We all know that rallycross was invented by a TV producer for television. Over the last five decades television has come and gone from the sport. Across the world national and international championships have established different kinds of relationships with TV and rallycross is or has been a regular part of TV in many different countries.
The advent of YouTube, Facebook live and the other similar streaming services, has changed the landscape; it is relatively easy to publish moving images of an event but rather more difficult to create the kind of mass audience that traditional linear broadcast would have delivered.
In the last week or so Rallycross France has published a statement to say that it is working hard to put livestreams in place for its 2021 season, and almost apologetically made the point that viewers would probably have to pay to watch. Paying for this seems obvious to us. If you go to watch an event you pay for your ticket to get in, and also the travel to get there. So, in this current era when it is unlikely that events will be able to run with an unlimited number of spectators, why would you complain about paying to view a streaming service?
This stuff costs money and, in general, most national rallycross championships are not able to generate the kind of profits necessary to provide streaming for free. Of course there will also be a benefit, or at least potential benefit, to the championship and event organisers; their commercial partners will enjoy the coverage.
Providing a live stream in place of live spectators and a hospitality opportunities is perhaps the kind of stuff that may help maintain backing, it’s unlikely to increase financial support to the point where costs of the stream can be absorbed.
All championships are different, and so too will be the requirements on the management of each series. The way in which events are covered will vary and so too will access. Some may take the view that losing money but providing a free to access live stream is a cost worth taking, others may not even be able to consider that option.
For most national championships income from spectator tickets is not the biggest source of revenue, in general at national level the greatest portion of income is from entry fees paid by racers and whatever sponsorship can be gained. And in most cases that money is quite quickly consumed to pay for the costs of organising an event and maintaining the track.
There is not a one-size-fits-all solution here, largely because the way different championships run varies so much. In France most tracks are owned and run by non-profit clubs and rely heavily on the input of volunteers to maintain the track and organise the race. Just across the channel in Britain the standard model is for commercially operated race tracks for which rental fees must be paid. The business model is different and so too will be the measures put in place to provide fans with coverage of their favourite sport.
All of which is just a way of scraping the tip of the iceberg to offer you an explanation as to why some championships or events may ask you to pay to watch coverage of rallycross. If you are genuinely a fan of this stuff, you will at least understand why you are being asked to pay. Whether you actually pay up and watch is a personal choice, just as it is with Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV+, etc.« Previous Post Next Post »