Formula E has made a bold step in making YouTube personality KSI (Olajide Olatunji) the face of their new YouTube streaming service in the UK.
KSI will be joined by podcast creator Laurence McKenna as the host of the stream. Formula E has taken a gamble in picking both KSI and McKenna to host the show despite having no motorsport background, but at the same time, it could be one of the best decisions the series has ever made.
Formula E’s ethos is about inspiring the next generation of motorsport fans, and to this, they need to attract the attention of today’s youth. The first plan to attract the younger generation into the series was the use of social media to vote for fanboost, but that strategy didn’t inspire new younger fans to watch the series, but having KSI and McKenna will grab the attention of millions of young viewers in the UK and across the globe.
“How?” you might ask. Well, KSI’s YouTube channel has 19 million subscribers channel with a primary demographic of 13-21 years olds. In October 2018 he received 25,976,400 views across all of his videos he had created in that month. Therefore having KSI linked to Formula E will bring over some of his subscribers over to watch how he performs on Formula E’s YouTube streaming service.
The aim is that some of those 19 million subscribers also take a liking to Formula E and will come back to watch KSI co-host the show and become fans of the series at the same time. Formula E felt that they needed to move into the YouTube market to accelerate the progress of younger viewers watching the series.
“We always try to push the boundaries of what’s possible at the ABB FIA Formula E championship – not only developing innovations with the cars on track but also with our experience and offering to fans trackside, at home and on the move,” said Ali Russell, FE’s media and business development director.
“Coming together with like-minded companies such as YouTube to provide new ways to watch electric racing is what separates Formula E from other sporting properties and rights-holders.
“Working in tandem with some of the biggest names and influencers allows us to grow our existing audience, which is primarily a younger and more digitally-engaged demographic.
“This partnership truly fits their needs and viewing habits.”
However, the decision to partner with YouTube and its most popular influencers hasn’t gone without its criticism from the purest motorsport fans. But this is what Formula E needs to do, as they don’t need to transform a petrol head motorsport fan into loving Formula E. They need to inspire the next generation of motorsport fans, and this is currently a fantastic way in doing that.
There are other ways that the series could attract younger fans, such as lower ticket prices for under 16’s and more advertisement on fun activities that younger generation would do in the Evillage before the sessions get underway. However, with the UK not having a race on the calendar, this is the best option for inspiring a new generation of younger fans to watch the series.