Formula One, the auto-racing organization owned by John Malone’s Liberty Media, partnered with Snapchat to share fan-produced videos and pictures at upcoming races, ESPN reported. The deal reverses Formula One’s earlier policy of removing fan videos from social media channels in order to protect the media rights of broadcasters.
Formula One now actively encourages people to upload videos to Snapchat, where they can be collected by the messaging company's "Our Stories" platform that lets Snapchatters at the same event contribute videos and photos to a single collection on the app. “Our Stories” are grouped on Snapchat’s Discover platform.
The first Formula One story will be at the British Grand Prix this weekend. Later this year, Snap will cover the races in Singapore, Japan, the US, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Formula One is joining sports organizations such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association in letting fans share their experiences of a sporting event on their mobile devices, which have become central to live events. The global reach of social media is especially compelling to an organization like Formula One, which organizes races in major cities worldwide. Snapchat has more than 166 million users worldwide who create more than 3 billion Snaps a day. By having rights to post Formula One media, Snapchat can avoid having to send take-down notices to users who post videos and pictures of races.
Embracing social media also is a key part of how sports entertainment providers are attempting to reach the next generation of fans. "We need to continue to bring new fans to the sport — by reaching out to them on social media platforms with behind the scenes, fun and engaging content,” Frank Arthofer, head of digital and new business at Formula One, said in a statement. “Snap's platform is one of the most popular among 'millennials,' a sector we are particularly keen on attracting, as it represents the future of our sport."
Sports fans are generally interested in posting messages or participating on social media as they watch games and interact with other viewers, and the social media platforms already have experience in partnerships for major sporting events. Facebook reached a deal with Fox to carry part of the Champions League, the annual European soccer tournament. Snap had deals for sports highlights at the 2016 Olympics. Last year, Twitter streamed video of live NFL games.
Social media companies are targeting other sports for online rights. Facebook, Twitter and Snap are seeking online rights to Fox's video highlights from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Bloomberg News reported citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The social media companies have offered 21st Century Fox tens of millions of dollars to show the video clips.