Monday, December 22, 2014

Talking Formula One

There's a fair amount of discussion going on with several commercial TV networks in Germany.....over the sport of Formula One racing.  For an American, it's the European version of NASCAR....except at higher speeds and probably more deadly.

The discussion is this......the number of viewers are decreasing.  This year, according to Focus Magazine, the best that each single race could do....was 4.3 million viewers.  If this were a German-only problem....folks would just accept that and not say much.  The number decline goes across the board (the UK, France, Netherlands, Italy, etc).

The peak, if you were wondering?  Well....2001 was the banner year when everyone was watching Formula One racing and Micheal Schumacher was the number one topic of German society.  Ever since 2001.....it's been on a trend downward.

All of this brings up the discussion of what happens at the conclusion of 2015 with the RTL TV contract with Formula One racing?  Less viewers means less profit.  The likely new contract between RTL and Formula One would involve less profit for the racing industry and some warning shots over what might develop for the next decade.....a lesser sport.

Before TV came along in Europe and really picked up Formula One racing in the 1980s.....it was a sport that people got into the cars and actually drove to a regional race.  From France in the 1960s....they actually ran their Grand Prix race on open regular roads.....which meant higher causalities and more accidents.....but thrilled the audiences gathered.  Folks decided at the beginning of the 1970s to go onto a more organized and safe format.....at developed raceways.  Some people believe.....the thrill of potential accidents....is what drives a fair segment of the audience to come.  I might debate that....but it's hard to say what the typical viewer is sitting and watching.

The end result will be a racing industry in some form of decline, and just not as profitable as they once were.

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