Is MotoGP a competitor for sponsorship dollars?
- April 29, 2021
- Eddy Sidani
Formula One. IndyCar Series. NASCAR. Formula E. All followed by fans across the globe, and all attractive motorsport properties for brands to consider adding to their sponsorship portfolios.
However, there is a major opportunity in the motorsport industry that unfortunately doesn’t receive the same attention in North America as its four-wheeled sister competitions. We are, of course, talking about the International Motorcycling Federation’s (FIM) premier class of motorcycle road racing – MotoGP.
MotoGP is one of the most popular competitions in many countries across all sports, not just motorsport. While on average it may not be as large as the likes of Formula One, it certainly is a heavy-hitter in many European and Asian markets. To demonstrate just what we’re talking about, let’s utilize SponsorPulse data to analyze MotoGP on an international scale and see just how big of an opportunity the oldest established motorsport world championship really is.
MotoGP DNQ – SportsPro 50 Most Marketable
Last October, SponsorPulse and SportsPro Media partnered to release a list of the 50 most marketable (SP50MM) sport properties across the globe. To no surprise, the list was topped by international properties such as the FIFA World Cup, the Summer Olympic Games, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) (okay, that one might have surprised quite a few people). While there was plenty of excitement surrounding the properties that made the list, much of the discussion revolved around which properties fell lower than expected or failed entirely to make the final cut. Although MotoGP technically falls into the latter category, there is much left to be said about the property’s performance on an international scale.
The SP50MM Properties list took into consideration all major international sport properties and their marketability across 18 of the world’s largest markets. The sport genre with the most properties in the list was unsurprisingly soccer. Formula One was the only motorsport property that made the list; with an international SponsorPulse Opportunity Score (our universal, insight-driven currency) of 28, Formula One was the 14th ranked property globally. The next ranking motorsport that just missed the cut – MotoGP.
In fact, MotoGP was ranked as the 52nd most marketable sport property globally with an international SponsorPulse Opportunity Score of 15. Although the second-highest ranking motorsport just missed the cut, it scored higher than properties such as Ligue 1, Overwatch League, and Major League Baseball (MLB). According to SponsorPulse data, 38% of global consumers have engaged with MotoGP, and of that cohort, one-in-three are excited about the property and what it has to offer. Other motorsport properties such as Formula E, NASCAR, and the Monaco Grand Prix (Formula One) received Opportunity Scores of 14, 12, and 12 respectively, demonstrating just how large MotoGP really is on an international scale.
MotoGP receives a sponsorship Grand Slam in Italy
Out of the 18 major international markets that SponsorPulse operates in, MotoGP records its strongest measurements among Italian consumers. This shouldn’t necessarily come as a shock to anyone familiar with motorsport as it is widely known that racing culture is very prominent in Italy. What may come as a surprise, however, is that MotoGP outperforms Formula One in Italy as the top-ranking motorsport competition in the country. Receiving a SponsorPulse Opportunity Score of 49, MotoGP is the seventh ranked property overall in Italy. Formula One doesn’t exactly fall far behind as it is the 9th ranked property overall with an Opportunity Score of 46. Interesting note, Scuderia Ferrari is the fourth ranked property overall in the country with an Opportunity Score of 53.
According to SponsorPulse data, 61% of Italians have engaged with MotoGP at least once in the past year. Of that cohort, 48% are excited about the motorsport, 41% engage with the competition on a weekly basis, and 36% claim their interest will likely increase over the next year (talk about positive property health). For reference, MotoGP tops all other motorsport competitions in seven-of-eight metrics, leading us to unofficially award the two-wheeled competition our first ever sponsorship Grand Slam. However, it should be noted that neither competition has the same impact that Scuderia Ferrari has among engaged consumers. There isn’t anything to be ashamed of here, as the famous tifosi are known for their passionate support of their favorite Formula One team.
It’s interesting to note that in Italy, MotoGP presents a greater sponsorship opportunity than AC Milan, Inter Milan, the Tokyo Summer Olympics, and the UEFA Euro Championship. Certainly, the successes of Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi haven’t hurt the cause.
Another European country that has a strong connection to MotoGP (and motorsport in general) is Spain. Receiving a SponsorPulse Opportunity Score of 44, the FIM competition is the 9th ranked property overall and the top-ranked motorsport property in the country. SponsorPulse data shows that 57% of Spaniards have engaged with MotoGP at least once in the past year, and that 46% of this group are excited about the property and 18% would consider purchasing or be more favorable of a brand that sponsors the competition in a way that they like. For reference, Formula One is the 13th overall ranked property in Spain with an Opportunity Score of 42.
MotoGP’s much-warranted return to Indonesia
After a 23-year absence, MotoGP is finally making its return to Indonesia on the beautiful island of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara in 2022. The Indonesian Grand Prix will prove to be a valuable addition to the events calendar, as noted by Dorna Sports chief executive Carmelo Ezpeleta: “The visit to Lombok was very successful and we can confirm that the Mandalika International Street Circuit will be one of the most important venues of the calendar in the future.”
SponsorPulse data echoes this narrative, as 57% of Indonesians have engaged with MotoGP at least once in the past year. Of that cohort, 51% claim to be excited about the competition and 28% say they would consider purchasing/be more favorable of a brand that sponsors MotoGP in a way that they like. Most importantly, 37% say their interest will likely increase over the next year, demonstrating the potential for increased growth of motorcycle racing in the South East Asian market.
While sports such as badminton, pencak silat, soccer, and esports reign as the most popular pastimes in Indonesia, it’s clear that the nation has an affinity for motorcycle racing. As MotoGP and WorldSBK plan their returns to the Archipelago, hopefully the sport continues to capitalise on its momentum and convert casual consumers into passionate fans.
There may not be much interest in motorcycle racing in North American countries like Canada and the US at the moment, however the motorsport genre is continuing to grow and generating momentum among sport consumers across the continent. As we’ve seen with Formula One’s ‘Drive to Survive’ Netflix series, innovative content like an insider’s docuseries can spark a trend that ignites an entirely new generation fans with momentum and passion to give. Only time will tell how MotoGP will continue to grow internationally, and we’re excited to see how they use partnerships to help increase their awareness in the North American market and beyond.
To learn more about the performance of MotoGP and other motorsport properties across the globe, visit www.sponsorpulseimi.com.