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Malaysia considering dropping Grand Prix

NEWS STORY
24/10/2016

Malaysia sports minister admits race could be dropped as hosting fees rise and interest diminishes.

According to the New Strait Times, a special meeting is to be held with the major stakeholder in the Sepang International Circuit which first hosted a round of the world championship in 1999.

It is claimed that as hosting fees continue to rise 10% year on year, ticket sales have declined since 2014, sales consistently falling by 10%. By contrast, Moto GP consistently sells out, with this weekend's event expected to attract 90,000 spectators.

"When we first hosted the F1 it was a big deal," tweeted sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin. "First in Asia outside Japan. Now so many venues. No first mover advantage. Not a novelty.

"F1 ticket sales declining, TV viewership down," he continued. "Foreign visitors down because can choose Singapore, China, Middle East. Returns are not as big.

"For the record I still think we should host MotoGP...1) Cheaper fee and cost, 2) Sellout crowd, 3) We have riders in Moto2 and 3."

Meanwhile, Razlan Razali, chief executive at the Sepang International Circuit, claims this year's TV viewing figures of the race were the "worst in its history".

"Maybe it will do Malaysia good to take a break," he said. "I think the product is no longer exciting, it’s being dominated by one team."

While admitting that there is a "watertight" contract to hold the race until 2018, Razlan insisted that a meeting has been convened to decide its future.

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1. Posted by metalhead, 30/10/2016 13:11

"Hate to tell F1 fanatics but its not just in Malaysia. Stale corporate atmosphere, continuous controversies, rule changes (in mid season-how crazy is that) all play into a sense of indifference. Interest is dwindling worldwide and while they have a strong following within a niche market the concept of F1 being a world class sport with corresponding ratings and interest is fiction. Its a fringe hobby and they should focus on keeping those few fans happy. It will never be what it wants. "

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2. Posted by scf1fan, 25/10/2016 0:36

"This is actually . . . a good thing. As long as people have money and are willing to spend whatever it takes to buy into a market, they will drive the price of the item up beyond its real value. I.E. It's a seller's market; which then in turn allows the seller to demand things from the existing market base. For F1, Bernie & Co., when nations/states finally become less willing to spend their citizens' money to buy into the "F1 aura," prices will need to become more reasonable for everyone.

@NS Biker - I think that many Asian societies are more "bike" centered than "car" centered. The U.S. is probably the most car centered, but generally speaking, we don't feel a great need to participate in the "Euro-centric" F1 as a society. The U.S. "Masses" would rather watch Ford, GM, and other brands the majority of us can afford go at it every weekend at a much more affordable cost. "

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3. Posted by NS Biker, 24/10/2016 16:58

"Interesting that in areas like Malaysia (and Europe) that Moto GP can go head to head with F1, at least from the country's and circuit owner's perspective.
Makes sense as the track has to survive on ticket sales and the hosting country sees benefits through foreign visitors.
There is so much talk about more races in the US, but I understood that this was the only race on the calendar where the "hosting fee" was not paid for by the hosting country. That is unless you recognize Texas as more than a state.
Until the local benefits meet the costs to put on a race, not likely we will see any expansion into the US. Watkins Glen is a great place for a race, just unfortunate that it isn't going to happen."

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4. Posted by Ro, 24/10/2016 16:55

"And when SKY gets sole rights to broadcast the races, TV viewing will not just diminish, but completely disappear. There are to many races, its so expensive to go to the tracks, and the cars are not as exciting as before."

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5. Posted by GrahamG, 24/10/2016 15:28

"No surprise and I'm sure that other marginal and "created" events will eventually come to the same conclusion.
One more nail in the coffin ..... "

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