The new commercial boss of F1, Sean Bratches, has come up with a list of four key areas which he thinks need attending to.
The commercial side of F1 requires just as much improvement as the sporting side does, and in an interview with CNN Sean Bratches has revealed a four-point plan which he believes will help improve the sport.
1: The Brand
When you just want to watch good racing it can sound a bit dull to hear about stuff like ‘the brand of Formula 1‘, but it’s an essential part of the sport. An F1 that’s perceived positively will attract more interest from potential sponsors and partners, which in turn can help the sport grow.
“The brand is the entry-point for any company, any brand, any sport. And we are going to work to understand the brand,” Bratches said.
“We are going to polish it, we are going to elevate it. It is going to be really central to what we do. That will allow us to enter new market places. It will allow us to take out of the market place what we should on the commercial side from sponsors, from rights holders, to promoters.
Although Bernie Ecclestone did launch a digital channel for F1 before digital TV was really a thing, it didn’t work out brilliantly. Since then F1 has been really behind the curve with the way it utilises modern media, and Bratches wants to change that.
“I think there is a huge opportunity in the digital space to re-imagine the digital products that F1 has today, and to engage fans in very new ways and also to use sponsors to activate it.”
Under Bernie Ecclestone F1 was run like something of a dictatorship. It’s an approach that might have worked a few decades ago but Bratches thinks a more democratic approach to things will serve the sport better.
“The third [point] is creating a much more democratic approach in terms of how we approach our partners – from teams/sponsors/promoters and rights holders. There is a lot of opportunity to leverage the F1 IP to integrate it to their businesses.”
4: The Race Experience
The final key point is the race experience (which is basically a slightly fancier way of saying ‘the show’). Bratches said “Creating a better race experience that engages fans, spectators there and on television is a huge opportunity.”
He’s right as well. At the moment Grands Prix are expensive to attend and offer less in the way of access and experience than many other motorsport events. The TV pictures don’t exactly push boundaries either, with uninteresting camera shots and a lack of innovation in the way the racing is presented.
Making all of this more enticing to the average fan will do a huge amount towards increasing the overall appeal of the sport. Ecclestone wasn’t concerned with making F1 attractive to anyone unless they had huge amounts of money to give him, so it’s good to hear his successors saying they’re interested in actual fans – not just people who want to associate themselves with F1 in order to look important.