Nathan Baugh Profile picture
Mar 21 19 tweets 6 min read
Formula 1 is a $13 billion global behemoth.

But — until 2019 — it failed to crack the US market.

Then it launched Drive To Survive, the most effective content campaign in history.

Here’s a breakdown:
In 2015, the former CEO of Formula 1 summed up the sport’s approach to marketing:

“I’d rather get the 70-year-old guy who’s got plenty of cash. So there’s no point trying to reach these kids.”

As great as that strategy sounds, it failed.

Then Liberty Media bought F1 in 2016…
Liberty’s first order of business? Addressing the ‘US issue.’

“The sport had long attracted premium advertisers in Europe, but failed to find an audience in the US.”

Liberty’s idea – position F1 as a content company.
2 years later F1 announced a deal with Netflix for a docuseries.

It got little attention and many in F1 thought it was dumb.

The two biggest teams at the time (Mercedes and Ferrari) refused to participate.
Red Bull was the only top team to participate in S1.

A blessing in disguise.

It forced the producers to focus on:

— The championship battle
— The mid tier
— The bottom tier

Giving viewers a relationship with all 20 drivers.
Storytelling is about maximizing tension and conflict.

And Formula 1 is set up to do just that, in a unique way.

There are two dynamics to watch:

— Tension between teammates
— Tension between teams

Let’s talk about each.
Tension between teammates:

Only one other driver has the EXACT SAME car as you – your teammate.

If someone else beats you, you have an excuse…

But if your teammate beats you, he was simply better than you.
In fact, there are 2 championships — one for Individuals and one for Teams

This creates a fascinating dynamic between teammates:

— Verstappen / Ricciardo
— Hamilton / Bottas
— Leclerc / Vettel

As a viewer, it’s incredible TV.
Then you have the dynamic between teams.

With only 10 teams, finishing 1 or 2 spots above or below where you’re projected means making (or losing) tens of millions.

The team principals and owners best show this:

— Horner / Wolff
—Brown / Stroll
Max Verstappen, the reigning world champ, recently accused DTS of ‘dramatizing’ F1.

He’s not wrong.

It’s the same tactic used by Hard Knocks and the Ultimate Fighter.

1. Identify season-long storylines
2. Magnify the drama
3. Profit

The results are staggering:
Since DTS launched in 2019, F1 has seen:

— 40% increase in US viewership
— 7 of the 10 most watched races ever
— the most attended race ever: 400,000 at the US Grand Prix in Austin

And F1’s doubling down on the US, starting with the Miami Grand Prix in 2022.
The success has translated directly to dollars.

Formula 1’s valuation has gone from $8B to $13B in just 3 years (63% increase).

Plus, teams are seeing an inflow of cash from the biggest brands in the world.
Less than 20% of Drive To Survive is actually racing.


In a sport where drivers wear helmets, seeing their faces and personalities drives more affinity for new fans.

F1 estimates the show has earned 73 million new fans 🤯
What shocked me?

Netflix actually pays Formula 1 a licensing fee for Drive To Survive.

Essentially, F1 gets paid to air one of the best commercials ever.

That’s brilliant.
I write about the business of storytelling, specifically within sports and tech.

If you’d like more content like this, follow @nathanbaugh27

Try my free newsletter to become a better storyteller yourself:
Drive To Survive has been the most popular show on Netflix the last 2 weeks.

With F1’s first Grand Prix happening yesterday, that’s perfect timing.
I’m going to do a deep dive in my newsletter. We’ll also get into the upcoming golf and tennis docuseries.

Subscribe here:
Drive To Survive has meaningfully increased the number of women fans of the sport.

Pretty cool stat from @AutoweekUSA:

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More from @nathanbaugh27

Mar 8
Equity is the most important concept in business.

Understanding that made 2 brothers $797 million…

Without a single minute of work.

Here’s the story of the greatest business deal in NBA history:
In the 1970s, there were two main professional basketball leagues in the United States.

The NBA & the ABA.

The two leagues co-existed for over a decade but the ABA was always the little brother of the NBA.
The ABA caught on with fans because it had a free-flowing game and things like the 3 point shot.

But by the mid 1970s, with the lack of a television contract, the league struggled.

Things came to a head with the 1976 ABA-NBA merger.
Read 13 tweets
Feb 21
Michael Jordan is the highest-earning athlete of all time.

But he’s made 20x more off the court.

THREAD: MJ’s 7 best investments.
1. The Jordan Brand

Launched in 1984, the Jordan Brand did over $126M sales in its first year alone.

By 1997, Nike spun it off as its own company.

The best part?

MJ gets ~10% of the brand’s revenue.
Here’s an example:

When Leo Messi signed with PSG, a Jordan Brand team, his jersey became the best-selling jersey in the world.

MJ made $6 million off Messi jersey sales.
Read 12 tweets
Feb 14
The Rock is building the fastest-growing tequila brand of all time.

It’s on pace to ship 1,000,000 cases this year.

But it launched in March 2020 and could have failed if not for one key decision.

Here’s a breakdown 🧵
1/ The Rock’s story is incredible:

• Miami football player
• Homeless
• WWE star
• Most popular actor in the world

Recently, he dove into entrepreneurship.

Teremana Tequila looks like his biggest win to date…
2/ Celebrity-founded liquor brands have crushed over the last 10 years.

• Proper No. 12, Conor McGregor – $600M exit
• Aviation Gin, Ryan Reynolds – $610M exit
• Casamigos, George Clooney – $1B exit

But The Rock knew nothing about the spirits industry:
Read 13 tweets
Feb 10
I asked, “What’s the best sports-related book you’ve ever read?”

I received 384 incredible answers.

Here are 20 books to master your mind and lead a happier life:
Can’t Hurt Me by @davidgoggins

How we can defy the odds & reach our full potential.
Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant

How Kobe approached basketball and life.
Read 22 tweets
Feb 3
Naomi Osaka is the highest-paid female athlete on the planet.

She earned $57.3 million in 2021, but $55 million of that came off the court.

THREAD: Naomi’s 8 best business moves.
Osaka has an insane list of brand partners.

But recently she’s gotten into equity deals and building her own companies.

The crazy thing about all this?

She’s 24…
1. Nike

Osaka won her first 2 Majors with Adidas before switching to Nike in 2019.

It went well, and off the court she became a megastar.

Nike came back for a second deal in 2021…

A full apparel collection and $10 million per year. Image
Read 13 tweets
Jan 25
Francis Ngannou defended his UFC Heavyweight title last weekend

From Cameroon to the streets of Paris to the top of the fighting world, his life is the wildest story you’ve ever heard.

A story of courage, determination, and genius: 🧵
Francis was raised by his mother in Batié, Cameroon.

His father was often violent.

Batié is a small town of 12,000 people, known for its sand production.

Many young boys grew up digging in the sand mines.

Francis was no different.
From the age of 10-17, Francis worked in the mines.

Cameroon didn’t provide free education back then

So Francis used the money to both support his education and his mother.

In 2019, he returned to where he used to dig:
Read 24 tweets

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