Events of global importance certainly bring number of wavering eyeballs to the centre stage and a happening like F1 is bound to propel enormous participation. May be that is the reason many brands want to encash the sporting show where they get to leverage potential buyers but the story was not that plain for yesterday’s Bahrain F1 race.
Yesterday, after much anticipation this year’s Bahrain F1 race concluded peacefully and all the doubts making rounds, of a big disaster were put to rest.
While few publications even cited that “The prestigious sporting event won’t gain much from holding a fixture on this tiny Gulf island still in turmoil from its Arab uprising, amid sharp condemnation of human rights abuses. Pushing on with the weekend event looks like a stubborn and risky miscalculation”
Also, “The F1 already has another foot in the lucrative market with the Yas Marina circuit in the UAE, one of Bahrain’s richer and more stable neighbours. Without too much trouble, the F1 could have relocated the race without losing out on the revenue or regional brand building provided by the events.”
But the biggest misconstrued event went off pretty smoothly barring a brief protest.
Despite of tight security, a group of women still managed to stage a brief demonstration at the circuit before being arrested. They were calling for the release of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, an imprisoned human rights activist who has been on hunger strike for more than 70 days.
It is reported that numbers at the grandstands were low. Organisers said 28,000 people attended the race that was staged in the isolated desert south of Bahrain and a security lockdown was launched to keep protesters off the streets.
Tight security at checkpoints on the way to the track caused traffic jams as the authorities tried to curtail attempts by protesters to bring their pro-democracy demands into the heart of the event.
The government and its supporters declared the day a success. Loyalists took to Twitter to congratulate the authorities on hosting the race which went ahead despite international censure at holding the sporting spectacle amid the unrest.
Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who brought F1 to Bahrain in 2004, has stated that hosting the event, which had been cancelled, last year, will allow the country to start a process of national reconciliation.
The declaration unquestionably gives a relief to the sponsors who stood by the event regardless of several muck wars. There were number of investors, namely Royal Dutch Shell, Vodafone, Unilever, Total, Siemens, UBS, News Corp, Hugo Boss, ExxonMobil, Deutsche Post, Daimler and Thomson Reuters.
It was touted that “Some of these companies are sufficiently wary of how the turmoil might impact the weekend’s event to pare back usual efforts to entertain clients around the race.”
But there might be a twist in the tail, all these brands knew the after effects of their faith in the property but they still went ahead, there could be two possibilities:
A: they were truly positive of the outcome and they wanted Bahrain to get a reason to get out of the turmoil (may be temporarily) and look forward to a bright sky. Also, they wanted to build up on their brand recall and boost their sales.
B: they wanted something to happen during the event which could have given them a fastidious life-size publicity (a negative publicity always remains for a longer period of time)
If they wanted to go with the second option, then definitely nothing happened but as a matter of fact, Alls well that ends well!