Formula One hires former World Rugby CCO, Murray Barnett, to lead the sport's commercial evolution

F1's commercial model has come to be seen as antiquated in recent years.

Formula One has appointed former World Rugby chief commercial officer, Murray Barnett, to head up its international sponsorship operations as new owner Liberty Media continues to strengthen the sport’s commercial evolution.

Barnett is expected to take up his new position on 25 April and will report to Formula One’s managing director of commercial operations, Sean Bratches.

In his new role, Barnett will be tasked with leading the sport’s global sponsor sales division, targeting new commercial opportunities across all platforms.

He brings with him more than 20 years’ experience in media, marketing and sponsorship having held the role of chief commercial officer at World Rugby where he was responsible for the commercial oversight for the governing body’s tournaments including Rugby World Cup and Rugby Sevens World Series.

With Liberty Media keen to strengthen the broadcast revenue of the sport, Barnett’s experience in working in global marketing, sales and programming will prove valuable to the new owners.

In addition to holding an International Television Coordinator position at NBA Europe, where he managed marketing and commercial agreements with NBA’s broadcast partners in the region, Barnett was also part of the launch team for ESPN UK.

During his 11 years at the US broadcaster, he rose to become vice president of media distribution, responsible for managing carriage agreements in the UK and across EMEA.

Joining Barnett will be former Eurosport and BT Sport head of research, Matthew Roberts, who has been appointed as the new global head of research.

Roberts will head up Formula One’s commercial research division, looking in-depth at existing markets where the sport has a presence and identifying new marketing and sales opportunities.

He will examine how Formula One can improve its presence across digital, broadcast and commercial areas, identifying potential growth areas that will help Liberty Media’s efforts to broaden the sport’s appeal.

“The appointment of Murray and Matthew to lead Formula One’s commercial partnership and research divisions respectively marks an important next step in the evolution of the sport,” said Bratches.

“There is enormous interest among global brands to align themselves with Formula One and Murray is well suited to lead this division, supporting our incumbent partners and broadening the number of sponsors.

“Likewise, we are pivoting to a research driven platform that will inform decisions across the company and there is no one better to lead us in that endeavour than Matt.”

Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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