Lando Norris is set to make waves beyond esports with ‘Quadrant’ venture

F1 star’s new esports team creates a huge commercial opportunity following a year of significant profile growth
F1 driver Lando Norris announced the launch of his own esports team named ‘Quadrant’, on the tail of a digital fanbase boom in 2020.
Nielsen Sports data shows that Norris grew his online following by 50% this year.
With 3.97 million hours, he is the most watched Formula 1 driver on Twitch.
Norris has crafted a niche for connecting with fans by engaging in diverse non-racing video games, as well as fun, humanised content.Quadrant forms a significant commercial opportunity, based on Norris’ expanded audience

Off the back of the launch of his own esports team ‘Quadrant’, Nielsen Sports social engagement data reveals that Lando Norris’ lockdown ventures on Twitch saw his profile grow exponentially in 2020. While the global pandemic put a halt to the sporting calendar, Formula 1 emerged as the leading sport in engaging its audience in the absence of regular events – F1’s reach was estimated at around 244 million at the end of March this year, when the sport first migrated to virtual racing. Norris, who saw his own digital following skyrocket as a result, led that charge. Nielsen Sports are the global leader in sports industry measurement, valuation and analytics, and have used their social engagement tool to study the impact of the McLaren driver’s activity, and the resulting commercial platform presented for Quadrant.

50% of Norris’ social media fanbase started following him this year, and his audience across the channels currently sits at 3.9 million. This is a significant rise considering there were no F1 races until July, and he has only achieved one significant (podium finish) result since.

Twitch was the primary platform for Norris’ lockdown ventures, where he now boasts 680k followers, 76% of which he acquired in 2020. While other F1 drivers followed suit by turning to e-racing on Twitch in the absence of on-track action, Norris’ diverse engagement saw him remain the most popular driver to transition to esports. He dominated video views with 14.6 million, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc trailed with 11.6 million, and Williams driver George Russel far off the pace with just 535k. Likewise, esports fans watched 3.97 million hours of Norris’ activity on Twitch, while only consuming 1.9 million hours of Leclerc’s, and 111k hours of Russell’s.

While the group of young F1 drivers joined in streaming motorsports games on Twitch to replace real-life F1, Norris was the most diverse driver in terms of games played. He built a community by streaming a multitude of multi-player, fun video games such as Golf It, Skribbl, Among Us and Fall Guys. The difference being that Norris has demonstrated a genuine awareness of fan engagement – he even shaved his head on a live stream for fans. As a result of this shrewd approach, Norris has grown himself a vital fanbase of unprecedented size.

Phelan Hill MBE, Head of Strategy and Consulting at Nielsen Sports said, “Lando has shown an ability to diversify his output and connect with fans on a genuine level during lockdown. The creation of Quadrant goes beyond the novelty of founding an esports team, we are likely to see it become a credible brand. It will be a serious commercial venture, that will draw interest of both partner brands and sponsors, as well as an engaged fanbase.

“We expect to see original merchandise and apparel, following the model of existing teams such as FaZE, who align themselves more as a lifestyle brand rather than simply an esports team. Something that truly connects. With the platform Lando has built himself in 2020, the sky is the limit. What is clear is that this is clearly something he is passionate about, rather than an opportunistic esports project.”

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