How Roku and Formula E Set the Pace for Sports Streaming

Roku and the electric racing circuit Formula E have a relationship powered by potential, and it’s accelerating rapidly.

In June 2023, Roku announced its first live sports rights deal and joined Formula E as its streaming partner. Already coupled with CBS for linear broadcasts, Formula E sought a place where fans could find not only its races but also highlights, interviews, its behind-the-scenes show Formula E Unplugged and its women-in-racing initiative Girls on Track.

Meanwhile, Roku launched its Roku Sports vertical two years ago to help viewers on its platform navigate sports streaming fragmentation by pulling content for their favorite teams and sports into one location. It created zones for NFL and NBA content, launched an NBA FAST channel and, most recently, secured exclusive rights to Major League Baseball Sunday Leadoff live games for its Roku Channel to anchor its new MLB Zone.

Roku Sports is built to personalize offerings to fans based on their viewing habits and locations, which Formula E hopes will help like-minded viewers discover the circuit and drive growth. For Roku, meanwhile, live sports and the fan data they provide prove incredibly useful as the platform comes out of NewFronts more willing to share data from its 81 million households with partners, including demand-side platform The Trade Desk and measurement service

“What we’re going to do is a proper deep-dive workshop after the season to see what’s worked, what hasn’t, where can they help us, where can we help them,” said Aarti Dabas, Formula E’s chief media officer. “We said let the season roll out and see what user journeys fans are following, how they are discovering our product and what kind of fans are these.”

The partnership underlines Formula E’s innovative mindset as it heads into the final races of the season in London. Among new changes, Ellie Norman, who spent five years as Formula 1’s CMO and two with the Premier League’s Manchester United as its chief communications officer, will join Formula E as its new CMO at the end of September. That follows the recent announcement that Formula 1 owner Liberty Global would be purchasing a 65% stake in Formula E from cash-strapped Warner Bros. Discovery.

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