How many were there again?

15 Mar, '06

Empty stands at the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2006
“success” is quite relative it seems…

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cheap shot Mahmood. You give no details of which stand, or which day it was, or if it was before, during or after the race.
    On race day, while the stands weren’t comnpletely full, they certainly were a lot more crowded than previous years. Especially the Main, Oasis and First turn grandstands. I’d put the Main at around 80%, similarly Oasis and First turn around 65%. Definite improvement over previous years. Give it a chance, motor sport at this level is only three years old.

  2. mahmood says:

    if you had bothered to click the picture, you might have found more details…

  3. LiB Team says:

    Mahmood, when was this taken? I have pics of the qualifying day which was looking something like that, and the race day which had a lot of poeple, now I won’t say it was a full house. But for sure there was more than 80% attendance. Just wanted to clarify it.

  4. skribe says:

    I think I should consider enrolling at Bahrain U =).

  5. Anonymous says:

    M, you are, as usual, correct. If I had clicked on the pic, I would have got more information. . . but not answers to the questions of which stand, which day, which time ? Ok, I’m being pedantic, but the caption with the pic was just a little misleading, or even slightly biased. As LiB pointed out, on Saturday for qualifying, or even on Friday, the stands weren’t as full as on Sunday. Pictures don’t lie, but captions can be very deceptive.
    Mind you, I like a wind up as much as the next bod. . .

  6. mahmood says:

    I submit that the caption was a goad. However, the picture was taken and displayed with an article about the inaccuracy of the attendance figures, and the tribulations that the BIC must be facing in bringing in the punters as has happened with Malaysia in their experience in that they too do not have a motor-racing culture.

    We have discussed this several times in the past, and Martin Whittaker was good enough to respond to one of them.

    The thing that I realise now that their is a severe problem with the BIC in bringing in the people with ALL the good things that they have done espeically this year, which is no small fete.

    But regardless of what time in the weekend that picture was taken, as the stands were not full even during the F1 race as I’ve notice quite a swathe of blue in the television broadcast of the race in both the University and Last Turn grand-stands and possibly as well as in the First Turn, Main Grandstand and Oasis.

    This leaves me wondering anew as to the viability of such a venue, even though I am thrilled to understand that AllSports have signed a deal with Gulf Air to sponsor the F1 in Bahrain until 2010, that gives the impression that the BIC has an agreement to run the F1 event at least to 2010, which is a lot longer than people thought.

    Yes the caption might be construed as misleading. However it is not incorrect. How successful do you think the F1 event was in Bahrain? And how do you measure its success?

  7. Anonymous says:

    bahrain now has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. this is due to the F1. i think its made pretty clear that it was quite successful.

  8. mahmood says:

    how? what metrics are you using to ascertain success?

    people here know that I am a vehement supporter of the BIC… but tell me, I want to know, what metrics are you using?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would judge the success of the event by not only the number of ‘bums on seats’, but by the general good feeling of the spectators. They, generally, had a blast! The people I spoke to were genuinely enjoying themselves, and the racing.

    It’s worth reminding ourselves that F1 makes money from TV coverage. The TV shots of the main grandstand and oasis would have showed (I didn’t see the TV coverage, I was at the event) approx 80% full, with more spectators towards the left hand (race control) end of the stand, rather than the end opposite the end of the pit lane.

    As to the viability of the venue. The publicity that it has brought to the country has got to be measured in millions of dollars. Bahrain is back on the international map for the first time since the 70’s when Concorde first flew scheduled services to Bahrain. It’s up to the private sector to capitalise on this. The event has brought worldwide recognition to the country in a way that few other events or structures ever could. Dubai has the Burg Al Arab, and is now developing the Burg Dubai. I would be surprised if the Burg Al Arab has made a profit yet. I may be wrong, but as a symbol of Dubai, it doesn’t have to. It has done it’s job as a striking monument that is instantly recognisable worldwide.

    I believe that BIC has the potential to attract more and varied forms of motor racing and develop as an essential part of motor racing in the region. While there are tracks in Doha (Losail) and Dubai (Autodrome), Bahrain has the only F1 Grand Prix event. My view is that motorsport will grow regionally and the kudos of the GP will eventually spin off into the enconomy.

    I’ll get off my soap box now. Thanks for viewing.

  10. mahmood says:

    How many of those people who populated any of the stands there paid for their ticket?

    If I understand it correctly, the BIC or the host country does not make a single Fils out of TV advertising or anything that is broadcast. All the money pour into Bernie’s pockets through AllSports.

    If there is money to be made from broadcasting the event, it is if the host/venue purchased the rights to do so, and then sold that right on after adding its margin.

    I could be wrong as far as the advertising and broadcasting rights as I’m not familiar with that part of the agreement, and when I asked, I wasn’t given an answer as if this is a state secret.

    I know also that no event can be done before the F1 race without paying substantial sums to Bernie. Immediately after the F1 is completely different as the circuit more or less reverts back to the host country.

    From my understanding, I think I am correct in assuming that only the “bums on seats” tickets revenue is that that is taken by the circuit.

    If the metric; therefore, is expounding the values of the country and increasing the world’s awareness of its existence, then of course I am with you in saying that the event was indeed a success. 500 million pairs of eyes is a lot of eyeballs.

    However if the success measurement is the actual cash taken in by the venue and/or the country, then until we know what that value is, I’ll reserve judgement.

  11. Anon says:

    Mr. Mahmood,

    Just maybe, it would be a good idea to either :

    1. Make sure the Race Day is a holiday
    2. Or, ensure the Race Day is declared a public holiday

    It would certainly help the employees who can’t go coz of stingy employers.


  12. Anonymous says:

    we dont need to know what the actual value of cash taken in was. we know that it was a succes cos if it wasnt then the whole thing would be blown out of proprtion that the f1 was a COMPLETE fuck up – by the media of course.

  13. Adel says:

    I agree Mahmood a lot of the tickets where given for free, but they where paid for by the the companies like Vodaphone, Alba, etc. This year it was difficuld to get free tickets, I only got one. First time I estimate 50% or more tickets where free. Univercity,BDF,and most banks and large companies gave away tickets.Private sector I guess pay for these tickts but goverment I doubt it.

  14. Adel says:

    Agree with giving a holiday will help. Also a lot of Bahraini boys and girls don’t watch the race they just hang out behind the area behing the Main Grand Stand ‘migazal wi gazz’ which explains a lot of the blue area in the stands.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Myself and 5 other people I know had tickets, but we couldn’t go because we didn’t get a holiday. Employers made is a special point of not allowing anyone to take a day off because nobody wanted to go to work.

    I’m sorry but how do they still expect people to take seriously if it’s not a public holiday. If they’re worried about having too many holidays, why don’t you just cancel some of the useless ones we have…

  16. Angelo says:

    doesn’t bahrain pay something like 30,000 usd or even more to stage the race here? all of which goes to the grey haired gentleman…

  17. jasra jedi says:

    i think you would have to measure success by the bahrain’s ability to capitalize on the publicity and the media around the race to develop itself. burj al arab never made money in dubai .. it was a very expensive landmark that would never reallt pay for itself. but – dubai extracted many column inches of marketing and advertising form it to brand itself as a city of ‘firsts’ and ‘biggests’. so … what bahrain can do remains to be seen … what dubai is doing well is leveraging off the hype to enact laws re property sales, ipo markets and so on and so forth. bahrain needs to think strategcially about how it cna leverage off f1, and how it wants to position itself remative to its very rich neighbours.

    i will tell you one thing though. better for bahrain to be known internationally for f1 than for the rucus at the airport or dana mall …

  18. mahmood says:

    Angelo, you’d probably find that it is several factors higher than 30k for the privilege.

    JJ, yes agreed about the intrinsic value of holding the F1 here and the BIC has done an excellent job and this year’s surrounding activities were/are wonderful and hope they do more of the same next year.

    The contention however is that:

    1. most of those attending got their ticket for free, hence have no concept of the value of that ticket, nor the holding of the F1 circus here. They’re mostly having a day out.

    2. even with that, the stands WERE relatively empty. If as the people above attest is true and that is 80% occupancy for the Grandstand and the Oasis, I can see from television coverage AND from talking to people who have attended that the last turn, university and a sizeable portion of the first turn were hardly occupied. Given that those three hold probably more than 50% of the seating capacity, and given that the seating capacity in total is 40,000, I cannot reconcile the “over 77,000” attending the grand prix. Unless of course that is 77 / 3 which is 25k a day? Even then I would think that the figure is somewhat exagerated.

    3. It should be a national holiday, else get Bernie to give us a dispensation to run it on OUR weekend, rather than the rest of the world’s.

    4. There is a problem, and no matter how good the PR is (and I see that it has improved somewhat especially with the local media coverage of the various events) the problem won’t simply go away. There is no motorsports culture in Bahrain other than drag-races, and it is this vacancy that should be brain-stormed and fulfilled, rather than bringing even more stilt-walkers, which is cool, but not the main event.

  19. Angelo says:

    Mahmood, what are these several factors, please?

    BTW… here’s a pic I took of the university stand [i guess] during the race from turn 1 grandstand, looks pretty packed to me execpt for the last one…


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