F1’s Sean Bratches: ‘The fan is at the centre of all our plans’

Formula 1’s new commercial director Sean Bratches is putting the fans at the forefront of Liberty Media’s long-term plans for growing the sport.

The former ESPN marketing expert has identified numerous venues of growth opportunities for Formula 1, with a focus on digital products and platforms.

“The basis of this, if you peel everything back, is that every single thing that we’re doing has to pivot around the fan,” he told Motorsport.com.

“The fan is at the centre of all our theses in terms of driving this sport because if we’re doing the best job we can serving fans, both the existing fans and the new fans, that’s a win.

“That engagement can come from having a sponsor engage them, the rights holder engage them, the teams engage them or the drivers engage them. And that’s central to how we’re looking at the business.

“We have big events 20 times every single year in 20 different countries and there’s an extraordinary opportunity to detonate the fan experience in a very positive way.”

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On the back of F1 extending its relaxation rules associated with social media, Bratches emphasised the need  for the sport to work in closer collaboration with teams and drivers, underlining the grwoth potential linked with social media channels.

“I see the drivers as one of our strongest assets in terms of communicating, celebrating successes and amplifying controversies,” he said. “And we can really help them do that.

“Taking Lewis Hamilton as an example, he has this kind of inalienable relationship with fans across the globe that transcends sport, that goes to celebrity.

“But we are not giving him the tools to perform from a social media standpoint with equivalent global rock stars. We want to help him.

“I had lunch with Lewis and we talked about this and we are 100 percent aligned in terms of where were going from a social media standpoint in terms of its importance and how we can work together.”

Bratches acknowledged that F1 had suffered from a huge deficit on the digital communications front in the last ten years, but vowed to bring the sport up to date.

“There are clear opportunities that we are focused on to create new products with state-of-the-art user interfaces and content,” he said.

“We have the most extraordinary content cloud that’s floating over F1. We’re very excited about the data that we have. We just have to figure our strategically how we’re going to apportion that.”

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