A formula for growth in Schibsted Sports Platform

A formula for growth in Schibsted Sports Platform

In March 2022, Schibsted’s sports platform added a new sport for the first time in many years – Formula 1. Behind the decision was a true product strategy to engage younger users, create long-term growth and do something unique.

In Schibsted Sports Platform, we build three products: VG live, Aftonbladet Målservice, and the Sports APIs. VG live and Målservice together serve around 1.5 million unique weekly users across Norway and Sweden with live sports results, videos and statistics. With over 35 million weekly page views, these services generate more than NOK 45 million for VG and Aftonbladet each year.

Our Sports APIs serve as a one-stop-shop for sports data in Schibsted.

But for years, our main offering has stayed the same: football, handball and ice hockey. To expand our audience and do something truly new, we wanted to extend that offering. The result was our new Formula 1 service, launched in March 2022.

Our F1 service enables both new and seasoned fans of the sport access to:

  • Live predictions of who will win the races and world championship.
  • Live position of the cars on a race map (usually 30 seconds before you see it on TV).
  • Video clips of overtakes, pitstops and other key incidents from the race.
  • Journalistic coverage on what’s going on, both on and off the racetrack.

When we launched our service, F1 was the world’s fastest growing sport (199% fanbase growth from 2020 to 2021).

However, the project started out with three fundamental questions:

  • How can we engage younger users?
  • Where can we invest our efforts to show long-term growth potential within our markets?
  • What can we do that others have not yet perfected?

These questions led us into a very open product discovery process, including multiple sports. But in the end, F1 stood out as a golden opportunity for us. Here’s why:

F1 engages younger users

According to research by the motorsport network, 63% of F1 fans are 34 years or younger. Much thanks to the Netflix show Drive to Survive, F1’s fanbase is close to that of e-sports in terms of demographics.

We see long-term growth potential in our markets

The main hype around F1 has not been driven by a Swedish or Norwegian rising star. Hypes based on an individual do not necessarily guarantee the popularity of that sport beyond the success of the national star. F1 has become popular as a sport, although there are key individuals boosting that popularity as well. The F1 articles in VG and Aftonbladet also showed a growing volume of unique readers per article.

Despite the sudden hype, F1 is an old sport, with a significant and loyal fan base in our markets, especially in Sweden, a country that has fostered a total of ten F1 drivers throughout history. The combination of it being a proven sport, with a clear format, with a fresh new hype connected to it, gave us faith that it was worth the investment.

Great potential to do something that others have not perfected

If you want to make a new live football service in 2022, you are in for a tough fight. E-sport is efficiently captured by Twitch and YouTube, golf has the PGA Tour app. Tennis is available in multiple services. Because of the limited interest in F1 until recently, there are few live sports services that cover it. Looking through our Schibsted lens, this was a wide-open blue ocean in front of us.

The end-product and results

So far, F1 is generating 600,000 monthly user sessions, and we have established ourselves as a go-to destination for the sport. After 15 Grand Prixes in 2022, we’ve reached about 150,000 unique users and 400,000 page views on average, per Grand Prix. Although we are very happy with these numbers, and they exceeded our targets by about 15%, we still believe that the real potential of F1 lies ahead of us. There are users who are still discovering that we have launched a new sport, even though there are no Norwegian or Swedish drivers participating (yet!).

Tord Overå
Product Manager, Schibsted Sports Platform
Years in Schibsted: 1.5