Two of our current New Zealand championships are arguably two of our most successful. There are a couple of very simple reasons why and Virgin Australia Supercars Championship could well take note of them.
Supercars boss Sean Seamer is quoted by speedcafe.com as saying, “I think that the disappointing thing for us is that this year has been a year that’s been dominated by a highly technical narrative which is made it very, very difficult for fans to follow.”
This follows a 2019 season that has been overshadowed by technical debates and rules changes, much to do with parity across the category.
During the 2019 season, several changes in ballast were allowed after the introduction of the new Ford Mustang and the domination by one team, Shell V-Power Racing, who won six of the first seven races. Chas Mostert (Tickford Racing) won the seventh. These rule changes were implemented in order to close the gap between rival teams, more specifically to make the Holden and Nissan teams more competitive.
Both the South Island Endurance and Formula 1600 Championships are extremely popular with competitors and each season both boast strong grids.
One of their reasons for success is that they don’t change the rules and more particularly with the SI F1600 category, it won’t change the rules mid-season.
This is a key point and their reasoning is sound. It creates an environment where stakeholders know where they stand and have confidence to make a commitment to the category.
We have not seen this from Supercars in 2019 and subsequent rule/technical changes have created an environment of instability. It is almost as though the changes have been reactionary and not progressive.
A key difference between the NZ categories and Supercars is that the latter is more focused on fans/spectators/TV audience stakeholders. The NZ categories are really there for the competitors/teams only as the audience (thus TV revenue) is a minor consideration.
However, this doesn’t detract from the consequences of change. Will a Supercars audience stakeholder now head into 2020 confident that changes will not occur?
Continuous change creates instability with a brand. Instability risks losing loyalty and stakeholders become transient with increased potential to move to another category.