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Our Friends Electric: How Formula E is driving ahead in licensing

LicensingSource.net catches up with senior licensing manager, Charlotte Hughes, to find out how Formula E is looking to partner with licensees which can convey its core values into new product areas.

“2022 has been a great success for Formula E; sporting development, audience growth and new partnerships have provided us with a strong platform for long-term growth going forward,” begins Charlotte Hughes, senior licensing manager at Formula E.

“From a fan interest point of view, we sit at an intersection between racing and reason, providing highly compelling motor racing which showcases the excitement of electric motorsport, while also proudly being the first sport to be net zero carbon since our inception.”

The growing success and awareness of Formula E also provides opportunities to expand the licensing and consumer products side of the sport. Charlotte explains that her and the team are looking to align with licensees which can convey Formula E’s core values, extending the brand into new product areas while also joining the journey as the programme around the Championship develops.

Charlotte500x500“Our fans are socially optimistic and invest into brands that are environmentally and socially responsible, and this is key to us too when we look at the brands and licensees we work with,” she says. “We have a great platform of licensees, with the likes of LEGO and Hornby in the toy category, as well as bringing stichd (part of the Puma group) on board earlier this year to manage our online sales and at track retail. Apparel, accessories, toys and collectables, plus memorabilia will be a key focus area for the coming year.”

Getting involved with Formula E is a great opportunity for licensees to become part of a “truly forward thinking” sport, says Charlotte. “It harnesses the power of hugely compelling motorsport built intrinsically on sustainable principles,” she continues. “Our fanbase is growing at an exponential rate globally, as well as our broadcasting portfolio, and we’d love to align with licensees who can help us reach our growing consumers.”

The cars are powered by 100% green energy with the Championship implementing a new sustainable fuel in its operations.
The cars are powered by 100% green energy with the Championship implementing a new sustainable fuel in its operations.

It’s not just about the electric cars though – Formula E prides itself in having sustainability at the core of everything it does.

“This is reinforced by remaining the only racing series to receive third party ISO 20121 certification, continuing to set the international standard for sustainable practice in events,” Charlotte offers.

“Some examples of ways in which we do this include phasing out of single-use plastics at races, seeing a reduction of 300,000 single use plastic bottles at events; ensuring 100% of tyres, batteries and broken chassis parts are recycled after use; while the cars are powered by 100% green energy with the Championship implementing a new sustainable fuel in its operations – Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (essentially waste cooking oil) to power all the cars in Season 8.

Formula E is the first sport to be net zero carbon since its inception.
Formula E is the first sport to be net zero carbon since its inception.

“In addition, there is an optimised calendar with rail and road as priority, shipment of race critical items only, efficient packing and packaging and biofuel and carbon insetting for rail and sea freight to reduce logistics impacts.”

Brand Licensing Europe was used as a platform for Charlotte and the team to speak to prospective licensees across key categories, as well as demonstrating first hand what Formula E is all about and its ‘direction of travel’.

“We are in a strong position in our core categories, but as we grow naturally we want to develop the partnerships we have as well as working with licensees who can open up new product areas, territories or routes to market for us,” Charlotte concludes. “The long-term goal is to have a licensing programme which extends our brand to our fanbase globally in innovative and exciting ways, while supporting the growth of the championship.”

 

Formula E: Need to know

“The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is a single seater motorsport championship for electric cars, a sport which has been net zero carbon since inception in 2014,” says Charlotte.

“We race globally, on street circuits in city centre locations, such as New York, Berlin, Seoul and London. We have 12 teams competing next season (January 2023 onwards), including McLaren Racing and Maserati which is the first time they will have lined up next to each other on a grid since 1968.”

 

All about stichd

“We appointed stichd – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Puma SE Group – to design, develop and produce high quality sustainable merchandise, retailing via our global e-commerce platform, store.fiaformulae.com, and all race locations,” says Charlotte.

“stichd align with Formula E’s mission of prioritising sustainability and minimising environmental impacts, all products produced will be sourced featuring organic cottons and recycled polyester, meeting PUMA’s strict ethical, social and environmental standards.”

This feature originally appeared in the autumn 2022 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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