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Top 5 Stories Of 2021: Motorsport


For the fifth part of the 2021 in review series, Ministry of Sport counts down the five most influential motorsport stories we covered this year.

5 – Tech and Crypto in Motorsport

Motorsport edged further into the tech space for 2021, starting off with Repco Supercars Championship having announced a global partnership with YouTube ahead of the start of the 2021 Championship.

Shortly after, Supercars and Greenroom Digital announced a new partnership in a bid to grow the Supercars fanbase through digital sports marketing business.

NASCAR also moved into the tech space, having announced a new partnership with Grabyo seeing the motorsport competition leverage Grabyo’s video production and cloud software to produce new digital video content.

2021 was a big year for cryptocurrencies, with NASCAR driver, Landon Cassill, signing a new partnership deal with cryptocurrency trading platform, Voyager Digital, making Cassill the first driver to be paid fully in cryptocurrency.

Ministry of Sport covered Wall Racing’s announcement of a historic partnership with Monochrome Asset Management, the firm behind Australia’s leading Bitcoin Fund.

We also spoke to Monochrome CEO, Jeff Yew in an exclusive interview.

4 – F1 Revenue Comeback

The revenue increase followed a release of the F1 2020 annual financial report, which found the racing giants took a USD$386 million loss in 2020, a 44% revenue shrink.

Revenue from the season dropped from USD$2.02 billion to USD$1.14 billion in 2020, quickly negating F1’s USD$17 million profit during 2019.

Series owner of Liberty Media, Greg Maffei, said there are no concerns about the loss, which was expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The F1 balance sheet is very, very strong,” Maffei said.

“I think the operating levels that we have in our agreements are fine, so I’m not really worried about the balance sheet.

Although in 2021, F1 proved to be a lucrative business, with Ministry of Sport reporting on F1’s financial records for the second quarter of 2021, totalling revenue of USD$500 million (AUD$681 million).

Compared to the same time period in 2020, the global motorsport competition has recorded a 1988% rise in revenue, recording USD$24 million (AUD$32.7 million) in 2020.

Ultimately, Formula One left Q3 2021 in a profit, highlighting a 12% year-on-year (YoY) increase of revenue to US$668 million (AUD$902 million), resulting in a US$68 million (AUD$91 million) profit.

3 – Motorsports Broadcast Growth

The first broadcast partnership of the 2021 season we reported on was on Extreme E, an electric off-road racing series, which partnered with Sky Sports.

Next up, the Australian Racing Group (ARG) and Shannons Motorsport Australia Championship (SMAC) events were won by international livestream broadcaster Motorsport.tv.

Moving onto the F1, in February it was announced that the average audience per Grand Prix was 87.4 million, which is a slight rise from a seven-year average of 85 million.

The F1 managed to keep the good news going throughout the year, with Nielson Sport reporting in March that one billion people will claim an interest in Formula One (F1) by April 2022.

The MotoGP also had its fair share of coverage from Ministry of Sport, with the team reporting on a 35% broadcast viewership increase with Foxtel.

Foxtel reacted to the news, inking a multi-year rights extension for the MotoGP and Superbike World Championship which takes effect from 2022.

In the Supercars world, after signing a new broadcast partnership with Seven West Media in 2020, the free-to-air broadcast rights deal was renegotiated.

It was reported the contract was adjusted to remove a requirement for Seven to generate a minimum amount of money through sponsorship and advertising due to Foxtel’s Kayo Sports including popular races for free on Kayo Freebies.

2 – The Ups and Downs of Sponsorships

Red Bull kicked off the 2021 year by becoming the title sponsor for the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in 2021.

Shortly after, the new Bathurst International at Mount Panorama confirmed Supercheap Auto as a naming rights partner.

However, a controversy was drawn to the motorsport world when Formula One (F1) team Mercedes-AMG partnered with Ireland based insulation firm Kingspan, currently involved in an ongoing public inquiry investigating its links to Britain’s 2017 Grenfell Tower fire that caused 72 deaths.

About a week later in early December, Ministry of Sport covered the ending of the partnership.

To wrap up the year, we covered the sponsorship costs of F1 assets, and the pressure on sustainability that figures like Lewis Hamilton are putting on the organisation.

1 – Supercars Sales and CEO Leaves

Following months of rumors and reports Australia’s major motorsports competition, Supercars, would be sold, in October, Archer Capital confirmed its sale of its majority stake to a consortium called Racing Australia Consolidated Enterprises Ltd (RACE).

The sale was then followed by Supercars CEO, Sean Seamer, leaving the organisation in December after four years in the role.

On his departure, Seamer said: “It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to you today to announce that 2021 will be my last full season as the CEO of Supercars.”

“When I took on this role four years ago, I was blown away by the passion that exists in this sport; from my team here at Supercars, to the race teams, fans and sponsors.

“It is this passion that has seen the sport not only survive the last two years, but thrive,” he said.

To view all other parts of the Ministry of Sport top five of 2021 series, click here, otherwise, keep an eye out on our socials channels and website for the next release in the series.

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