Can WRC resist becoming just another motor sport series?
The 2014 season is almost over, only the spectacular Wales Rally GB remains on the calendar. We have the new champions, the same guys who clinched both titles last year, much congratulations to them. Despite the fact that this season is not over yet, many fans are already focusing on 2015, because of course they would – new season starts in little over 2 months in Monte Carlo. That really is not that much time; it is, if you cannot wait for season to start, and it isn’t, if you’re trying to come up with new concepts and ideas on how to improve the show and introduce some new developments.
Couple of days ago I provided some very elaborate and quite possibly not very feasible ideas on what might be added into WRC promotion package. As always, I skipped carelessly over difficult parts, such as financing and, well, financing, hoping (maybe ignorantly) that all those brands, investors and series’ backers, all being loaded with cash, can find a model which may involve additional investments, but which would return said investments through increased exposure and coverage.
I am also aware that the kind of promotion I “suggested” in my post is not the kind of thing a promoter would do. Instead, manufacturer teams or individual drivers are supposed to do similar features, promoting sport, their cars and sponsors in one go. The world we live in is not an ideal one, and in this world there is no friendship between big teams and brands, only competition. Not for points, but for cold cash. How do we expect different brands and teams to work sort-of together in making of WRC promotional videos? Can you imagine the shitstorm of conflicts caused by brands, logos and tech exposure between manufacturer A and B? “The logo of our main sponsor was not as big as logo of team B main sponsor and it was also visible for a whole second less!!!1”. We are taught that, in motor sports, there is no more camaraderie, no more common interests (unless it benefits a bigger PR picture, in which case, yes, yes of course), just the “every man for himself” concept. Every motor sport series is bent this way. But can WRC come up with something new and original, just because it is already perceived as the most down-to-earth (literally!) form of motor sports, with special bonds existing between crews, even if they don’t belong to same teams?
Rallying maybe needs out of the box thinking because it is an out of the box kind of motor sport. Maybe rallying needs creative and unconventional approach in promotion as well as in driving and engineering? Granted, they tried the unconventional bit with that shoot-out idea, but was it really unconventional? Or was it just a cheap attempt of creativity where there wasn’t any? Minimum effort, close to no investments, just because it might have been mildly interesting for a while? How about we keep the core of the sport in tact, leave its values and many virtues alone, because they are not broken. And then go wild with what can be done to promote those core values and traditional virtues. Do we really need to bend and twist WRC beyond recognition, just so it can fit some media format, even though this format has nothing to do with rallying? It’s cheap and lazy thinking. There is no creativity, and it’s hurting our sport. Why should WRC be just another motor sport, with big similarities to rallycross or circuit racing? Just because something works for those series, doesn’t mean it’ll work for WRC as well. It’s similar to how some may think the idea of “storage wars”, “tuna wars”, “gold wars” is an exciting one because it’s everywhere on those “science” TV channels? No, it’s not exciting, it’s lazy, boring, painfully staged and, frankly, insulting.
WRC does need promotion, but it also needs it now. Not at the next WMSC meeting, not early next year and then the year after that. It needs it now.
Disclaimer: I still do have
full faith in WRC Promoter’s ability and good intentions, hoping they know very well how to turn things around.