FIA Formula E has revealed that FanBoost voting in the second season of the series has increased 800%, owing the increase ease of voting through social media.
Speaking at the Host City conference in Glasgow, Director of Media and Strategic Partnerships at Formula E, Ali Russel, revealed the substantial increase in fan engagement and the popularity of the FanBoost dynamic.
“Formula E is an innovative product aimed at a younger audience. We’re talking to millennials, to 15-25 year olds, so we need to talk digitally.”
“Our research illustrates that whether in the US or Indonesia it’s not about traditional terrestrial TV, it’s about digital. We stream to over 180 countries around the world. We’ve gone into the area aggressively.”
“We streamed the Beijing race to Spain, and there were over 850,000 watching live sport on Facebook. It’s changed my mind on how to engage with fans around the world.”
While social media has certainly brought greater flexibility and viewing options desired by fans, TV figures have also been impressive, with the Putrajaya race alone drawing more viewers in the US than F1 has managed in 2015, and over 1.2m viewers tuning in to the inaugural season finale on British ITV.
An engaged audience
As SportCal reports, Russell believes that FanBoost is driving greater interaction with fans by bridging the gap between the digital and the physical worlds.
“Fan Boost is about our aspiration to engage with fans. A vote for a driver allows them extra energy to overtake or to block a manoeuvre. A home match is easier for the home team because the fans are behind them. We’re trying to allow the same parameter: the weight of fans willing you on. The result is Fan Boost.”
This effect was highlighted just last weekend when Nick Heidfeld recovered from an early spin and a drive-through penalty to secure a ninth-place finish, having won the power advantage that comes with FanBoost.
“We want our athletes to be more accessible to people, to bridge the gap between the digital world and the real world. You couldn’t put it into sports with heritage. But putting it into a sport that didn’t exist two years ago is much easier. We’re taking gaming into sport, rather than sport into gaming.”
Finding fans, creating a legacy
While some fans, media and teams were slow on the uptake of the concept, FanBoost has been widely well received at a time when other, more established sports such as F1, have appeared to actively shun fans online.
In doing so, Formula E is actively targeting the next generation of car buyers, raising awareness of the innovations being developed by the series with an audience that is highly educated about the need to reduce our ecological footprint.
Furthermore, by prioritising fan engagement, Formula E is creating a lasting legacy as a business and a sport. It is a shining example of what can be achieved, but this is just the start.
The third race of the 2015/16 season takes place in Punta del Este, Uruguay on 19th December.