Liberty Media’s Chase Carey attended his first Formula 1 grand prix this weekend in Singapore and he has big plans after just one event. That’s probably good news but you might feel that immediately thinking of cross-pollination with other brands the company is heavily invested in isn’t a big stretch. However, there is every chance that they acquired F1 for that very reason, to cross-pollinate and pump the business.
The groups investment in Live Nation is certainly on his mind as a way to make F1 even bigger for the entire week and he has a really good point as Christian Sylt discovered in an article at Autoweek:
“Live Nation is really about building, first and foremost, the live experience at these races. These races are tremendous events, and in many ways one of the biggest events to occur in the city and country in which they occur, and I think there is an enormous opportunity to make that event much bigger, much broader and appeal to a much larger audience happening throughout the week.”
“I think there is an enormous opportunity for us to really make these events something much bigger than they are today. They are great today, but I think we can take them to another level by adding all sorts of dimensions that are related to the sport and just related to entertaining people, exciting people and energizing people.”
Fact is, I am no expert in Live Nation’s business plan nor am I a multi-platinum recording artist but I am a musician and know many folks in the industry. What I think I do know is that the music industry is sucking mud from the bottom of the barrel it has already drained and the devolution of the industry may have started as far back as Napster.
Keeping an eye on the industry, most established, veteran music acts say that you can’t make money in the record business anymore or at least they can’t and the entire distribution network has blown up as well as artist representation, record label marketing and models for delivering product to consumers.
The money, it seems to me, is now being made on live events, merchandising and media. It used to be bands toured to promote album sales, now they release albums to promote tours and live events…not shows, events. The money is being put into the live event, not the marketing of album.
IF that’s the case, then Live Nation has been running that model for several years now and doing it very well. What if they’ve plateaued with that model and are looking for major sporting events to tie in with major recording acts and concert events to complement the entire week-long event?
There’s an interesting option here but I would suggest the challenge will be matching desirable acts with F1’s demographics as it is, at best, a multigenerational sporting series. If you consider Taylor Swift at COTA this year, that’s a bold move for an audience that most likely isn’t her demographic in the form of a F1 crowd. On the other hand, if you looking to bring a Juan Ponce de León quest to the sport and youth’ing the sport up, then getting major acts that appeal to a younger crowd may be the shot in the arm that F1 needs to gain traction with a younger generation. If you turn it into a week-long event with several live acts tied to F1, then there may be some purchase there and you may just build some currency with a younger crowd.
It will be interesting to see and I would argue that current F1 fans don’t go to see an F1 race because a band they like is playing on the Wednesday prior to the race but will a fan of the band stay until Sunday to watch a race?
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the intend to mashup their investments and use resources across brands to impact F1. In short, I think it’s a great sign that Chase sees immediate opportunity in making F1 a bigger event and bigger draw. After all, he’s a big picture guy and his time at Fox and News Corp certainly have imbued a serious amount of skill at seeing media opportunities.
Hat Tip: Autoweek