In Sponsorizzazioni Sportive, Sport Sponsorship, Sports Marketing

The numbers, calendars and audience

Formula 1 and
represent the best of motorsport on two and four wheels. With 24 and 21 race weekends respectively, the two championships are a traveling promotional platform that over the course of 10 months touch some of the world’s most important markets.

For F1 a massive Cumulative worldwide audience of about 70 Million viewers per race e 6 million tickets sold on the circuits in 2023 while for MotoGP a 20 percent growth from the previous year for TV audience accompanied by about 3 million fans at the circuits, numbers that place these two categories at the pinnacle of sports properties.

There are no other leagues comparable in geographical impact and frequency of events. Only the Olympics and World Cup enjoy the same prestige but the frequency is four years while the Champions League is played exclusively on European soil.

What are the main differences between the two leagues? The show

The two championships are profoundly different, offering shows at the antipodes in terms of the nature of the vehicles, the length of the races, and the simplicity (or complication in the case of F1) of the racing. I 45 minutes duration of MotoGP is ideal for keeping the audience’s attention high, in addition, the number and quality of overtakes ensure high tension at each event, The introduction of the sprint race on Saturday further enhanced these features by making MotoGP, if possible, even more engaging by producing content-rich weekends making the most of a potentially less interesting day.

Formula 1 is more complicated, tire-related strategies are difficult for the less experienced public to understand, and in addition to running the risk of damaging even Pirelli, which is continually named in connection with tire degradation (it would be interesting on the point to ask a neuromarketing expert if the message that passes does not settle negatively in fans’ memories). It is true the number of overtakes is high, but the overtaking appreciated by the fans is wheel-to-wheel, on braking, rather than the one favored by DRS in the middle of the straight. The length of the race, the bulk of the cars and the presence of some particularly winding city circuits do not always guarantee an exciting show.

Formula1 Vs MotoGP. A Team Oriented versus a Star Oriented championship. In search of the formula for success., RTR Sports

Car Vs Motorcycle

The Number of interested in the two championships goes hand in hand with the interested in the two fields and the spread of two- and four-wheeled vehicles.

The championships reflect, in popularity, the size of their respective industries: the auto industry was worth in 2021, $2.86 trillion and continues to slowly grow while the two-wheeler industry in 2024 is expected to hit $145.5 billion. Two-wheelers and four-wheelers are more or less popular based on their adoption in the target geographic area. India and Southeast Asia are currently the areas of greatest expansion and popularity for MotoGP thanks in part to an impressive number of motorcycles sold. Motorcycles are the primary means of locomotion in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and India, and it is there that interest is very strong.

F1, on the other hand, has a greater following in general and even more so in more solid and mature markets thus Europe, the two Americas, the UAE, Australia, China, and Japan, which are the stronghold of this discipline. Africa, which has previously hosted F1 at the historic Kyalami circuit, is expected to make a comeback.

Who has a more effective strategy that mitigates the ups and downs of any sports product?

Formula 1 and the Teams that participate in it, regardless of being a direct emanation of a car manufacturer, have in my opinion a better communication strategy that shields them from sudden drops in viewership. Formula 1 teams have always pushed the communication of their brand and eventual partner while MotoGP has too often relied on the rider and his charisma. This is probably also a result of the increased visibility of the two-wheeler rider who is fully exposed and therefore more central to all communication even during the race.

Reality, however, dictates that drivers go while teams stay, and this star-focused communication is bound to create ups and downs that are difficult to counter. So when Schumacher leaves Ferrari, Vettel the Aston Martin o Hamilton The Mercedes, the teams remain the same in fans’ perceptions and the league has no downturn. Conversely, when a MotoGP champion retires or changes jerseys, the perceived value of the team or the entire movement is immediately affected, just think of Valentino’s retirement and the immediate drop in interest found. It should be added then that it is impossible to plan for the discovery of a talent who not only has the speed on the track but also the charisma and stature of a Valentino Rossi.

MotoGP, and even more so the teams should push harder on their identity and put their own business first to mitigate the risk that a rider’s retirement rather than the end of his or her sporting career will create shocks to the whole structure.


Differences in the sponsorship market between the two leagues

In F1 it is also difficult to enter with entry levels that are 5 to 10 times higher than in MotoGP. In MotoGP, some liveries, even of titled manufacturers, are a jumble of stickers and sponsors of all sizes and shapes, The two-wheeled championship is mostly sold in southern European countries or to sponsors interested in these areas. India, Thailand, Indonesia are areas that are being moved into and seem to be highly promising for the league. The dream remains that of conquering the U.S. market, which could lead to an increase in popularity and a major rise in revenue.

Last year’s appointment of Dan Rossomondo, coming from the NBA where he had held the position of Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships and Media, as Dorna’s chief revenue officer shows that this is the way forward. The debut of an American team in 2024 gives us extra hope that this goal can be achieved in the future.

The F1 Championship has succeeded commercially everywhere, facilitated by the greater popularity of 4-wheelers and some shrewd communication moves that have opened doors in the U.S. in recent years (Drive to Survive and greater use of social networks above all)

The coming years…Aerodynamics in MotoGP and Tire Changes in Formula 1, are we really sure we need them?

No, in my opinion no, you have to simplify for different reasons. F1 is too complicated to read: people who go to the track and cannot take advantage of live commentary do not understand what is going on.

In MotoGP having missiles does not increase the spectacle … of the two the very high speeds only increase the dangers

What are some things that need to be done to improve the show and revitalize the championships? An unsolicited recipe but one that I feel like giving.

As for the F1 few changes, no more tire changes (we want them round, black and to last like normal users do when they go to change the ones in their car), steel brakes to lengthen braking distances, even a very small difference between drivers would be amplified and would bring back overtaking on the brakes and not mid-straight.

MotoGP – A spectator cannot realize and does not base his passion on top speed, but on duels and overtaking. Anything that diminishes the overtaking ability and agility of the bike by distorting its essence should be eliminated and return to less extreme solutions. Right to decrease displacement to lower speeds, if this continues, facilities will become inadequate and with insufficient escape routes to ensure safety.

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Riccardo Tafà
Riccardo Tafà
Managing Director for RTR Sports, Riccardo graduated in law at the University of Bologna. He began his career in London in PR, then started working in two and four-wheelers. A brief move to Monaco followed before returning to Italy. There he founded RTR, first a consulting firm and then a sports marketing company which, eventually, he moved back to London.
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Formula1 Vs MotoGP. A Team Oriented versus a Star Oriented championship. In search of the formula for success., RTR Sports