Commercial Partnerships Red Bull Racing Sponsorship

“We’re Experiencing A Booming Market Like Never Before”

March 23, 2021

In the second of our special F1 interviews ahead of the new season, Ben Page spoke to Nick Stocker, Commercial Director at Red Bull Racing, to hear his experience of how the commercial side of sport has changed in the past 12 months, the role esports now plays in their commercial thinking and more…

How have you seen the commercial world of sport adapting and altering over the past year, what do you think has changed?

Lots has changed, but the most obvious is the advent of digital. COVID has progressed advancements in technologies that have allowed us to focus more on experience functionality than ever before.

“We’ve identified the surge of e-commerce as an area of growth… In many respects, we can provide more value now than ever before.”

Very quickly we realised that we must leverage these new technologies to provide our partners with new options, given restrictions, to enable us to digitise our inventory and experience output from Factory Tours to race-day Hospitality Experience. We are now in the fortunate position where we are providing three incredible levels of experience; virtual, real-world and a hybrid of the two, for those who cannot travel but still want to enjoy F1.

Has there been much of a difference when negotiating deals ahead of the new season, have you experienced any hesitancy from potential partners at the moment?

Quite the opposite in fact. We’re experiencing a booming market like never before, and confidence has been buoyed by the prospect of the world opening up again in a few months’ time. Many brands have been given a year to ‘tyre-kick’  and to analyse deeply what a partnership would provide in return from a brand, business and CSR perspective.

Sergio Perez testing out the team’s 2021 F1 car ahead of the new season

Red Bull Racing have done incredibly well out of this as we know we have a strong proposition. I truly believe the deeper the scrutiny of what we are able to offer from brands, the more apparent it becomes we provides a strong return-on-objectives and the likelihood of becoming a partner.

Have you been approaching commercial partnerships differently, has Covid changed anything in that regard, are deals that are being struck more flexible now?

Yes, we’ve been analysing post-COVID trends for a while now. The most obvious is consumer brands experiencing a real loss in footfall to bricks and mortar stores, and therefore a decline in sales revenues.

We’ve identified the surge of e-commerce as an area of growth and ensured our strategy included the ability to profile our fanbase better than ever before to help partners drive significant e-commerce opportunities to receptive audiences. This in turn provides our fans with offers and exclusives with products they are truly interested in. In many respects, we can provide more value now than ever before.

Esports provided a big boost for F1 during lockdown, where does it now fit into the team’s commercial outlook?

Esports has always been a key element of our commercial construct; we were the early adopters in the space and saw the opportunity a long while ago. We know that on average, F1 appeals to Generation X, Red Bull Racing have the youngest fanbase, appealing to Generation Y and our Esports team appeals mostly to Generation Z, so it is strategically important to ensure we are relevant and engaged with the next generation of fans.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen poses ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 season

COVID has simply pushed this along quicker than it may have happened previously, which is great because brands are understanding the unique value it can deliver to grow their share-of-voice.

Can you tell us about your recent partnership with Walmart and how you’re looking to utilise that within the US?

We can’t disclose too much about the partnership just yet, but as a team, we have huge ambitions within the US market. Given our wider business, we understand it better than any other F1 team could, especially as Red Bull Racing can authentically tap into the world of sport, culture, music and lifestyle to help engage new audiences.

“Our cultural alignment is always with brands who want something different, to commit to large-scale activations and to be disruptive.”

Suffice to say, the #1 F1 Team in the USA working with the #1 brand in the Fortune 500 presents huge opportunities for both parties. Watch this space.

Following on from that, how are you continuing to grow the Red Bull Racing brand and what are the team’s current commercial aspirations, where does greater US expansion fit in?

Expansion in the USA is key for us, but it isn’t the only market we are focusing on, it just so happens that we have a LATAM sporting superstar in Sergio Perez, and are the most popular team in North America. It is true that we experience a halo effect for the Red Bull brand in the US, but the partnerships we enter into are the platforms that really help us deliver huge successes and engagement.

Our cultural alignment is always with brands who want something different, to commit to large-scale activations and to be disruptive and we see that opportunity as a way to put Red Bull Racing in the shop window for new fans.

Commercial Partnerships Red Bull Racing Sponsorship