TV News: Mercedes-Benz, Heineken Join as Official Sponsors of F1 Telecast
As a new season of Formula 1 racing launches this weekend from Bahrain, ESPN kicks off its new, three-year renewal with F1 that will bring new content and expanded viewing options for American F1 fans all season across Disney networks. Brands are racing to take part in the action as Disney Advertising has nearly sold out of inventory, bringing on Mercedes-Benz and Heineken as official sponsors to have visibility throughout the telecasts.
“No one has the depth, diversity, and width of sports offerings as Disney and Formula 1 is the perfect example of this,” said Sean Hanrahan, SVP, Disney Advertising Sports Brand Solutions. “Through this property, we are able to expand our reach and curate an incomparable advertising experience for brands.”
Since being with Disney starting in 2018, F1 has experienced unprecedented and rapid growth from both a viewership and demand standpoint. Brands are working creatively with Disney Advertising to find ways to enhance the race watching experience for fans everywhere.
Mercedes-Benz will serve as the Presenting Sponsor for all races throughout the duration of Disney’s F1 rights agreement, concluding in 2025. In addition to its exclusive media sponsorship presence, the automotive brand will also have visibility with several integrations throughout each live race and race re-air telecast.
Across each race weekend throughout the duration of Disney’s F1 rights agreement, Heineken will keep fans updated on everything they need to know about the exhilarating competition through the brand’s race preview and recap feature integrations in SportsCenter.
For a total of 23 weeks, Heineken will keep fans updated will everything they need to know about the exhilarating competition through the brand’s race preview and recap feature integrations on SportsCenter for each race.
Coming off the record-setting 2022 season that saw F1 have its most-viewed year ever on U.S. television, Disney will again air all 23 races in the championship, with 18 of the 23 airing on ABC or ESPN. The other five will air on ESPN2. The 2022 season averaged 1.21 million viewers per race across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, a 28 percent increase over the previous U.S. television record of 949,000 average viewers that was set in 2021. The 2022 season also became the first in U.S. television history to average 1 million or more viewers per race.
The network saw ad sales revenue grow 163% this year over last year across its F1 inventory, and it’s up 1,405% since ESPN picked the rights up in 2018.
Sean Hanrahan, senior vice president of Disney Advertising Sports Brand Solutions, said Disney is nearly sold out of inventory and only has a small number of positions left to sell around F1 this year. He said F1 is desirable for advertisers because its fan base is young, diverse and affluent.
“We are big fans of F1 — that’s why we renewed, because it delivers a great audience that advertisers have interest in,” Hanrahan said. “We’ve seen great success in the marketplace and a lot of interest, so I think we’ve gotten off to a good start.”
Hanrahan said further, “The momentum that has happened with F1 … you put (it) all together and you’ve had advertisers calling to say, ‘How can I be a part of it?’”