Nearly every sports sponsorship proposition now includes a section called, business development. But as a platform to drive new business revenue, how good are they really?

I don’t propose to breakdown the opportunities and pitfalls of each sport here – I don’t have the time for that, and I’m sure you don’t either! What I will do is explain why I think Formula One is the ultimate platform for b2b sales:

In Formula 1’s VIP hospitality environment, Paddock Club, the racing is the entertainment. The Formula 1 Paddock Club represents a place to relax, meet new people and discuss business in a less formal environment.

60,000 business leaders don’t vie for a place in Paddock Club each year to eat exquisite food and drink champagne in elegantly dressed rooms! Although it does improve the setting for achieving their primary objective… to do business.

The image below provides a summary of the Formula One’s Paddock Club b2b potential.

F1 CONFIDENTIAL FORMULA ONE PADDOCK CLUB BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT B2B SALES REVENUE

But more than attracting a senior decision maker and having access to them for longer, Formula One provides something not many other sports can… Product Relevance.

Formula One is the most technologically advanced sport; eleven teams design, prototype, build, test and operate entirely new, 200mph products each year that are then continuously developed.

Racing in Formula 1 requires the latest IT, engineering and telecommunications equipment and infrastructure. Logistical support to transport everything around the world. Recruitment and HR support to build the best possible team. Insurance. Nutritional and sports science support to keep drivers and teams working at the optimum. I could go on.

Formula One sponsors don’t just put their logo on a car, they provide products or services to help improve the performance of the team. By providing these products and services they can create high-performance mission-critical case studies to take to market.

So what has product relevance got to do with the ultimate b2b sales platform?

Formula One sponsors can utilise access to the team at events to help promote products and services. For example, a sponsor can have the Head of IT at the F1 Team show guests your products and services being used by the team. They can tell the guests how your products are improving their performance, saving costs etc.

Showcasing a business through engaging and differentiated product showcases in Formula 1 has proved extremely successful, with $billions being done annually. To give an example, one IT brand grew $500m in new revenue from co-team sponsors in just the first 18 months of their partnership. This revenue was tracked and directly attributed to F1’s b2b forum in the company’s annual report.

Whilst many sports propositions claim ‘excellent business development opportunities’, none truly rival the b2b forum of Formula One. With billions of dollars worth of business being done annually, can a global business afford not to be operating in this arena at some level?