The announcement that Zak Brown will be stepping down from his post at JMI has some arguing the case that he’s clearing his CV for a new post in Formula 1 working with Liberty Media’s Chase Carey. Two Americans running F1 alongside Bernie Ecclestone.
That would actually change how I describe the sport I love from, “oh, it’s a British racing series that races in Europe and around the world” to “Oh, it’s an American racing series that barely races in the US but you should hear the…actually, you should go to all the rac…it’s really cool”.
It’s like saying that NASCAR is an American racing series that has one race, the Daytona 500 (actually, folks who dislike NASCAR might really say that but NASCAR fans wouldn’t). The NFL is a American sport with one game, the Super Bowl.
While not denying the rumors flatly, Zak did take time to speak with the delightful Peter Windsor to discuss his reason for leaving JMI/CMS and where he believes F1 can grow. You may be interested to know, which I actually just said in my post earlier this morning, that he doesn’t believe sanctioning fees are the biggest growth potential for F1 in the long term.
The fact is, merchandising is a large, very pronounced blip on his radar screen and something we’ve discussed for years on FBC podcasts…recall us making the $100 carbon fiber key fob a household name around FBC? If you’ve been listening a while, you will.
It should be ubiquitous, not an attempted margin haul like the wine business. It never made sense to me that shirts and hats for F1 were so expensive when they do nothing but advertise for the team and sponsor. I might like a piece of Daniel Ricciardo’s front wing but to be honest, a damned hat for $20 would be a much nicer piece of gear as I don’t have $600 to spend on a chunk of front wing.
Zak has a very measured approach and that’s most likely why he’s been a terrific advocate for motorsport and very successful at it. I think you may enjoy his thoughts and if anything else, it’s good for us Americans to get a good dose of Peter once again.