Excerpt from the Paddock Magazine
WHY FORMULA 1‘S SLOW TAKE ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS ONE TOO MANY CHICANES ON TRACK TO THE SPORT’S SUCCESSFUL FUTURE.
Romain Grosjean may not be the most salient Formula 1 driver on the grid, he doesn’t have hipster qualities as Hamilton does and he doesn’t have a championship under his belt like Alonso or Raikkonen. But despite a lack of star qualities, the Frenchman is a likeable and accessible character who enjoys the support of a faithful fan base around the world. On Facebook, he counts as much as 220,000 followers who were delighted when the Haas F1 driver used the new live video function to allow his fans to sneak a peek of the team’s filming day in Barcelona. Too rare are opportunities to catch a glimpse from behind the scenes of one of the most popular sports in the world, and apparently, they shall remain so. Grosjean was promptly asked to remove the videos – which received more than one million views – despite them not showing any confidential information or precarious insights. But FOM isn’t so concerned with confidentiality as it is with the protection and monetisation of Formula 1’s precious commercial rights.
Free content makes no money, at least not in Bernie Ecclestone’s view. But the Formula 1 veteran is not alone in taking a conservative approach. While many high ranked figures of the sport essentially know that social media is a thing out there, they tend to believe it is more a question of free and effective fan engagement than a measure with much financial value. They are fundamentally wrong. The sports industry is probably one of the industries that have been impacted most by the introduction and use of social media.
In this digital age and time the physical absence of fans does not mean that they don’t exist or aren’t interested, aren’t following.