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Fernley urges Liberty Media to consider franchise system

NEWS STORY
12/09/2016

Force India's Bob Fernley believes F1's new owners, Liberty Media, should consider the franchise system.

While the franchise system is a regular sight for us all on the high street, with brands such as Subway, McDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut, in north America it has been widely adopted in sport; basketball, baseball, gridiron football and hockey being the best examples. Indeed, one of Liberty Media's main assets is the major league baseball club the Atlanta Braves.

Put simply, the franchise system is about money. Those who have bought their franchise in whatever sport have the right to decide such things as where their team is based, where the nearest opposition is based.

The leagues contain a fixed number of teams who play each other season after season, there is no promotion or relegation as found in British and European football, for example.

If a new team wants to join, it is the existing franchisees who decide whether they want it, and the decision is based on how the new team can add to the business and profitability rather than little things like passion, excitement or flair.

Confirming the deal last week, Liberty revealed that not only would the eleven F1 teams be invited to invest in the sport but that a number had already enquired about such an opportunity.

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes a franchise system would be good for the sport.

"In my opinion, they've got to create a franchise-type of system," he told Motorsport.com. "It takes years to build an F1 team. Owners can come and go.

"What you need is the ability to create these teams and for owners to come in, enjoy them for a period of time, add value to them, or if they don't do a good job, take a loss. And then be able to transfer them on.

"It's the teams that are critical," he added, "because it takes so long to build them. People buy teams because they are obviously fully functional, but it has to be formalised into a proper franchise system.

"For me it's an exciting development," he said. "I think you could end up having the best of both worlds. You've got a unique product that has been created by Bernie, which is F1, and which is very special, and cannot be replicated anywhere in the world. On top of that you can overlay an American media company which can bring in the best sports marketing in the world. To me it has very, very exciting potential."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by TokyoAussie, 13/09/2016 4:41

"A franchise system would lock in the existing teams even more than they currently are. It can hardly be called a world championship anymore when there is no avenue for a new team to enter on merit."

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2. Posted by Jonno, 12/09/2016 22:55

"Okay Bob, put your money where your mouth is. Which teams would benefit from your suggestion? Oh, Farce India obviously. Could be a good way of replacing Vijay Mallya eh?
"

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3. Posted by Nortim, 12/09/2016 18:25

"Teams will never agree on anything so whats the point Mr Fernely?

Instead of pit stop to change tires, drivers will have to stop in McDonald's? 1 min time out (race stops) every 15-20 minutes for commercials? Super race at the end of the season? LOL

"

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