BLOG | by YouGov Sport

Formula E fans in the UK: Young and receptive to sports sponsorships

Despite a number of COVID-induced race cancellations, the fledging Formula E World Championship nearly turned a profit in its sixth season in 2019-2020, a testament to the appeal of the motorsport series.

Now, as COVID restrictions recede in many jurisdictions, the all-electric series is looking to return next season to its regular schedule, spanning over two calendar years between December and July – something which was initially designed to take advantage of months in which little racing took place.

As the motorsport series gathers itself ahead of its return-to-normal season, YouGov data reveals how its fan base differs from motorsport fans in general and how marketers can take advantage.

The sport’s fan base in the UK skews younger than motorsport fans in general. Data shows 18% of Formula E fans are 18-24 years old (compared to 7% of general motorsport fans), while 27% are 25-39 (compared to 18%). Since its fans are younger, they are also likely earlier in their career and that means they are more likely to have an income lower than 75% of the national median (31% vs. 25% of motorsport fans in general).

Because this audience is younger, they are also less likely to be fully licensed to drive (70% vs. 84% of motorsport fans). But that fact does not mean they aren’t keen to purchase a new car in the near future. In fact, they are almost twice as likely as the wider motorsport fan base to indicate they’re likely to buy a new set of wheels in the next 12 months (38% vs. 20%).

It’s worth noting that while fans of Formula E are more likely to purchase an all-electric vehicle when next in the market, it’s not a huge margin (20% vs. 17% of UK adults in general), which indicates the spreading acceptance of electric cars among the general public.

As Formula E continues to grow, it’s worth noting that sponsors around the sport will have a captive audience. YouGov Profiles data indicates Formula E fans are more likely than genral motorsport fans to hold positive views about advertising – 49% take notice of who sponsors the sporting events they watch (vs. 30% of motorsport fans); 47% say ads help them choose what to buy (vs. 26%); 40% pay attention to the ads at events (vs. 17%); and 37% will buy a product if the brand sponsors their team (vs. 14%).

As vehicle manufacturers race to develop and build more electric cars that can capably replace their internal combustion counterparts, organizers of the all-electric motorsport series argue Formula E is helping assist in that transition, by serving as an incubator for improved technology.

“Combustion engines are over,” Alberto Longo, the co-founder of Formula E, was quoted as saying by NPR in the US. “End of story.”

Let’s look at how Formula E overlaps with its petrol-powered big brother Formula 1. YouGov data estimates there are 11.5 million fans of F1 in the UK and about 3.2 million Formula E fans. However, there is substantial overlap between these two fan bases, with 2.5 million being fans of both series.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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