For­mula One work­ing hard on rais­ing its pro­file in the China re­gion

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

player in Chi­nese and Asian soc­cer.

The two par­ties said in a joint state­ment yes­ter­day that La­gardere would “iden­tify and se­cure strate­gic part­ners for For­mula One in ar­eas in­clud­ing event pro­mo­tion, me­dia rights, dig­i­tal and brand part­ner­ships, mer­chan­dis­ing, tal­ent de­vel­op­ment and rac­ing team de­vel­op­ment.”

For­mula One’s com­mer­cial manag­ing di­rec­tor Sean Bratches said fans in the re­gion had al­ready showed they were among the most pas­sion­ate.

“We are keen to build on this, de­vel­op­ing our brand through unique live en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ences de­signed to get fans closer to the ac­tion,” he said.

An­drew Ge­or­giou, chief ex­ec­u­tive of La­gardere Sports and En­ter­tain­ment, told Reuters ear­lier this year that the Chi­nese mid­dle classes could num­ber 550 mil­lion by 2022.

“So that growth is huge, 400 mil­lion peo­ple over 12 or 13 years with dis­pos­able in­come to spend on en­ter­tain­ment and life­style. That’s a proxy for the size of the mar­ket,” he said.

Ge­or­giou said La­gardere could help For­mula One tap that po­ten­tial by de­vel­op­ing premium lo­cal con­tent.

The Chi­nese and Sin­ga­pore Grands Prix are listed on the 2018 cal­en­dar with as­ter­isks as sub­ject to con­fir­ma­tion by the com­mer­cial rights holder.

For­mula One chair­man Chase Carey told re­porters last month there were no con­cerns and oth­ers have spo­ken out about the need for more races in the re­gion, with Malaysia drop­ping out af­ter this sea­son.

“We still aren’t where we need to be in China,” McLaren ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Zak Brown told Reuters last month. “You could have a race in Bei­jing and Shang­hai and I don’t think you’ve sat­u­rated Asia.”

China has yet to pro­duce a For­mula One race driver but there has been spec­u­la­tion that a pos­si­ble Chi­nese team could be po­si­tion­ing it­self for an en­try.

An uniden­ti­fied con­sor­tium of Chi­nese in­vestors was re­ported last Novem­ber to have made a £1.65 bil­lion (R28.49 bil­lion) takeover bid for McLaren Tech­nol­ogy Group, sup­ported by former boss and share­holder Ron Den­nis.

That came to noth­ing, and Den­nis an­nounced last week that he had reached agree­ment with the other share­hold­ers to sell his stake. – Reuters

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