These are the results of a national survey by Roy Morgan Research that found almost 4.6 million Australians watched motorsports on TV in 2020. These events include Formula 1, Supercars, the Bathurst 1000, drag racing and rallying.
It said that aside from the one-off Bathurst race, the Supercars series was reaching a wider audience of motor sport fans, outgunning Formula 1.
“The leading motorsports events watched by Australians on TV are the Bathurst 1000 watched by over 3.1 million, the Supercars watched by 2.6 million and the Formula 1 watched by nearly 2.3 million,” Roy Morgan said.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said the uncertain status of this year’s Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix had highlighted the value provided by sponsoring the 12-race Supercars series held entirely at tracks around Australia and New Zealand.
“This likelihood means naming rights sponsor Rolex and leading manufacturer Mercedes are likely to miss out on the publicity boost that the Grand Prix brings for a second straight year but for motorsports fans there is the alternative provided by the Australian-based Supercars series,” she said.
“The Supercars series provides a great platform for sponsors looking to reach Australia’s 4.6 million motorsports fans and the sponsorship association with the Supercars is stronger than that seen with the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Ms Levine said a large majority of 80 per cent of Australians who attended a motorsports event last year can name a brand associated with Supercars compared to 57 per cent for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“The long-running sponsor of the Bathurst 1000, Supercheap Auto, is the leading brand mentioned by 42 per cent of motorsport attendees ahead of manufacturers Holden (34%) and Ford (30%),” she said.
“Supercars series naming rights sponsor from 2016-2020 Virgin Australia was mentioned by 19 per cent of attendees.
“The value attained by the Supercars sponsors has been noticed by rival companies.
“Automotive parts retailer Repco signed a deal in September 2020 to sponsor the Supercars, as well as the iconic Bathurst 1000 race, from 2021-25 replacing both previous naming rights sponsors Supercheap Auto and Virgin Australia.
“The exit of Holden from the Australian car market at the end of 2020 also signals further change ahead for the sport with Holden parent company General Motors set to join the Supercars series in 2022 as ‘General Motors Specialty Vehicles’ (GMSV) using a Chevrolet Corvette.
“The departure of two of the most widely recognised sponsors of Supercars (Holden and Virgin Australia), and the ending of the long-running Supercheap Auto sponsorship of the Bathurst 1000, gives businesses looking to build their profile the opportunity to connect quickly with the millions of Australians who watch and enjoy Supercars.”
The research showed that of the 362,000 who attended a motorsports event last year, a large majority of 80 per cent can name at least one brand they associate with Supercars compared to a smaller majority of 57 per cent who can name a brand associated with the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
In contrast, only around a quarter of all Australians (28%) can name a brand associated with Supercars and just over a fifth (22%) can name a brand associated with the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
For those attending motorsport events the top brand associated with Supercars is former Bathurst 1000 naming rights sponsor Supercheap Auto which was mentioned by 42 percent of attendees.
“In a sign of how enduring sports sponsorship associations are it is former naming rights sponsor Qantas in third that is mentioned by 13 per cent of motor sport attendees as being associated with the Grand Prix,” the researcher said.
“Qantas was the naming rights sponsor for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2010-2012 – nearly a decade ago.”
Roy Morgan said that when analysing brand association for last year’s Bathurst 1000, the naming of Supercheap Auto showed that Australians who have attended a motorsports event are the most likely to recall the brand when considering brands and companies associated with Supercars.
“Over two-in-five motorsports attendees (42%) associate Supercheap Auto with the Supercars,” it said.
“The automotive parts retailer had been the naming rights sponsor of Australia’s leading Supercars race the Bathurst 1000 for 16 years from 2005-20.
“For Australian motor sports fans who regularly watch motor sport on TV sponsor recall is also very high – with 33 percent of those who almost always watch Supercars associating Supercheap Auto with Supercars and 30 per cent of those who almost always watch the Bathurst 1000 making the association.
“For occasional TV watchers sponsor recall reduces to around a quarter for Supercheap Auto for both Supercars viewers (25 percent) and Bathurst 1000 viewers (24 percent).”
By Neil Dowling