First, we saw the Netflix series – Drive to Survive. Which has been a massive success on Netflix, the show brought on a bunch of new viewers to the sport of race – by taking the viewers behind the scenes of the sport. Drivers are no longer nameless faces behind helmets, team principals have emerged from deep within the team’s pit garage to be recognisable stars and the sport itself has propelled into the public consciousness.
The impact on the sport itself has been far-reaching. Formula 1 is no longer a sport for the diehard fan, around 108.7m viewers tuned into the 2021 Abu Dhabi finale and the ‘Drive to Survive’ influence on that cannot be understated.
In the USA, traditionally not a strong F1 market – estimations peg that there are now nearly 80% more F1 fans than there were 4 years ago. This has resulted in other sports following suit. There is Breakpoint (about tennis) and Full Swing (about golf) all hoping to follow an extremely specific model that ‘Drive to Survive’ created.
The UFC has a show called
Embedded where they follow fighters in the week leading up to the fight tracking their meals, training, family and press commitments, and giving fight fans a sneak peek of the behind-the-scenes. These episodes attract millions of viewers on YouTube and make for great entertainment and content. The end game of course is to have more viewers tune in on the main event on the weekend.
Also fascinating, is how sponsors that might not be able to get access to the main event due to costs, now find ways to integrate themselves into this content. As advertisers, we love to see successful brand extensions and we also love to see audiences taken on a journey.
Long may this last!