Formula One (F1) has teamed with sports marketing agency Lagardere Sports in a bid to raise the profile of motor racing in China.
Lagardere Sports will be tasked with building strategic partnerships in China including event promotion, media rights, digital and brand partnerships, merchandising, talent development and racing team development.
The move is part of a strategy to broaden the appeal of motor racing in key growth markets, such as China, by leveraging the global popularity of Formula One as a premium entertainment event.
It also aims to capitalise on China’s live sports and entertainment market, which is currently experiencing strong growth.
It follows last year’s $8bn takeover by Liberty Media, which aims to evolve the sport’s commercial model and create a more engaging offering for brands and consumers. Formula One has made a series of appointments including the new head of international sponsorship operations Murray Barnett and new global head of digital Frank Arthofer.
Sean Bratches, managing director, commercial operations at Formula 1, said the sport has established a loyal following across the Asia-Pacific region.
“We have a proud and longstanding relationship with motorsport in Asia, working with some great motor race circuit owners and successful race promoters from Singapore to Suzuka in Japan through to Malaysia and Shanghai in China.
“Across the region, Formula 1 fans have proven themselves to be some of the sport’s most passionate supporters with over 8.8 million* people attending race weekends since 2004. We are keen to build on this, developing our brand through unique live entertainment experiences designed to get fans closer to the action,” said Bratches.
Andrew Georgiou, CEO, Lagardère Sports and Entertainment, said: “Sports fans in the country, as well as media platforms and sponsors alike, are craving premium, local and live sports and entertainment, supported by quality digital content and meaningful fan engagement."
“Through this new partnership together we will work with Formula 1 to develop premium local content for the Chinese market, in a way that the sport deeply engages with local fans and becomes part of the Chinese sporting culture and fabric,” said Georgiou.