Over the weekend I joined the conversation over at Sidepodast that evolved around the fact that Formula 1 own corporate hospitability and advertising business ended up $3 million in red. Here Pitpass confused me a bit, as they say that Silverstone made as much money as Formula 1, having made 1.3 million pounds, while in another article they report that F1 has lost that money. Anyway, let’s assume Bernie’s business lost $3 million. Even if it made the same money, it is pretty lousy result for mighty Bernie …
Here I with my permission quote my weekend self :
I am confident that with a bit of fresh thinking that 3 million loss can be eliminated a turned into profit easily. But some fresh thinking would have to replace the greed.
So here are few bits that come to my mind without need for too much thinking:
1) Milking more and more from the race organizers – the favourite hobby of Mr. Ecclestone, this comes before motoracing
2) Facilities, facilities, facilities – If Bernie was talking about facilities for spectators, I would not protest much. I would for example like TV screens that actually are OK to watch (unless you are right next to the screen there is no way to read the names or times, or the latest invention to squeeze 16:9 picture into 4:3 TV screen on the track – Sepang), or perhaps food that is OK to eat or beer that is OK to drink (Shanghai). But these things are rarely or never mentioned. Most of the talk is always about the Paddock facilities … The fate of the race should not hang in the balance just because Mr. Ecclestone does not have room cool enough for drink with Flavio Briatore …
3) Ticket prices – While I understand that organizing Formula 1 race costs money, charging close to $1000 per ticket is mad. Unfortunately organizers do not have that many other options to recover their payments to Mr. Ecclestone …
4) Formula 1 merchadise – If someone looks for a definition of “ridiculous” when it comes to prices, the best place to go to look for a benchmark is the official Formula 1 store on Formula 1 website.
And now few of those fresh thinking suggestions:
1) CVC should get rid of Bernie Ecclestone sooner rather than later. Despite popular belief Bernie does not own the Formula 1 circus. He did his bit, now it is time to go fishing. Ross Brawn may be willing to give some tips for good fishing spots.
2) While I understand that the exclusivity and glamour is part of the Formula 1 attraction, F1 will be nothing if the fans run away. The more fans, the more revenue sources. Now the revenue comes only from people willing and able to spend a lot. Those who are not willing or can’t afford to spend a lot, spend nothing, because there is nothing to spend ‘not a lot’ for. OK, keep the carbonfibre keychains and mousepads in your merchandise lines for those few who wish to have them. But have something ready also for those who wish or can spend only a dollar or two or five. It should not be that difficult …
3) We live in 21st century and whether F1 likes it or not, web rulez ! F1 however still did not get it and tries to rule the web. Please wake up, it will not work ! The main reason why there is so much ‘illegal’ F1 video footage on the web is … guess what … no legal video footage. Free race highlits released by Formula 1 would not kill Formula 1. It would make the fans happy. Broadcasts from testing, Friday and Saturday practice sessions over the web would make many fans happy even more. There would sure be quite a few willing to spend that reasonable ! buck for pay-per-view online access or for season long package. The next step - full race video downloads. Technically these could be available the day after the race. If some TV rights holders do show replays in a day or two after the race, then OK, wait till Wednesday before releasing the race for download. But do it !
4) TV coverage is … very basic. TV coverage is mostly on free to air channels (although not here where I watch …). Keep it that way and available for everybody. But create a premium option with features similar to handheld Kangaroo TV (available at some tracks). The footage is available, release it to viewers, let them choose what they want to see, let them follow the drivers they want to follow, let them get the race data they want and anytime they want. And let them go for their bathroom breaks when they feel they need them. Do not force us to go when TV decides to show us Renault drivers in roles of ING private banking advisors or McLaren drivers as fighter jet pilots.
And final note – Do not spit into fans’ faces by getting rid of tracks like Silverstone, Monza, Spa … Yes, we want Formula 1 to make it to the 21st century finally, but some things have to stay !