We’re almost at the half-way point of the F1 season, and the F1 global showpiece has arrived at Silverstone to the news that the circuit has secured a 5-year extension to host the British GP until 2024.

From a commercial perspective, Nielsen Sports has used the juncture to take a look at Heineken’s partnership with F1, reflecting specifically on the positive impact that the partnership has had on Heineken’s sales via UK public spend.

Since the 2016 Canadian GP, Heineken has played an integral role in F1 as their global beer partner, with a circuit presence at 51 GPs (up to and including the Austrian GP in 2019) and title partnership deals at 9 of these, including rounds held in Brazil, China, Canada & Italy. The brand has a strong presence amongst the general admission crowd with the use of bars found in the circuit fanzones. Heineken also has direct access to the c-suite execs and other major influencers located within the paddock thanks to its central hub bar.

Whilst general beer spend by the UK public has increased by +7.6% in value and +4.9% in volume in 2018 vs. 2017, Heineken sales have grown by +72% (£115m) in value and +89% in volume over the same period. When looking at the purchasing habits of the UK F1 fans, 30% of total UK spend on beer can be attributed to those with an interest in the sport. 

Tom McCormack, Head of Rights Holders, UK, Nielsen Sports, Said:

“With such a large proportion of beer consumption in the UK attributed to those who are fans of F1, the opportunity for a beer partner to influence this spend towards their brand is huge. Since their arrival into the sport, Heineken has not only successfully managed to grow F1 fans spend on their products but have done so in a way that also promotes road safety.”
“With the availability of a non-alcoholic option for those petrol heads out there, it has given fans the opportunity to enjoy the brand even whilst driving, and this increased promotion has meant an increase in sales of not only the standard Heineken beer, but the 0.0 product too.”

Using Fanlinks*, Nielsen Sports has identified that F1 fans’ total beer spend in the UK remained flat across the last two years. However, for Heineken, we’ve seen an increase in sales amongst F1 fans, with 22% of their total 2018 UK sales coming from the F1 fanbase, up from 19% in 2017. Within this specific F1 fan group, the main Heineken product experienced year-on-year growth of +139%, with the 0.0 brand also increasing by +9%.

Knowing how to justify commercial decisions leads to businesses being much more selective about the partnerships they choose. In the case of FMCG brands, it’s vital that within sports sponsorship that they can see the impact of fan purchasing behaviour and its impact on sales. Over the years, we have seen several brand partnerships come and go, and with Fanlinks, we’re confident that we can provide sponsors with a data-led approach that brings them closer to understanding sponsorship ROI.

To learn more about Nielsen Sports Fanlinks, please contact Tom McCormack at tom.mccormack@nielsen.com

*Fanlinks is an integrated solution, we are able to combine data sources that link attitudes towards sponsorship together with actual purchase behaviour of fans. With Fanlinks, we are able to delve into which fan groups are buying in specific categories, for example, beer brands. This insight into actual purchase behaviour of sports fans allows brands like Heineken to better activate their strategies with their buyers within specific demographic regions and open up new fan groups, which brands need to be considering, along with how best to reach them.