Formula 1 is facing a fall of popularity. Since 2008, the motorsport category has lost around 200 million viewers. But not only that, attendance to the races has also dropped. Is there a way to save the show?
Indeed, Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion has blamed expensive tickets and reduced engine noise to explain this phenomenon. However, it is important to bear in mind that the drop in viewing figures also affects the assistance to the tracks. Malaysian Grand Prix will stop hosting the race after 2018. Canadian GP is not guaranteed either, despite Lance Stroll signing with Williams. Singapore Grand Prix is expected not to renew the contract with FIA, holding the last race next year. As if that was not enough, Brazil, German and British GP’s future hang by a thread. But since there is no point in crying over spilt milk, here there are some advice FIA could follow in order to enhance the sport’s popularity and figures.
Drive the show
People who attend the track events not only go there to see a two-hour race, but to get a remarkable experience. It is enough to have a look at the US or the British Grand Prix to see that spectators expect a wide range of activities beyond the actual driving. Imagine for a moment the amount of sponsors and partnerships a track or teams could get if, for instance, test drives would be offered by car manufactures, karting competitions would be organised for children, special stands would be promoting creative local products and so on. Not only would be the public satisfied, but also the competition itself would obtain more benefits.
Let’s not forget that sport is also culture in a way, hence the possibility of linking the event with music and arts is always present. At the US Grand Prix the different held concerts played a key role in spicing the weekend up. Regarding arts, there are loads of series and films, documentaries, TV shows around the globe that focus on racing, cars and adrenaline. What better way to release a trailer or a teaser than a Formula 1 Grand Prix?
Test drives would be offered by car manufactures, karting competitions would be organised for children, special stands would be promoting creative local products and so on.
Social media mode ON
At no time at history have we had more tools to connect people. Nowadays, users have many channels to interact with brands and people without time or space boundaries, albeit Formula 1 is far from seizing the full potential of social media. One of the things that users appreciate the most is interaction with their brands. Therefore, the importance of listening to the people, replying to them and playing with them will pave the way to fully engage them. For example, think for a second about launching sweepstakes so a Formula 1 fan can introduce the expected-results for a podium and earn points that may spell a prize at the end of the season. On the top of that, the idea of having a contest among the most devoted fans must be considered as well, so it may be a way to keep the users following the latest news.
Make audiences see you
Seemingly, Formula 1 does not need advertisement since it has made a name by itself. Truth is, with the emerging trend of making the Formula 1 a pay-per-view show, fewer people are getting reported about the category. Regardless of the presence of national drivers, the received coverage is a great deal lower than if it was a free-to-air show. With that I am not stating that Formula 1 should be a free content (football is not and masses still fill the stadiums). Nevertheless, the organisation should consider developing a content strategy so those who do not pay to watch the whole season, may end up attending to a Grand Prix. Being that only possible if the content they are getting is quite unique and worth the price.
In a nutshell, the new owners of Formula 1 hold in their hands the future of the competition. It is up to them to restore the trust of the fans, along with giving the motorsport people, their friends and newcomers reasons not only to follow the season through diverse channels but also to attend the show with a main attraction of a Formula 1 race.