Increased media exposure efforts for the Singapore Karting Championship – Too much, too soon?

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

There are too many differing opinions out there about the necessity to raise the profile of the Singapore Karting Championship (SKC) by means of increased media distribution and exposure. I am not going to directly address any of the opinions but instead, I want to express my personal feelings from my point of view as media.

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One of the concerns (I didn’t say issues) raised was about the media and publicity hype of the SKC, which attributed to the bulk of the increased cost to run it from 2010 to 2011/2012. I don’t know if the funds would have been otherwise directed to other parts of the SKC, eg. subsidising driver registration fees, or simply just taken out completely, but none of these funds go into my pocket, FYI.

I make the effort to go down to the SKC to take photos and then write about it later (be it for my blog or other publications) because I want to, because the competitors are my friends, because I want to take nice photos for them to keep, because I want to share with the rest of world outside of the SKC that we have racing in Singapore. When I’m in town (I travel out of Singapore to cover motorsport events overseas because there aren’t enough here to cover and I need to earn my rice too), I go down to the SKC because it’s like a gathering of friends joined by the same interest.

I’m sorry my blog is not as big as Speedhunters and I cannot offer the same kind of mileage they have. But I’m trying. Every day I am trying to build my website, working hard to grow with you guys. Please be patient with me.

I enjoy writing and I chose to specialise in cars and motorsports (primarily) because of the passion for it. There are many areas of journalism but there’s something about four wheels and power and speed and performance that attracts me into this male-dominated world.

Before you start thinking that I’m from the media so I would obviously say media is important for the sport, please hear me out from an objective point of view.

Kimi Raikkonen once said that “Formula 1 would be a paradise without the media”.

I’m pretty sure that hurt a lot of people, especially those who work their butts off into the wee hours of the morning after each race, processing their photos and filing their stories to get it out to the rest of the world waiting for updates.

As much as it hurts to hear that, I understand why he made that statement. He is a racing driver by profession and his job is to drive, fast. Most F1 drivers I have interviewed do wish they can just focus on driving and not be entangled in other off-track politics, but they also understand that they cannot do without the media.

Felipe Massa told me that the media is essential because it helps the sponsors get their value, especially in branding, and all the driver appearances they make for the sponsors are for media attention for increased exposure.

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I can comprehend what some people are saying – that at the top level of motorsports, media is definitely necessary and that for the SKC, the drivers are not of that standard to warrant such media coverage. The media exposure for the SKC is no way near F1 definitely and it need not be that of F1 levels, but there should not be zero coverage on the SKC.

Can I say something here? No one is less deserving of the media. There’s no such thing as “We are not good enough for the media, yet.”

The media may not be as enthusiastic in covering the SKC as they would for F1, but that does not make you any less worthy as a driver. Those with the dream of F1 will appreciate any media coverage to buff up their sponsorship proposals, those who are there because they want to challenge themselves or they really like racing will appreciate media coverage for what it is. Do you not feel a little sense of pride when you see your photo or name in the papers? Do you not keep a copy of that article for yourself? Ok if it doesn’t, well it makes me proud to have Singaporeans to write about. That’s why when I travel to events such as the Macau Kart Prix, I do special Singaporean reports because I want to, though I don’t need to.

It hurts me when I hear people say that media coverage is not needed for the SKC, but before I start jumping to conclusions, I think the problem here is the extent of media coverage. I’m sure everyone understands that media is important, but how do we define the level of media coverage needed for the SKC? The occasional report in the papers, the write-ups in magazines or the mini stories on the official SKC website are useful. What some are saying is that the resources for the video crew on-site to do ‘live’ screening and then post-production for highlight videos on YouTube and for cable television, can be better allocated.

Question is, will AutoInc agree to use these funds otherwise or will they just take back their money and give less sponsorship funds? Ultimately, companies put money into sponsorships for immediate intangible returns of branding and awareness. Direct business revenue then depends on how they make use of this branding and awareness.

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One of the significant differences from the days of SKC 2010 to the SKC of today is largely the hype of commercialism. The media distribution is just one part of it, the entertainment another. I said it before and I will say it again – I believe the reason behind the uproar might be that the jump is too much too soon. The local motorsport community here is just not ready for it. It was probably an over-ambitious effort of Yuey Tan and AutoInc to try and publicise the SKC to higher heights. It will take time and their efforts may pay off one day, but this brings me back to my point about the race between time and money. How much money will it take before that realisation? How much time before the money runs out?

Anyway, I believe the media distribution bit is not the root of the recent revelation of unhappiness – it’s much deeper than just the necessity of media. Some would call it vested interests; some would call it too much control. Well, wherever you are, make sure you are taking good shelter in this storm in a tea-cup.

This thunderstorm must blow over quickly – we don’t want to see the sport and the people in it get too implicated.

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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