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Mercedes and Ferrari take the chequered flag on Drive to Survive S6

Updated: Mar 1

Drive to Survive Sports Documentary

Sports documentaries are big business these days. Whether they follow Hollywood stars making their first foray into football or basketball icons enjoying their last dance, the fly-on-the-wall approach has been a buzz-generating success for rights owners and streaming services alike.

But what about the value these shows generate for sponsors? How much of a difference do they make to the visibility and value partners can expect to get from their deals?

Last year, datapowa ran sponsorship valuation analysis on season 5 of Netflix's Formula One series Drive to Survive, and found that Oracle Red Bull Racing generated the highest level of value for their

sponsors: an expected media value (xMV) of more than £15m. This year, though, the story’s changed.

Below are our valuations for every team and every sponsor involved in the 2023 F1 season. Click here to see an interactive version that'll allow you to dig into each segment.

Mercedes and Ferrari lead the pack

2023 was a season of almost total Red Bull dominance, with the Austrian outfit winning 21 of the 22 races. This was great news for fans of drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but not so good for

less partisan supporters (and documentary directors) looking for edge-of-your-seat entertainment.

Luckily for Netflix, there was plenty of intrigue between Mercedes and Ferrari, who spent the season battling it out for second place - and, as the off-season has shown, the future of Lewis Hamilton. These storylines gave both teams plenty of Drive to Survive exposure, with the season’s final episode (‘Red or Black’) focusing on the on-track rivalry and episode six (‘Leap of Faith’) showing the beginnings of Hamilton’s move to the Prancing Horse.

As a result, Mercedes and Ferrari both outrank Red Bull when it comes to the expected media value

generated for their sponsors: Mercedes drove £5,607,932, Ferrari £5,558,330 and Red Bull £4,954,437.

BWT are A-OK for Alpine

So what about the brands themselves? Which generated the most value and why? Well, the story here is equally unexpected.

BWT Alpine finished the season in sixth position, with drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon in 11th and 12th respectively. They were never contenders for a place among the top three in the

Constructors’ Championship and only twice secured podium positions. However, there was plenty of juicy paddock gossip about the French team, with key figures leaving mid-season and Hollywood

stars investing. As a result, they took centre stage in two episodes: episodes five (‘Civil War’) and

seven (‘C'est La Vie’).

Across the season as a whole, the BWT logo appeared on screen 5,024 times for a total of around 40 minutes; significantly more than big-hitting brands like Shell (2,678 times for around 28

minutes), Red Bull (3,373 times for 29 minutes) and Petronas (3,081 times, again for around 29

minutes). But exposure alone isn’t enough to generate media value. Clarity counts too, and with its

bold blue font on candy candy-pink background, the BWT logo undoubtedly catches the eye.

It’s a story repeated across the top ten best-performing brands. Pure exposure matters, but clean,

clear creative can help a brand punch well above its weight when it comes to media value.

Sports docs are the great leveller

There are plenty of other insights to be mined from the data, but the most important takeaway is that when it comes to generating value for partners, sports documentaries are a great leveller.

Even in a season as one-sided as the 2023 F1 campaign, the traditional big players had to share

exposure with teams that had interesting characters who could light up the screen or intriguing

stories with plenty of twists and turns.

As more sports allow fly-on-the-wall access, Drive to Survive proves that rights holders and brands

need to be more comprehensive with their approach to sponsorship analytics and assess streaming,

social media and other channels that orbit around the events themselves to get the full picture.


Methodology: To arrive at our xMV we use our object detection computer vision AI to identify when, where, and how sponsor logos are exposed within media content. We first identify the unadjusted 100% Media Value, using the estimated audience size, impressions, time on screen, and a benchmark equivalent cost to acquire that screen time. A ‘Prominence Score’ is then applied to this figure, allowing us to take the sponsor logo’s size, clarity and centrality into account and give a clear understanding of the impact the appearance would have made on the viewer. These metrics are combined to give guidance on the estimated value derived through exposure of the logos across the entire series six of Drive to Survive.

About datapowa: datapowa is a UK-headquartered, wholly-owned business within IXUP Limited. It

offers specialist data and analytics technologies to the global sports market, helping rights owners,

brands, and agencies understand the true value of sponsorship assets and maximise return on


Paul Bullock is Marketing Manager for DataPOWA.

Find out more by emailing us at or visiting our website

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