AMBUSH MARKETING – A DEBATE
How can official sponsors of sporting events prevent competitors from using the event for marketing purpose? ________________________________________________________________________
Malaysia with its big ambition has finally immerge as the first country in the South East Asia to have a Formula 1 track, second in Asia, after Japan. First the Worldcup, next the Olympic and Formula 1 is currently the third most watched live sporting event in the world. In fact, Formula 1 brings in much needed revenues to the countries. The most recent development has brought about the US for the Formula 1 races, and they has completed renovating the Bridgestone tracks to comply with the strict Formula 1 standards. Most important of all, the circuit brings in racing fans from all around the world as the sports are a part of tourist attraction in the country. Tourism has always contributed a large amount of Malaysia’s revenue and has brought much of the foreign exchange.
Proposed in 1994, Sepang International F1 circuit (SIC), is part of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) project. SIC is just not any ordinary racetrack, instead, it is a racing track with a veritable forest, complete with a peat swamp wetland botanical garden, a lake for water sports as well as orchards. The total built up area of the circuit is about 260ha, which started out in September 1997 and it was completed in 15 months later. The circuit has costed SIC RM286 million and was constructed by a German company Tilke Engineering, who did the A-1-ring circuit in Australia.
This SIC circuit is the only in the world has double frontage grandstand, which is nearly a kilometre long. The grandstand is capable of accommodating 30,000 spectators while its natural hillstand could accommodate 100,000 spectators. The fine design of the circuit has enable the visibility of the whole track up to 60 per cent for a spectators and this can only mean more involvement and excitement. The circuit offers the world best world-class facilities for rides in terms of garage and pitstops. There is also an operation theatre to handle minor surgery for inured drivers and give the drivers’ confidence over racing on the race track. The circuit is equipped with the state-of-the art electronic systems including on-line, real-time tracking system for the race cars. It is also the first track in the world to install the electronic Marshall post. In March 1999 SIC was the first in the world to incorporate the F1 logo in its name due to its excellence performance.
Recognition has been granted by The International Motorcycle Federation (FIM) and The International Automobile Federation (FIA) ever since SIC was built for the both the Formula 1 machines and could also accommodate the motorbikes.
The initial targeted benefits of Sepang F1 Circuit would be to gain international recognition and promotes the country, Malaysia the best world. Besides the image and publicity, such an event would draw many other benefits in many ways. As it was proclaimed by Malaysian Prime Minister, Malaysia could learn from technology related to engine design and production, the nation could also learn to fabricate their own car transmission system and especially the engine. Above all the target is for SIC to bring in revenue from foreign countries.
There are many critics surrounding the construction of SIC came from many quaters who felt that the SIC would not contribute to a healthier Malaysian economy. They said it had burdened the country as RM286 million was invested on a racing track alone. Moreover it is undeniable that the Formula 1 and the Grand Prix are amongst the expensive sports event to be organized in which for arch track that wishes to hold the GP will have to pay US$8 million (RM30.56 million) a race to the FIA.
Malaysia has bought the rights to be part of the World F1 GP for the next seven years. Malaysia Airports...
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