Sure, the winter season is dull now that Ferrari pulled the plug on Wrooom but that’s what happens when a marque decides that it wasn’t money well spent. Recall, if you will, the days of winter frivolities involving Ferrari drivers and luminaries of the sport. Those days are gone like so many car launches but that’s the knock-on effect of the 2008 global financial crunch.
These days there is very little that happens in the off months from a fans point of view but don’t tell that to the teams, they are generally working their tails off trying to get the new car ready for the season-opener in Australia.
Just the same, most every conceptual idea I’ve hear F1 boss Chase Carey or F1 marketing honcho Sean Bratches discuss is how F1 might utilize NFL’s moxie in building a bigger audience, generating more excitement and gaining more viewers…never mind that the NFL viewer numbers are woefully off from years past.
We want a super Bowl experience, we want streaming like NFL (still haven’t been able to sign up for F1 TV Pro which they said will launch next weekend), we want NFL-style social media impact. Now they want NFL drafts in the winter months to “spice up the show”—if I hear that term one more time, I’ll puke.
“One of the ambitions we have is to figure out how we make this sport something that engages the fans 12 months a year,” he said.
“But it doesn’t mean we will race [that long] – our season is not going to go [to] 12 months.
“One example would be the NFL, which is not playing right now but they just had the NFL Draft. That is a big event.
“They have created events that are interesting for fans even when they are not in the season.
“So we would like to determine – how do we create more interesting things for fans, whether it is unique competition or unique events, or things that are around the sport that continue to build interest and enable fans to engage more?”
Now, to be fair to Chase, he’s not saying they are interested, necessarily, in an actual draft system but perhaps some sort of off-season event that generates the kind of buzz. The NFL draft in the US usually creates a lot of coverage and fan interest.
I’d suggest that’s worth studying because I grew up watching and loving football but haven’t watched in the past few years and the draft holds no interest for me…didn’t watch a second of it. Sure, NFL diehard fans did but if F1 hosted some sort of off-season event, would casual fans be engrossed? Not sure. Those that do love football (NFL) are certainly glued to the draft system, though.
I still understand and appreciate his desire to build year-round excitement, though. Just not sure what kind of event they will develop. Not everyone is into Fantasy sports so what could F1 create to keep fans pre-heated and possible fans intrigued throughout the winter?
I will suggest that car launches used to be a media pull but those went away in favor of online streaming launches and they just don’t carry the same weight as the big events used too. Hard to argue with because those cost a lot of money to host.
Maybe if they really want to embrace eSports, they could host a winter season with all the drivers participating in a eSport event with their teams and have a virtual season. There would be a way to get reserve drivers involved, make a multi-race weekend with both drivers, the reserve driver and one lucky fan to make up the team in which four rounds would be held and the results an aggregate time/position.
Fans around the world could tune in to watch the races, here the live audio and see teams work in a virtual environment. Heck, if new formats and elements work well, translate those to the real world. Just an idea. No teams or drivers would have to fly around the world to do this so the commitment would be quite a bit less. You could even give points or winners are given bonuses of some sort that translate to the actual season when it starts. Again, just spit-balling here.
What do you thin Chase and the folks could do to make the off season more engaging?
Hat Tip: Autosport