Dugout goes into the cockpit in F1 fans tie-up
Dugout, the digital media platform backed by top European soccer clubs, has branched out into elite motor racing in a partnership with Formula 1.
There will be a focus on linking F1 and soccer fans through special competitions and exclusive giveaways.
The first scheduled collaboration between F1 and Dugout will go live this week, with fans having the chance to win some of the most sought-after prizes in sport.
On offer will be: two premium tickets to Grand Prix in 2019; a season pass to F1 TV Pro, the series' new over-the-top platform; and signed F1 merchandise.
In return, Dugout will offer up signed jerseys from star soccer players Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Aguero, James Rodríguez and Roberto Firmino.
Markek Borowik, F1 senior customer marketing manager, said: “Sport today is truly global and fans don’t watch just one sport, follow one star or support one team. Their
interest is constant, more varied and deeper than ever before. Formula 1 is always looking at new ways to engage both new and existing audiences and we’ve been really impressed with Dugout’s unique positioning and access to the clubs, as well as its reach and offering to supporters. Thanks to this first collaboration, sports fans from every continent will now have the opportunity to win a truly unforgettable prize.”
Elliot Richardson, executive chairman of Dugout, added: “We’re really excited to announce this partnership and become the first to harness the power of Formula 1 and football’s elite clubs. The innovation and incessant growth in digital media content, and the ever increasing accessibility of that content, means sports enthusiasts can stay engaged 24/7.”
Future offers could include premium tickets to the Dutch Grand Prix, with Formula 1 said to be interested in bringing a race back to the Netherlands and build on the popularity of Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen.
The earliest possible spot for a Dutch Grand Prix would be 2020, albeit Hanoi in Vietnam has already been confirmed to debut then, as could Miami in USA.
Sean Bratches, F1 commercial managing director, told Reuters: “We are very interested in racing in Holland. We are having productive conversations there and I am cautiously optimistic we can do something to surprise and delight fans in that territory and take advantage of the Max factor.”
The Zandvoort circuit, located in sand dunes on the Dutch North Sea coast, hosted 30 races between 1952 and 1985.
Verstappen, 21, has a huge national following as the country’s most successful Formula 1 driver. He was the series youngest-ever race winner, and now has five victories to his name.
Ziggo, the Dutch telecoms and cable operator that last week retained exclusive multi-platform Formula 1 rights until the end of the 2021 season, drew an audience of around 1.5 million on the (basic-tier) Ziggo Sport and (subscription) Ziggo Sport Totaal channels for the recent Brazilian Grand Prix, in which Verstappen finished second.
Meanwhile, Bratches said he is hopeful that Ferrari will join the Formula 1 ESports Series in future, after the Italians were the only team on the grid not to take part in this year's inaugural competition.
Mercedes, winners of both the Formula 1 constructors' and drivers' titles for the past five years on the real racetrack, took both of the virtual titles at the finals in London over the weekend, which was run by Gfinity, the UK-based eSports promoter in which Pitch International, the international sports marketing agency, holds a stake.
This year was the first time actual Formula 1 teams were involved, with a $200,000 prize pot paid out in the constructors' championship.
Bratches said: "I'm an optimist by nature and I'm somewhat confident that we're going to have a full stack and a full grid next year."
Garry Cook, chief executive of Gfinity, said: "If you think about connecting with your audience of tomorrow, you have no choice but to be in eSports."