Free-to-air is “the right way forward” for the electric Formula E championship in the short to medium-term, according to one of the leading figures in the series.
This weekend, the Marrakesh E-Prix airs live on free-to-air television for fans in the UK on BBC Two, with presenter Jennie Gow reporting live on-site for the first time.
Only one other race has aired live on BBC’s linear television channels before now: the Hong Kong E-Prix in March 2019, where Gow presented live from their studios in Salford.
Since its inception in 2014, Formula E has struggled to find a stable home, moving from one free-to-air station to another in relatively quick succession.
However, the potential for more money has not tempted organisers to move the championship exclusively to pay television.
And speaking exclusively to Motorsport Broadcasting ahead of the E-Prix this weekend, Formula E’s Head of Content Sebastian Tiffert believes that free-to-air remains is the way forward for the championship.
“I think wherever we have the largest audience is the right way forward, and you still get that through free-to-air broadcasters, and this is where we want to see Formula E in the future,” Tiffert said.
“Having the Marrakesh E-Prix on BBC Two is great, because we’re bring the race to a wider audience. We hope fans get excited [by what they see] because we believe we have a fantastic racing product with a lot of action on-track involving great drivers and great teams.”
“What the future holds I don’t know, but I think in the short to mid-term, free-to-air broadcasters and big broadcasters are the way forward for us,” he added.
Content teams realigned within Formula E’s structure
Tiffert joined Formula E last September, following a 14-year stint at Eurosport. Whilst at Eurosport, Tiffert moved through the ranks, to eventually becoming their Global Director of Motorsports before joining Formula E.
One of the main changes behind the scenes in recent months at Formula E has involved their content teams, which have all been centralised into one division under the leadership of Tiffert.
“Previously, we had the content team divided between broadcast, social media, and website platforms in different departments across Formula E, we have now centralised into a proper content team for the first time,” Tiffert told Motorsport Broadcasting during a wide-ranging conversation.
“We’ve regrouped under one roof, everything from broadcast to digital (meaning website and app content) and the social media content.”
“The analogy I always use is that we don’t want to tell ten different stories; we’d rather tell the same story, but in ten different ways depending on who we’re talking to.”
“There was the same look and feel I believe before, but you didn’t have everyone sitting together, making sure everybody was going down the same storyline. Sometimes one platform misses a story for one reason or another. The important thing now is that TV is working with social, social is working with TV, for each other, on the same story.”