One of the world’s biggest sporting platform, Formula One has been on a declining spree for the past few years. Television audience has spiralled downwards from 600 million to 400 million in the span of 10 years. The move to pay television too has not gone down well with fans. The lack of excitement, thanks to the newer budgeting rules keep making the sport boring with each passing years.
So how can this new 150 million pound deal with the Dutch alcoholic beverage giant Heineken come to its aid? Is it just another tie-up to add corporate logos to a sporting event or a move for the greater good? Does Formula One stand to gain anything? No, the Heineken has not spent the last two years courting Ecclestone for a mere branding exercise and beer bar at the F1 circus.
Look at how they have changed the way the world sees the UEFA Champions League where the campaign managed to reach more than two billion people this season. Social Media has been a side where Formula One has never been very strong at. That’s where Heineken will be channelling its energy at. F1 is very nascent in Africa at present and has just started spreading its wings in Asia. The deal can certainly help the sport reach a wider audience base in these continents.
Every deal comes with controversies and so does this one. Many heads have been shaking in disagreement over this multi year deal as an alcoholic brand seems to be against Jean Todt’s road safety campaign from his helm at FIA. However, that is just one aspect of the deal. Trying to drive in the message, the Canadian GP was the first of many which shall carry boards talking about ‘If you Drive, Never Drink.’
Of course Heineken will not be entering the Formula One bandwagon to just talk about the problems with drunk driving. They being a business entity have to keep their investors happy with results and that is what they will be trying to do here as well. But hopefully in a more responsible manner.