The last few days have been very busy, with final preparations before the flight out to Australia this evening. I did take a few hours off to go to watch the England-France rugby international at the Stade de France, which gave me a look at another sport, from the perspective of a spectator. It was not a great match, but it had a tense finish and a happy result for the anglais who had dared to invade France! The seats and view were terrific and were at a reasonable enough level to be a Christmas present from my girlfriend. It was a great gift and it reminded me that F1 fans must be VERY passionate to pay the prices they are asked to pay for their tickets.
OK, you can argue that you get a better class of person if you raise prices enough, and I have to admit that the people in front of us at the Stade de France were the worst advert I have ever seen for universal suffrage, but it was a great experience and I would happily do it once a year.
The game was a world class event, just as Grands Prix are, and rugby is a popular sport, and so the conclusion that I reached was that F1 tickets are generally overpriced, in comparative terms. This is not to say that the Formula One group should not get what it can for an event, but rather perhaps that local government should pay more, as it is the region that gains from all the economic activity generated by events.
Human nature being human nature, all the prices are hiked when the circus comes to town, and if the circus hikes its own prices as a result, the locals have only themselves to blame.
I will now leave you for 24 hours in the unsafe hands of the “F1 media” that would get lost trying to find the average racing circuit. Beware of stories suggesting Michael Schumacher will win the World Championship; or that Sebastian Vettel is going to ride to the North Pole on a llama called Maurice. That is about as likely to happen as someone paying $10 billion for the Formula One group… although there have always been schmucks in the world, and there always will be, so perhaps one of these banker types will be conned into believing that. Bankers can be very stupid on occasion, as the world has learned at its cost in recent years.
A long time ago when F1 first started dealing with City types I had a meeting with one of the big cheeses and warned him of the dangers ahead.
“Let me know if I’m going to get hit by an express train,” he said.
When, inevitably, that happened I could not think of a single reason to help the bloke… If people want to learn the hard way, who am I to stop them? And when I stopped to think about it, I could not remember any banker helping me out when I really needed it, without asking a disgraceful interest rate. So the train hit him, the venerable old bank for which he worked disappeared and all those involved duly popped up in other overpaid jobs some time later.