Category Archives: Formula 1

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A Fan-Designed Formula 1 App Hopes to Engage More People With the Sport

A new Formula 1 app that will integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and plans to help people get instant answers about the sport, is now in development thanks to an idea by James Gough. The lifelong F1 fan’s concept was announced as the winner of this year’s F1 Innovation Prize at last week’s United States Grand Prix in Austin.
The competition, which was a joint initiative by Tata Communications, F1 and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, asked for ideas for how Formula 1 could customize experiences and better engage fans. “We want to break down the barriers of language and technical know-how so that more people around the world are able to immerse themselves in the greatest sporting spectacle on earth,” said Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsports, in an announcement. “That’s exactly what James’ winning idea seeks to do too in a truly innovative way. I look forward to seeing his concept come to life in our Media & Technology Centre.”
Gough’s idea plans provide on-demand insights about any aspect of Formula 1, including drivers, teams, fans, and races, and to use artificial intelligence to learn and adapt to each fan’s preferences. As well as seeing his concept turned into a real app, Gough also won a $50,000 prize.
“Through my app, I want other fans to get a glimpse of being on the inside of the sport they love,” Gough said in the announcement. “I hope that my idea will help give fans access to all the data they want, and that they’re able to use the data to not only see what’s happening but to understand why it happened. It should lead to more people getting involved in the sport.”
SportTechie Takeaway
Formula 1 joins a growing list of sports organizations that creating smart assistant to try to better engage with fans. In May, MiLB and Satisfi Labs launched bilingual AI assistants to answer fan questions on game days for a handful of teams, and in August CBS Sports integrated Google Assistant with fantasy football advice. Google Assistant has even featured in the broadcast booth during the MLB playoffs.

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F1 Struggled to Find Formula for Digital Success in 2017

Formula 1 made just $10 million in digital revenue last year. The tiny output, just 0.6 percent of its total annual revenue, comes despite several initiatives by the league’s ownership, Liberty Media Group, intended to bolster F1’s digital presence.
Formula One Digital Media’s financial report, was released yesterday and details were reported by Forbes. Despite the apparently small take from digital media, the $10 million figure is, however, a 65 percent increase from F1’s 2016 digital revenue total ($6.1 million).
“The directors consider the performance of the company during the year to be satisfactory and in line with expectations as the company continues to invest in the development of its digital platforms, and believe the company to be in a sound position at the balance sheet date and, with the progress it is making, well positioned for the future” detailed F1’s financial statement, according to Forbes
The $10 million digital revenue total accounts for sales of the official F1 app and the licensing of online ticketing and merchandise rights. But it does not yet include revenue from F1’s esports series or the F1 TV OTT streaming platform, which both debuted in 2018. Even with a disappointing proportion coming from digital media, total revenue for the league still grew over the past year.
“Revenue grew strongly, up by $3.9m (65%) despite the company’s primary focus being on planning future products and services, the increasingly successful development of its digital and social media channels, and the development of content and underlying technical platforms to support future growth opportunities,” the report stated.
SportTechie Takeaway
Both the official F1 app and F1 TV streaming service were met with criticism this past year, which may contribute to another disappointing digital revenue total for 2018. The app’s live timing function was so poor that the league was forced to re-launch its older timing app, according to Autosport. F1’s president publicly apologized for glitches in the F1 TV streaming service in May. RaceFans dubbed the service “amateur.”
However, the results for 2019 and beyond are likely to improve, especially with the potential for integrating in-race betting to the F1 experience.


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