Formula One has announced partnerships with FanVision Entertainment and Fanatics, the SoftBank-backed apparel and merchandise firm, to improve the race experience for fans.
The global motorsport series’ deal with FanVision will lead to the creation of F1 Vision, a handheld device which will allow spectators to listen to live driver and team communications, and the Grand Prix radio broadcast.
As well as the live broadcast, replay highlights and direct audio feeds, F1 Vision will also tap into the Formula One timing system, providing fans with real-time race data and statistics.
Meanwhile, Formula One’s partnership with Fanatics will see the US-based company become the exclusive merchandise retail partner at race weekends and online.
The deal, which was first reported in January by Motorsport.com, will see Fanatics offer a wider range of premium products from Formula One and its ten participating teams, along with items specific to each Grand Prix.
Formula One says the new retail experience will make it easier for fans to purchase souvenirs over the course of the race weekend, with additional vending locations to be set up around the circuit.
“We have undergone extensive research at each Grand Prix, which suggests that fans are looking for a more streamlined retail experience,” said Sean Bratches, Formula One’s managing director of commercial operations. “We strongly believe that this partnership will improve the quality of the shopping experience at Grand Prix: enclosed tents, shorter lines, an expanded and improved merchandise range are all priorities for Formula One and for Fanatics.
“The net impact will yield an increase sales, both for Formula One-branded products and the teams. Of greater importance, we believe it will drive a lower friction fan experience, and that is our number one priority.”
Steve Davis, president of Fanatics International, added: “Formula One fans are among the most passionate and tech-savvy spectators in sport’s world and we are excited to offer them a new and improved multi-channel retail experience with a significantly expanded assortment of high quality products surrounding Grand Prix events this season.
“There are few properties in sport with a broader and more global audience, and Formula One’s fanbase aligns perfectly with many priority growth markets for Fanatics as we become an increasingly international brand.”