Hello there, don’t mind me, I just wanted to start a conversation. One regarding the roles that media, audience, and place plays in motorsport in 2017. Intrigued? Read on.
I grew up in a family that had an unusual hobby, where we would pack up the car and back a car up onto a trailer and tow it somewhere, to race in circuits – and I loved it. We all did. We all still do. Fast forward 15 years, and here I stand, clipboard in hand and a camera around my neck, jogging from pitt lane to dummy grid, and back again. I am wearing a black windbreaker with logos embroidered that I have designed, with skills I learnt in a design subject at university. There are another six people wearing the same jacket, and they are surrounding a car, wrapped in the same logo and designs that I created. In my hand is my smart phone that I use to not only transfer photos onto wirelessly from my DSLR, but also to reach hundreds that follow our motorsport team online, across a host of different platforms.
That isn’t where it ends, however.
Although the race is commentated and broadcasted to a local radio station specifically focused on the local track, and an external media company films the entire race from each corner around the track, I zip to and fro. Collecting hundreds, if not thousands of photographs and footage to use as content for the next few weeks. Regardless of the fact that the race in its entirety will be filmed, edited and uploaded for free by another company, we repeat this process six or seven times across the course of the weekend. It is what our audience demands. It is what our sponsors require. Doing it ourselves is the cheapest and most flexible means to expose our own motorsport team, and this is only at State level.
I am emotionally invested in this process, and I am led to believe it is why I am asked to do so over and over again. There is no doubt that the spectators that supported the motorsport industry are disappearing (McKay, 2017), and without active track attendance motorsport teams, and organisations, are focusing heavily on media to reach their audiences.
For the first time in a very long time, this weekend I attended the V8 Supercars where I wasn’t working for any teams participating; where I simply spectated. Standing on the fence, I couldn’t help but observe the photographers, all patiently waiting for beasts to come buzzing over the hill. The only thing that segregated the group realistically, was a spectator fence, a high-visibility vest and a few thousand dollars difference between the camera gear they were using. This small observation sparked a potential research idea for BCM241.
Without knowing the specifics just yet for this projects final destination, my interest lies in the relationship between media and motorsport, and how they both interact and are affected by their specified audience. A topic that I am directly affected by, and have a knowledge of – particularly policies in effect such as CAMS Media Accreditation and the MEAA Journalism Code of Ethics. I am intrigued to unveil the importance of media and communications within the motorsport industry, recently inspired by ARDC President Andrew Leithhead; “…skill areas that would be valuable additions to our board include…communications and marketing, information technology (especially digital data) and social media, entertainment and event management.” With this motivation, and the confidence that it is not an area likely to offend or cause distress through research, I am excited to see where we end – apologies for the shifts in direction, one struggles to reign in the heart!
- McKay, P. (2017). Why motorsport fans are abandoning the sport in droves. [Blog] Wheels. Available at: https://www.wheelsmag.com.au/news/motorsport/1704/why-motorsport-fans-are-abandoning-the-sport-in-droves [Accessed 20 Aug. 2017].
- Cams.com.au. (2017). About CAMS Media Accreditation. [online] Available at: https://www.cams.com.au/media/cams-media-accreditation/how-to-apply [Accessed 21 Aug. 2017].
- MEAA. (2017). MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics. [online] Available at: https://www.meaa.org/meaa-media/code-of-ethics/ [Accessed 21 Aug. 2017].
- Leithhead, A. (2017). President’s Report. ARDC. [online] Sydney: Australian Racing Drivers Club. Available at: http://mailchi.mp/58f1c44b3f42/ardc-e-news-may-2322765?e=1c288f066a [Accessed 14 Aug. 2017].