Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Don't be fooled by the rocks that I've got - Formula Rocks at Singapore hits the high notes

Published by Mr. C

New York Times writer Brad Spurgeon penned an article for his column on Saturday, where he describes his visit to one of the "F1 Rocks" concerts taking place in Singapore during the course of the past F1 race weekend.

Brad points out that there wasn't an awful lot of synergy between the F1 action and the musical events. The two were situated a significant distance apart from each other, and at times managed to clash such that fans couldn't attend both simultaneously. This insight sparked a big debate in the comments as to the merit of such matters. Somewhere along the line though, I think the point of F1 Rocks seems to have got lost on everyone, Brad included, and from what I've seen and read it should be considered a resounding success on all counts.

Went from a low to a lot this year

First a bit of background, as to what exactly F1 Rocks in Singapore entailed.

The event was put on as a joint venture between LG Electronics and Universal Music. Headline artists included Beyonce, No Doubt and Black Eyed Peas. 30,000+ fans attended three concerts all held at Fort Canning Park, which spanned Thursday to Saturday and which was all done and dusted prior to the F1 race on Sunday.

In addition to the concerts, the biggest of which saw 9,000 people watch the debut performance by Beyonce in Singapore, a television package of the event has been sold to nearly 200 broadcasters. The package includes two, one hour long shows, the first focusing on F1 racing and the second on musical performances.

In short, this event was huge.

I stayed grounded as the amounts roll in

One of the key things with big events, is that they cost a lot of money to put on. Primarily this is due to the amount of infrastructure, security, and local authority engagement required. Even if F1 Rocks has little or nothing to do with Formula One, staging both events simultaneously will offer organisers certain economies of scale, simply because the city is already being disrupted thanks to those pesky cars running up and down the city streets.

Furthermore, Formula One is gaining massive exposure into markets normally ignorant to it's existence. Audiences who likely have only heard the term F1 in association with a certain singer and her boyfriend, this weekend had the phrase "F1 Rocks" thrown down their throats repeatedly. The immediate association isn't in the slightest bit important, brand awareness is what this endeavor is all about, and I really believe it's working. For a long time we've argued racing needs to look beyond its core fanbase and spread the (now very high) rear wings to markets new. That is exactly what LG are trying to help Bernie/FOM/CVC do here.

In addition, LG has managed to position the F1 brand into online spaces less ventured, including but not limited to an official DailyMotion page (yes online video) and live tweeting from the event. The official homepage goes even deeper into social networking spaces, with Facebook and Spotify integration too.

F1 is winning in other ways too. As we reported on Saturday, the paddock was teeming with fresh faced celebrities. Again, offering exposure not only to the artists involved, but fans of the artists who may be curious to find out where the heck found those huge, huge rear tyres. Watch out for a set of green-striped Bridgestone's appearing in an episode of Pimp My Ride sometime soon.

Rockin' this business

To a certain point, I do agree that things could have been slightly better. A night race was the ideal venue to debut this concept, but it did mean that in order to run qualifying and a night time concert, fans were denied the opportunity to enjoy both spectacles. I can see at a future Grand Prix this won't be such of a big problem and no doubt lessons have already been learned.

I truly believe that efforts put into organising such a tie up - which in my mind makes a great deal of sense - should be recognised. The sport has to expand, and it won't get everything right all the time.

I'd like to think Bernie gained something from this too. Even if if was only a fatter wallet for now, at least there will be more come.