Formula 1 coverage, sponsorship deals a shoey-in for Ten execs

After three years, the 2022 Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix made its return over the weekend for the 25th running of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Network 10’s national sales director, Lisa Squillace, told Mumbrella that for the first time ever, the event sold out four months before the three-day racing weekend.

“You couldn’t even access a general admissions ticket which is just incredible. This really demonstrates the popularity of car racing and Formula One,” she said. “Australians have been starved of this sport for three years, and you can feel the excitement from everyone now that it’s back on home soil. It has absolutely gone gangbusters, even in regards to things like hospitality. We know from the Australian Grand Prix that it’s been the most in demand corporate hospitality they’ve ever seen, as well.” 

She added: “That’s just a testament to the sport, it’s really of such high quality, and it is the biggest race car event in this country. Momentum started building months ago.”

Charles Leclerc dominated the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday to win for the second time in 2022,  as world champion Max Verstappen again failed to finish. 

Squillace said: “The most important thing to the network is our big free-to-air coverage of the event on channel Ten. That’s where obviously all the eyeballs are going to be, and that’s where we’re really excited to see it all come to life.”

The F1 race on Sunday aired to a metro audience of 534,000, and reached 3.19 million Australians nationally over the weekend.

More than 400,000 spectators watched on the ground.  It has also helped attract a more diverse demographic – according to the race organisers, 40% of attendees this year were women, up from only 25% in the past.

Network 10’s sports sales director, Nick Bower, told Mumbrella: “The coverage was live across the weekend for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition to that it aired on 10 Play, the home of free Formula One streaming.”  

“There’s so much interest and intrigue going on in Formula 1 at the moment, and that’s a testament to Liberty Media who have bought the rights,” he said. “The last couple of years have been so dramatic. Jenson Button said last year at the end of the coverage, ‘What did we just witness? It was the greatest season of Formula 1, ever.’ So, coming off the back of that, we’re really excited to have that momentum behind the sport. In the first couple of rounds we’ve seen the re-emergence of Ferrari come back. They were almost like the forgotten team, but they’re back and it’s everyone’s favourite team. If you put all of those things in place, we expected a really strong audience number across both broadcast free-to-air, and across 10 Play.”

The new season brought all the excitement of a brand new Albert Park circuit and F1 machinery. Plus, Aussie hero Daniel Ricciardo drove for McLaren for the first time on home soil.

Across the three-day sporting event, Network 10’s expert team brought all the action, highlights and analysis from on and off the track. 

Aussie F1 legend Mark Webber returned to headline the 10 Sport coverage, offering expert opinions and commentary over the weekend, including qualifying and the big race with co-hosts Tara Rushton and Scott MacKinnon. 

Bower said: “We’re ecstatic that we had the stellar lineup we had this year. Mark Webber was back, Scotty McKinnon, we also had Tom Clarkson, and Nat Hunter. But, this year, we are adding in some new flavours. 

He added: “Archie Thompson came in after our fantastic coverage he’s been doing in football and that added a nice depth to the coverage. But all in all we had for the first time Tara Rushton. She is an absolutely fantastic host, with incredible talent, and obviously doing wonders in our football coverage, and will be a fantastic addition to the broadcast coverage this year.”

In terms of sponsors who had jumped on board for the three-day event, Bower said it had a “great run of brands and support”.

“The market supported us really well. We have a few sponsors, Shannons, Harvey Norman, Dell, 7 Eleven and their fuel partner Mobil, Salesforce, Visit Victoria, and even our friends at Paramount, who are all doing fantastic things within the coverage,” Bower admitted. “ In addition to that, there’s been strong support from the auto category, telco, gaming, clothing & apparel, across the board.”

In terms of activations, from Ten’s perspective, Bower said it brought to life integrated elements within the broadcast.

“There were a lot of other activations on site as well, and there was a huge push on different precincts down there for the event itself, to really showcase more of Victoria.”

Meanwhile, as COVID-19 restrictions slowly ease, Bower said there were still safety measures to ensure it was COVID-safe event.

“Formula 1 is an example of how to do an event. They’re really strict on their driver, team, and officials being in these sorts of bubbles,” he explained. “They are experts at doing it. They’re probably the first sport to come back to frontline events during the pandemic. Now, they’re expanding to a huge season this year. They’re a testament to how to do events right, but that doesn’t mean there are no restrictions, everyone there had to adhere to the rules, to make sure that it was a COVID-safe event.  

“What we’ve got is huge momentum around the sport. Global audiences for Formula 1 for the last couple of years have been on the increase. The sport has really gone from strength-to strength,” Bower said.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.