MOTORSPORT’S SHARE OF “NOTHING WILL BE THE SAME AGAIN!’
Times have without doubt changed – but so did the people.
I could not help smiling this morning when I saw a promo clip telling “people” that watching WorldWideWrestling on TV, was like bringing the sport into your living room. In this promo, the wrestlers actually break through the roof and windows to get into the family room, then dance with some of them before promising to tear each other apart.
Almost all other sports are promoting the “Virtual” sports thing where people compete against each other and where games are so realistic, the animated version is getting as exciting if not better than the real thing.
I watched a SuperCar race the other night – typical of my age – I avoided the E-thing like shows such as Tyd met Aleit, Konings van Kitskos, Casper de Vries and goodness forbid “The Glam Guru” they either scare me or irritate me shitless.
So, with really nothing else to see on TV sports that I have not seen a few times before – I clicked the SuperCar virtual race version and I have to admit I watched a few of these since then.
The virtual thing is as good, if not better than the real thing – it is relatively cheap and anyone can participate one or another level.
I am not telling you this to make conversation, but to warn you about a “new enemy” the real thing is going to have to face after this stupid senseless lockdown-of-everything ends.
Once we get out of this – we will have to dig deep to survive on a personal financial level, let alone on the sports side of things.
WRC, RallyX, GP and a number of other races are “OK” -as they are established and form part of life!
Rugby is also OK but only if they keep their massive sponsorships intact as the few thousand regular spectators can not carry the can for these expensive players.
Tennis and golf will also make it – but will find their revenue going down dramatically – tennis anchors onto Wimbledon where thousands will always go to enjoy the traditional strawberries and cream.
The Durban July will be held this year without spectators present – so…that almost certifies that the organisers or sponsors did not value what it was. Luckily they do not organise the Comrades Marathon because they would have tried to run it without athletes!
The show – the spectacle – the ambience and spectacularity of the July were what the July Handicap was – not the horse race. I watched the beautiful and mostly well-dressed ladies and laughed at the brave guys who allowed themselves to be turned into baffoons.
I always looked for that special thing that stood out in motor racing – like years back all I wanted to see was Stirling Moss and later on anyone driving a Quattro – even “ou Sarel”!
Now the promoters are telling people that it was OK to stay at home and watch!
They say that It was actually good for them!
Let us forget about the problems facing every other sport – and concentrate on what we currently have to offer the sponsors, the fans and viewers on rallies in SA.
I used to write in proposals that the “current adventurous human being wanted to form part of the sport, they wanted to be as close as possible without getting hurt.”
Look at the warning sign in the end – “as close as possible without getting hurt!”
You can actually drive a virtual car that feels almost like the real thing on a computer as hard as you wish and just hit the reset button, instead of lying still while they bandage, resuscitate and smear you with mercurochrome, after an accident. How much closer do you want to get?
The bigger worry is the advertising possibilities in these games!
Branding is more intense (clear) and visible on these cars – they can almost do with branding what they want – which means that sponsors will start allocating more money to get their brand out on the virtual circuits of Wonderland.
I pray you to tell me what we are going to offer sponsors from now on – after a lockdown that made millions of their customers realise that it is not the end of the world to watch almost anything “post-mortem” on TV.
There will always be a market for the real thing – we will never be able to replace the real actors and the real stars with animated people. We will always want to see a real champion and not a superhero with no clout in the real world – the world we really live in.
I have a feeling that these traditional superstars are going to start doing what rally teams and supporters have been doing for the past ten years – refer back to “the good old days” as far as fans and the mind-boggling pay-cheques some of them received. This will also start kicking in at the large companies where people are paid ridiculous money for sitting around – and pretend to run a company on their own. A banker who receives R72m per annum before bonuses – must one day please come to sit down and explain to the world how he or she can justify that!
Clever money will be applied where the customers can see it – in projects, empowerment, yes and still in sports sponsorships.
The same goes for all these overpaid sportsmen and women – I have a feeling that the days of milk and money for them will not be able to feed thousands of people – but will still be enough for what they really do.
Communities and empowerment are going to play a much bigger part with all companies. Government policies are going to prescribe more and more as we move deeper into their past-sell-by-dated idea of socialism and control, to protect misdemeanours – theft, corruption, state capture and treason. Most of all we will have to get the “money” which we did not have, to spend on any virus, back to cover the deepest hole ever.
I can really not see any pleasant surprises waiting for us all – not now, not within the next ten years, except if a party with SOUTH AFRICA in mind wins the election. Even then we will all have to work together to try and repair the irreparable damage done over almost 30 years.
Sponsors will use the fact that “good deeds” are rewarded and they will place more emphasis on charitable/social/community projects where they can control the publicity and exposure better than they can control a hero running around with a few million Rand of their money.
A sport or sportsman will have to have some special “fringe benefits” to offer a sponsor – like the Sainz name – that pulled off the Ferarri drive for Carlos junior.
What do I mean by that?
The regular Rallystar readers will remember the little story I told about Sainz on the Dakar. If you have not – go look it up.
Mark my words when I promise you that Ferarri sales will be going up in Europe especially with Sainz jr behind the steering wheel of their car. Why do you think Carlos senior has been elected All-Time Best Rally Driver? He has a following that Senna would have been proud of – and a political election in Spain tomorrow with him as a candidate will have only one outcome. Olé.
Cigarettes and liquor will never have to advertise in SOUTH AFRICA again, as it got more publicity during the lockdown than the virus itself. It out-sold cannabis, Heroin, Tic, Tock and ‘what the fork’ combined on the black market.
The public – this generation was made aware of the fact that few things (except cigarettes and liquor) are really essential – and many people did actually kick the habit of smoking and drinking while they had the chance.
I am not sure what happened to the sale of Cannabis drops, cookies and pills during this time, but thousands started baking their own bread, cake and many other things.
The traditional braai has turned into a homemade thing – with each and every one of most families doing their special thing – getting vegetables from their own gardens, bread from the oven… that “Saai die waatlemoen” song thing.
What I am saying is that the attitudes, the needs, the priorities of people, and especially that of South Africans have changed over a relatively short period of time.
We all realised that there are many things we can do without. We found new interests and placed new values on what we saw as part of life.
A visit to friends will have added value, a family gathering will be much closer, seeing a person’s full face will be more appreciated – in short life has got a brand new meaning to all of us.
What was important or a passion, was driven down the pecking order by the meaning of life and living. Being able to talk to friends, being able to see them in real life became the exception and not the rule.
Being able to walk into any shop, get something to eat from a restaurant, even while having to sit miles away from each other – will have new meaning.
But…people have also found a new safer environment in their own homes. Inside their private little cocoon – save from the viruses – safe from flying contamination. Safe in front of their TV sets and virtual game control panels.
…and this is going to be Enemy Number One for all of us depending on sponsorships to practice what we love doing.
We will have to find the answers and find them before 2021.
The sports disciplines and events that called a rain check for 2020 (this forking thing has stolen a year from our lives) and started planning for 2021 have a much better chance than those who are trying to force a half baked series or event into 2020.
Those who have sponsors willing to go it with them is a different story – obviously, they have to go for it and see what they can generate for the sponsor – as long as they do have some real ammo to fight with.
Games and events that are called off on short notice because a team member who practised with the team contracted COVID-19 will do more damage than ones postponed until 2021.
Sponsors will be adding some clauses to their agreements to cover them against such events, insurance companies will add a few more small print sentences.
I know you guys are as sick and tired of hearing that nothing will be the same again – but let’s have a last go at it for this hour – NOTHING WILL BE THE SAME AGAIN and you better believe it and get ready to handle it.
If ever there was a time to reorganise and put things in place – it is now. The slate is clean – the dreams are currently empty and the dreamers ready to listen to new ideas, ready to downscale on their expectations and look for new adventures – and we – the motorsport people of this world, will have to draw as many of them to us as possible.
We will have to come up with affordable ideas that will excite sponsors and fans alike – we will have to dig deep to get the right people into the sport to ensure sympathy from the sponsors and we also need to get characters back – not only to entertain but to build a new reputation around the sport.
That my dear friend is not going to happen in the mealie fields, it will not happen where people have to rush from place to place to see ten cars passing by, two minutes and a few seconds apart.
You will have to create heroes, people who are willing to generate the excitement the fan expects – and sponsors must be so excited that they see the value – the real value of every Rand they put into it.
This is a steep hill to climb especially with a mask over your mouth and nose that changes you into one of the people – the flock following the person ahead of them at a two-meter distance.
On my side – while Rallystar has come to a complete standstill I also have my own problems with Sun Carousel not reopening after lockdown – and with the land being up for sale.
Thank goodness at a serious price and according to my agreement, I will still be able to carry on for a while as my side may only be developed last. Problem is that all future planning we had for Rallystar is on hold.
The sponsored 4×4 track, the driver development, Super Special series, 50km Cycling route…all currently can only be done on computer! A virtual dream.
Proposals worked on, meetings held, negotiations of more than six months, time and money wasted and all plans gone with the wind.
Luckily – this will not be the first or I suppose last time in my life that things I have no control over do not work out – so I will probably go back to the drawing board and look at other options for Rallystar.
Then on the other hand – I have to face reality and admit that Rallystar and my role may have been played out.
I have been appealing for a week or two for small contributions from “our fans”, readers and supporters – to help me carry this load through very difficult times – but if I have to measure our value against that – I must consider closing my life long passion and dream down.
So few of you saw their way open to contribute after our appeal that I am actually embarrassed.
A good friend remarked that he thinks that people do not believe it when I say that we are truly in need of help, and that was why they simply did not give a Rand or two.
I sincerely hope his theory is the truth and can assure you that we really need some help though this time, as it seems that we will be without income for a period of five to six months.
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