Formula 1 improved its financials in the first quarter of 2021 as the sport remained on its road to recovery after last years' disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total revenue for the period running from January 1 to March 31, 2021 came in at $180 million compared to $39 million for the first quarter of 2020.
Formula 1 still suffered an operating loss in the quarter, but one that dwindled from $137 million last year to just $33 million in 2021.
As a reminder, due to the global pandemic, no races were held in the first three months of 2020, while F1 registered revenue from one race – the Bahrain GP – during this year's Q1.
A total amount of $44 million was distributed to teams in the first quarter while no monies came their way in Q1 2020.
Formula 1 typically classifies the sport's revenue streams into two categories: Primary F1 revenue and Other F1 revenue. The former includes race-hosting fees and sponsorship fees, but F1 has now reclassified "media rights", or broadcasting revenue, into its Primary revenue stream.
"During the three months ended March 31 2021, F1 began reclassifying certain components previously reported in other F1 revenue into primary F1 revenue to better align with the way it currently evaluates the business," F1 stated in its quarterly release.
"The more significant components that were reclassified into primary F1 revenue include fees for F1 TV subscriptions, fees for licensing commercial rights for Formula 2 and Formula 3 races, fees for the origination and support of programme footage, fees for broadcast rights for Formula 2 and Formula 3 races, and fees for advertising rights on Formula 1's digital platforms.
"Following the reclassification, other F1 revenue is primarily comprised of freight and hospitality revenue."
Formula 1 also stated that race promotion revenue in Q1 included a off-settlement, believed to have been triggered by the cancellation of the Vietnam GP.
"Primary F1 revenue increased in the first quarter with growth in race promotion, media rights and sponsorship fees.
"This was primarily due to the recognition of race specific and season-based income with one race held in the first quarter of 2021 compared to no races in the prior year period.
"In addition, race promotion revenue in the first quarter of 2021 included proceeds from a one-time settlement related to the cancellation of a race originally scheduled to commence in 2020. Media rights fees also benefited from growth in F1 TV subscription revenue."
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