and MotoGP have a large and international portfolio of sponsors. These are companies that have been accompanying the top two- and four-wheeler series around the world for years and are leveraging this incredible platform to create awareness and engagement around the globe. Visibility, televised and on-site, is one of the most important assets: tens of millions of viewers connect religiously from 5 continents to follow the races on the calendar, while hundreds of thousands of people flock to each circuit every weekend.
In order to be able to ensure that these partners consistently and accurately receive theexposure that was granted to him, Formula 1 and MotoGP have created a sophisticated and impressive media production system: a fascinating array of tools, technologies and procedures that ensures that the product enjoyed by users around the world is consistent, controlled and of the highest quality.
Sponsors and broadcasting
In the vast majority of cases, one of the main benefits that the Official sponsors of the world championship MotoGP or Formula 1 receive is the visibility on the circuits. Meters and meters of signage that are cleverly placed along the curves and straights of all the world’s tracks in favor of the camera and that cause the logos and brands of the sponsoring companies to receive massive television exposure. Brands such as DHL, Tissot, Red Bull, Aramco, Motul, Heineken, and many others receive hundreds of seconds of exposure each weekend thanks to placement along the runways: an average value that-were it to be purchased through traditional channels-would cost billions of dollars per season.
This seemingly simple exercise actually has two pragmatic complications that are equally easy to guess.
First, panels displaying thesponsors‘ logosshould follow the championships, traveling with them, and be set up from time to time on each circuit. Unlike a stadium, which is always in the same place and can put field-side signage in storage to display again at the next game, racetracks host MotoGP and Formula 1 only once a year. Panels, billboards, and media displaying the sponsor’s brand must therefore travel with the rest of the league, and be rearranged from time to time. It is a massive effort, but it ensures that on-track exposure is followed first-hand and is millimetrically managed from time to time.
The second crux of the matter is that-at the television level-you need to be sure that these sponsors and partners receive adequate, consistent, and congruous exposure. No sponsor would want to pay millions only to be forgotten by a director in love with a section of the track where that logo does not appear. To make sure that this does not happen, and to make sure that during each Grand Prix the product, display, and direction are always of the same workmanship, MotoGP and Formula 1 independently produce the audio/video signal that goes to the televisions, and deliver it finished to the broadcasters.
From track to living room: producing the top racing series
For a great many years MotoGP and Formula 1 have decided to take over the average production of their product. Originally, the broadcasting of each GP was entrusted to locally sourced crews, directors and materials, with enormous disparity in the production and broadcasting of races. Different cameras, different layouts, different personnel, and different signal transmission technologies made watching the South African Grand Prix an incredibly different experience from watching the race in Munich, by Great Britain or of the Japan. Not only that, sponsors and partners complained about unequal visibility and uneven brand exposure.
Thus, the idea of centralizing the production of championships stems from different needs that, however, travel in an equal direction: to provide the public, stakeholders, sponsors and partners with a homogeneous product that can present similar characteristics and guarantee certain standards regardless of where the competitions are held.
Today, on the sidelines of the MotoGP and Formula 1 paddocks is a futuristic TV compound, the technological beating heart that creates the broadcast that viewers around the world see distributed by broadcasters such as Sky, DAZN, BT, Servus, and many, many others. Along the circuit the same cameras with the same cameramen film the exploits of the riders on each stage of the World Championship, while the same directors, sound technicians and graphic designers cut, stitch and edit image by image, graphic by graphic. The effort, logistical and resource intensive, is immense, and the technologies in the field are no less astounding than those underlying the cars and motorcycles in the race.
Serialization as a fundamental tool of sports marketing
Serializing production-and here we mean this in a broad sense, both of on-field production of the event, television broadcasts and overall management-is a key point for leagues and series of this size and economic and fanbase scope.
First and foremost, serialization, i.e., the systematic replication of protocols, actions, and tools, allows for a very high level of control. Setting up all circuits first-hand ensures, for example, that all sponsors and partners receive the track exposure they are contractually entitled to. Instead, making oneself autonomous over TV production means ensuring that each sponsor receives the screen time they are due, or being able to grant more space to regional or one-off sponsorships.
Second to serialization is critical in building brand equity and in building audience and fan loyalty. We are familiar with the effectiveness of repetition and reiteration in marketing logic and how important it is to build a solid, robust and consistent brand over time. All characteristics, these, are fundamental to brands such as MotoGP and Formula 1.
The top two- and four-wheel championships today are a majestic organizational, economic and logistical effort. It is not wrong to say that the exploits of cars and motorcycles on the track are but the tip of an immense iceberg that is always moving under the surface of the water, often ignored by fans and viewers. Moving these championships, distributing them televised, and staging them in ever-changing locations and climates requires thousands of extremely skilled operators, state-of-the-art technology, and copious amounts of money.
Taking over the management of the entire league, serializing its production in every aspect, is the solution to marketing and communication problems that are increasingly central to today’s logics. On the one hand, major international sponsors demand a guaranteed, smooth product in which visibility is certain and mathematically served and measured. On the other, the very large fan bases around the world want to be able to follow the exploits of their favorites as in a television series, with the same photography, the same direction, the same picture quality.
Seeing this extraordinary organizational machine in action is an unparalleled thrill, even for non-fans. Being part of it, as a sponsor, represents certainty of quality and results.