership, with 70 million viewers for the opening race in Bahrain. F1 also boasts a 24% increase in social media engagement compared to 2023, with a total of 79 million followers, enhancing its commercial power with partners and broadcasters.

“From a commercial standpoint, we had a very good first quarter. We’ve seen growth across all revenue streams, benefiting from an additional race compared to last year, as well as growth from new sponsorship agreements and media rights. We continue to see our business and our partners benefit from overall growth.”

“In terms of our sponsorship pipeline, I would say the situation is very positive, as I think a few years ago we only had four global sponsors. Today, we have ten, we have many regional partnerships, and the pipeline is very strong.”

“And I would say, as you know, we don’t give forecasts, but the situation is very solid. Today, it’s not just about the quantity of sponsors, it’s also about the quality.”

“We must ensure that everyone investing in F1 is getting the right quality in terms of exposure, in terms of experience, in terms of what we can offer. So, I would say this is a very, very positive trend that we will see with our partners who believe in F1.”

“In terms of TV and media rights, we continue to see strong demand and impressive efforts from all our broadcasters to bring our sport to millions of fans worldwide.”

“We recently announced a five-year renewal with Viaplay in the Netherlands and the Nordic markets. The agreement maintains our partnership structure in the region, creating a strong position for our F1 TV Pro product, which will continue to generate substantial additional revenues.”

An Intense but Thoughtfully Considered Schedule

Lastly, the Italian is pleased to see a full schedule in 2025, again with 24 races, and contracts validated early in the year. There will be six Sprints next year again, and F1 will continue to optimize logistics, notably to reduce the environmental footprint of the championship.

“Regarding race promotion, we announced our 2025 calendar in April, for what will be the 75th anniversary of Formula 1. We plan to announce the details of the 6 Sprint race venues for 2025 in due course.”

“The calendar includes 24 races starting in Australia on March 16 and ending in Abu Dhabi on December 7. There will be only one Saturday night race in Las Vegas, and the Sunday races in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will be restored.”

“Announcing the calendar earlier than ever allows us to focus on optimizing the schedule for the coming years and planning logistics more efficiently for 2025.”

“This also allows our promoters to be more sustainable partners by giving them greater certainty in planning their races and other events for the next year.”

“The interest and demand for our races worldwide remain huge, and we strive to maintain the right strategic balance between venues and opportunities, while remaining transparent. We currently believe that a 24-race calendar is the optimal number of events.”

“Moving on to initiatives in sustainability, diversity, and inclusion. In April, we were pleased to publish our first F1 impact report, which provides an overview of all the work done in our drive to achieve the net-zero emissions goal by 2030.”

“We have reduced our emissions by 13% by increasing our remote operations, using renewable energies in factories, offices, and events, and by reducing freight volume. We have a solid plan of actions to achieve the remaining 37% reduction by 2030.”

F1's Stellar Growth Liberty Media's 2024 Review

F1’s Stellar Growth: Liberty Media’s 2024 Review. f1 2024 F1’s Stellar Growth: Liberty Media’s 2024 Review. F1’s Stellar Growth: Liberty Media’s 2024 Review

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