HONG KONG, Dec 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Liberty Media (FWONA.O) will discover new methods to shift Components One up a gear. If extra feminine followers tune in, they are going to assist Chief Government Stefano Domenicali gasoline income at his motor-racing division. Overlook Lewis Hamilton. In 2023, he’ll discover himself chasing a Louise Hamilton.
The $29 billion media goliath purchased Components One Group, which holds industrial rights to the F1 championship, for a racy $8 billion in 2017. Whereas gross sales for 2021 hit $2.1 billion, simply 5.6% above pre-pandemic ranges, working revenue was modest at $40 million, and earnings fell 6% year-on-year within the quarter ending September 2022.
Domenicali can take two roads to hurry development. Scheduling extra races would enhance gross sales from sponsorship, tickets and broadcasts. However F1’s race calendar for 2023 is saturated.
Luring extra spectators to stands and screens, particularly feminine ones, is a greater method. Netflix’s (NFLX.O) “Drive to Survive”, a docuseries monitoring F1 groups, topped the streaming firm’s viewing rankings in 33 international locations when it was launched firstly of the 2022 season, in keeping with Components One. The corporate says it has been “very important” for reaching new followers, together with girls. Round 40% of F1 followers are actually feminine, up 8% from 2017, and extra girls are attending races too, Domenicali stated in November.
One approach to speed up the development may very well be that includes feminine drivers. Audiences for girls’s sports activities are “going nowhere however up” in keeping with media consultancy Nielsen. Sponsorship for top-level feminine soccer and rugby rose 146% in 2021 from a yr in the past, says Nielsen. But, F1 hasn’t welcomed a woman to the grid since Maria Grazia “Lella” Lombardi, who raced within the Seventies. The all-women “F1 Academy”, beginning in 2023, is a mere feeder for lower-level races. Domenicali predicts girls gained’t drive F1 within the subsequent 5 years.
Nevertheless, there’s a contender. Britain’s Jamie Chadwick, 24, gained each version of the W Sequence, an unbiased girls’s championship that grew to become a supporting occasion for F1. She additionally boasts a fanbase of over half one million social media followers – greater than the W Sequence itself. Sadly for Components One, when monetary pressures ended W Sequence 2022 early, she absconded to Andretti Autosport’s staff for the U.S. IndyCar NXT races.
Even so, Chadwick nonetheless goals of racing a Grand Prix. Given the monetary advantages, discovering methods to draw extra girls on and off the observe will preserve Domenicali busy in 2023.
Comply with @KatrinaHamlin on Twitter
(It is a Breakingviews prediction for 2023. To see extra of our predictions, click on right here.)
Components 1, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media’s Components One Group, stated on Nov. 18 it is going to launch in 2023 the F1 Academy to assist put together younger feminine drivers for increased ranges of competitors, together with the all-female W Sequence, in addition to the traditional F3, F2 and F1 collection. Components 1 pays 150,000 euros to subsidise the price of every driver’s automobile.
Components One Group’s working revenue fell by 6% to $64 million within the quarter ending September 2022, in contrast with a yr earlier, in keeping with outcomes launched on Nov. 4. Income grew 7% to $715 million in the identical interval, up from $668 million a yr earlier.
Netflix “Drive to Survive” docuseries monitoring F1 drivers and groups was Netflix most-watched present in 33 international locations when it debuted its fourth collection in March, shortly earlier than the beginning of the 2022 F1 season, in keeping with Components One filings launched in April.
Liberty Media purchased Components One Group in 2017 for $8 billion together with debt.
Modifying by Lisa Jucca, Pranav Kiran and Streisand Neto
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.
Opinions expressed are these of the writer. They don’t replicate the views of Reuters Information, which, below the Belief Rules, is dedicated to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.