How should we adapt and evolve? That was the question posed to me by Mercedes AMG Formula 1 Team on social media. I have been following Formula 1 since I was a young girl and it’s a sport that I adore so this question is very important to me. The answer to the question is a multi-pronged one which I will in detail in a series of posts. This first post is an overview of some of the areas that I’m going to cover in detail in later posts.
Formula 1 was built on principles of exclusivity and being the best of the best. When Formula 1 first came into existence the exclusivity of the sport was accepted because it made Formula 1 special but now it’s slowly killing the sport and its appeal to the sporting viewers around the globe. The exclusivity is now viewed as an indication of greed, shady backroom deals, and corruption. The sporting public has now turned off the Formula 1 grands prix because of the three things mentioned above, high costs of attending a grand prix weekend, lack of free-to-air television coverage in many countries as a result of the expensive television contracts that must be signed by stations in order to broadcast Formula 1 races which force stations to charge people for access to the on air product, a sub-standard, archaic digital media presence in Formula1.com, and the on-track product suffering greatly over recent seasons.
A delicate balance must be maintained between the exclusivity that makes Formula 1 special and granting greater accessibility not only to it’s fan base but also the casual sports fan who is just starting to develop an interest in sport. This is going to take some work and involve changes because without the fans the sport will eventually die.
The sport needs to find ways of giving the paying customer that comes to a grand prix weekend more value for their money. Right now, if you look at the total cost of a grand prix weekend and the activities that are currently offered; it not a good value for the customer. This must change or attendance figures will suffer.
As of today, Formula 1’s digital media presence is substandard and archaic. Formula1.com has a host of usability, functionality, and reliability issues. It also has limited content. Formula 1 needs to have a much greater digital presence on the mainstream and not so mainstream digital platforms. Make the sport’s fan base feel like they’re truly connected to the sport while making the access affordable. Formula 1 can also use it’s digital media presence to bring its product to the fans at an affordable price no matter where they are.
In an ever-changing sports landscape, Formula 1 must continue to improve its on-track product in an effort to stand out and be appealing to a sports fan with a multitude of choices. They must also continue to be “the pinnacle of motorsport”.
I will present some ideas on how Formula 1 can adapt and evolve in the areas mentioned above and other areas in future posts. How well Formula 1 adapts and evolves will determine whether the sport grows and thrives or slowly dies and gets resurrected in the future.