Red Bull F1 lead boosts energy drink sales

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 5, 2023.

Amanda Perobelli | Reuters

Red Bull Racing’s dominance in Formula 1 this year translates directly into higher sales of the named energy drink, team principal and CEO Christian Horner told CNBC.

“There’s an old saying, ‘Hit on Sunday and sell on Monday.’ Well, what we do for the Red Bull brand, for the energy drink in advertising the product around the world for 23 race weekends a year, we are the biggest marketing influence of its ‘ beverage company,” Horner told CNBC’s Sara Eisen in the documentary “The Inside Track: The Business of Formula 1.”

The Red Bull team, which also counts a tech giant Oracle as title sponsor, has set the grid down this season, winning 19 of the 20 Grand Prix weekends so far. His world champion driver Max Verstappen has taken the checkered flag on 17 of those wins, with team-mate Sergio Perez collecting victories in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.

Verstappen already won the 2023 drivers’ title – his third world championship – in early October on the 17th Grand Prix weekend of the season, in Qatar. The Red Bull team won the constructors’ championship the weekend before, in Japan.

The drivers will take to the track again on Sunday in Las Vegas before the season ends at the end of this month in Abu Dhabi.

Red Bull declined to share specific sales figures, but a company spokesman reiterated F1’s “rise” and said it is particularly evident in corresponding race markets.

“They see it, they can measure it. It’s amazing the amount of Red Bull consumption that’s happening,” Horner told CNBC.

Inside Track: Formula 1 Industry Cold Open

Red Bull is the second most popular energy drink brand in the world, with a market share of 13%, according to Euromonitor International data. It runs only Drink Monsterin his name, which has 16.4% of the global market share.

But the market for energy drinks has become more crowded, putting pressure on Red Bull. The company’s market share has slipped from 13.5% in 2021 to 13% this year as newer players, such as PepsiCoenter the category.

In recent years, drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi have both set their sights on the fast-growing energy drink sector – with varying degrees of success. Soda consumption has declined over the past two decades, but sugary energy drinks have resisted the trend due to their caffeine content and associated side effects.

Coke launched its own energy drink in the United Kingdom in 2019. But Coke Energy failed to catch on with US consumers; the company discontinued the drink in North America in 2021, about a year after its launch.

Coke rival Pepsi has found more success through deal-making. They bought Rockstar Energy for $3.85 billion in 2020, gaining ownership of both the company’s namesake energy drink and fast-growing Sting Energy.

Last year, Pepsi took in a $550 million dividend Celsius, which markets itself as a healthier energy drink that boosts workouts. These deals are in addition to efforts such as Mountain Dew’s move into the energy drink category and the addition of caffeine to Gatorade.

Find playback times of “The Inside Track: The Business of Formula 1” on CNBC.

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