Losing Your Audience

I see that Formula 1 has lost a boatload of UK viewers ever since they moved from free TV to subscription TV.  Time for Ye Olde Cluebatte:

If you’re going to require people to pay for something that they’re used to getting for free, it has be something they can’t live without, or else something which is “new ‘n improved” — i.e. that justifies the cost.

And Formula 1 has managed to go down ever since they stopped using loud, balls-to-the-wall engines, and pricing Everything F1 into the stratosphere.  In other words, the product has become tamer, less passionate and shittier, ergo not worth paying for.

I love Formula 1, love it with a passion, always have — but not  always will.  The plain fact of the matter is that after the first corner of the first lap, F1 races are nothing more than a 66-lap procession, where races can be decided on the time and number of pit stops, where refuelling midrace has been outlawed, tire types are restricted, and so on.  F1 has also become technocentric, and techno is expensive — which limits the number of teams which have the money or desire to participate.  As a result, there are essentially only three teams — Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull — who have any consistent chance of winning a given race.  Here are the teams’ points position at the end of the 2019 season, and note the points disparity between the top three and the rest:

It was more or less the same in 2018, and 2017, and 2016… and there are only four actual engines used (Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda) by all the teams.

I have some suggestions.

  • Ban all team-driver radio communication.  Let the driver figure out what’s going on with the car, and signal to him only from the pit wall.  Right now, the whole thing is just a techno-chess game, where race decisions can be made in Maranello, Woking or Surrey rather than at the track or in the car.  In fact, very few decisions are now made by the driver, which means that at some point, driverless cars are going to be suggested (and upon that  change, all F1 fans will disappear from sight.)
  • Ban remote engine changes from the garage.  Right now, the team can make changes from the pit wall to the amount of power a car can generate.  Screw that nonsense — let the driver use as much or as little as he’s got.
  • Dump the dual-engine (hybrid) formula and stick to fast, powerful (and loud) 3-liter V6 or flat-six gas engines.  Leave all the electronic stuff to Le Mans prototype cars.  Here’s the thing:  not every auto manufacturer can afford to build a modern F1 engine — but all  of them can make a fast, powerful and reliable 3-liter six-cylinder one, which opens up the race for other car manufacturers to participate.  (And the louder, the better:  F1 fans just love  the noise.)
  • Make the races longer — 80 laps (or 150 miles) minimum — so that the cars have  to stop to refuel their (mandatory) 100-liter / 26-gallon (US) tanks.  (Ignore that “safety” bullshit:  if the sports car teams can manage refueling safely, so can F1.)
  • Let the teams choose whatever tires they want, and drop the “two-type per race” mandate.  If a team wants to race the whole thing on one set of hard tires, and another wants to use three soft sets (for higher speed) or two medium sets (compromise), then let them.
  • Ditto engine changes.  Right now, F1 teams can only use three engines per season (without penalty).  What bullshit.  Let them use a new engine for each race, if they want.  The problem is that engines now cost so much that only a couple teams could afford to do that — which is part of F1’s problem.

There’s a reason that I’m suggesting all the above, and it’s not just a hankering for the old days (as is my general tendency).  As racing becomes all the more technical and much less human, people get turned off by the loss of human interaction. 

In gun terms, it would be like watching a rifle-shooting competition between remote-controlled gun platforms made by only Mitsubishi and Honda.   I wouldn’t cross the street to watch that, for free.  And nor would many others.

Now hold a competition, in any format, between humans shooting Remington, Colt, Ruger, SIG Sauer, Blaser, CZ, Mauser, Winchester and HK rifles… oh man, sign me up now.

That’s the problem, and all F1 needs to do is to bring back the human element into racing.  You heard it here first.

And A Nation Yawns

…that nation, of course, being the United States when it comes to the Snooze Fest known as Formula 1, who have just announced the new F1 calendar for the 2020 season.

Twenty-two races (up from twenty), with seven back-to-back weekend races (F1 Grand Prix are usually spaced two weekends apart)… as one comedian noted in the comments:  just more races not to watch.

And Hanoi?  WTF were they thinking?  F1 couldn’t even get the South Korean Grand Prix to break even, and that’s in a Third World country that isn’t  a post-Communist shithole.

I had to laugh when I read another comment which suggested Johannesburg’s Kyalami track.  The main reason that F1 doesn’t go to South Africa anymore is that it would be the only venue where the cars could be carjacked during the race itself.  (That said, Kyalami is a brilliant track — I saw the late Niki Lauda win there, back when the teams were racing Fred Flintstone cars, comparatively speaking.  But the races were still more exciting than today’s.)

That said, I’m starting to lose enthusiasm for my lifelong passion — and if I can lose it, a lot more people aren’t going to take it on.

Sic semper res taedia.

Sports Update

Someone wrote and asked me why I haven’t celebrated Team USA winning the Women’s Football World Cup recently.  Okay, here it is:

There ya go.  (I think  I got those rainbow colors right…)

Update:  Okay, Alex Morgan isn’t a lesbian:


Top Shooter

We all love the shooting sports at this website, of course (and I think I can speak for all here of my disappointment at the rejection of our request to have Hippie Shooting included in the next Summer Olympics).

Nevertheless, we can look forward to the next Winter Olympics, where we should see Italy’s Dorothea Wierer participate in the Women’s Biathlon event.  Dorothea who?

 

 

Oh… that Dorothea.

Here she is in competition (she is the current World Champion):

 

But as any fule know, practice makes perfect, so she does it during the summer as well.

 

…even in hot weather:

She is, in a word, yummy:

 

 

It’s also quite refreshing that in a sport which contains the prefix “Bi-“, Dorothea is apparently quite heterosexual.

Good luck, kid.

Goals Matter

 

Oh, good grief.  This is what you get when you have ignorant people talking about matters they know nothing about:

Should The U.S. Women’s World Cup Team Have Run Up The Score Against Thailand?
Not only did they run it up to an absurd outcome (13-0), say critics, but they danced their way through it, celebrating after most goals. At what point is an opponent sufficiently beaten and even humiliated that mercy can be shown?
The answer is: Never, bro. This is Trump’s America now. The cruelty is the point.

Oh FFS, this has sweet fuck all to do with Trump, or “Trump’s America”.  Here are the facts.

In professional football (okay, soccer) competitions, goal count matters — both for and against.  If two teams are tied in terms of wins, losses and point totals (usually, three for a win, one for a tie and zero for a loss), then the deciding factor is the goal difference between the total number of goals scored by  the team and the goals scored against  the team.  All other things being equal, the team with the higher differential will go through into the next round, or (in the case of league tables) be named the champion.  All teams know this, and there’s no “mercy” in professional soccer, no “running up the score” and certainly there’s no “cruelty” in scoring as many goals as you possibly can against your opponent.

And I’ll finish with this:  assume that the U.S. team’s group results showed that (say) Germany won their matches 4-0, 5-0, 4-0, 3-2 and 3-0 (5×3=15 points, goal difference:  17),  while the U.S. team won their matches 13-0, 2-1, 3-2, 2-1 and 2-1 (also 5×3=15 points, but goal difference:  18).  In this scenario, had the U.S. not run up the score against Thailand, then Germany would win the group and go on to the next round.

Under these circumstances, not running up the score and failing to progress would probably cause the U.S. team’s manager/coach to be fired, and rightly so.  As I said earlier:  goals count in professional soccer.

This weepy-waily shit about cruelty  and running up the score  comes from the modern pussified culture where participation trophies are awarded, scores aren’t kept and the won-lost record isn’t tallied.  In the real world, as with everything else, life is less forgiving.

As for the so-called reporter who wrote this silly article:  ignore everything else he ever writes, because if he screws up something as easy as this, he’ll probably screw up something important.

And The Last One Falls

As any fule kno, I hate change, especially change which won’t necessarily improve anything.  I also hate it when “change” is replaced by a euphemism such as “overhaul” — because “overhaul” to me means improving something or, at worst, restoring it to its original form or function after neglect.  Imagine then my disgust at this development:

Overhaul of Augusta National ahead of the Masters is sign of the times as golf seeks to be the ultimate family sport

  • Historic occasion for women’s golf on Saturday with first amateur Augusta event
  • It was the turn of some of America’s best juniors to play the course on Sunday
  • The club where nothing changed for decades is undergoing huge transformation

…and all the dreadful details are included in the link above.  Several comments come to mind immediately.

Unless the something that has been going on for decades is genocide, institutionalized child molestation or South African-style apartheid, there’s no need to change anything.  What has gone on for decades at Augusta National GC is a policy of men-only membership (only recently relaxed [spit] ) and a culture which creates a male enclave — and only to the most fevered feminist could this equate to the three horrors above.  I know, wimmens are going to say, “It’s not that important;  why are you making such a fuss?” to which my response is: “If it’s not  that important, then why the fuck  are you trying to change it?”  I’ve written about men-only places before, and the benefits of such places where men can be unholy assholes without some woman or girly-man taking offense at their language / behavior.  It’s a safety-valve  for such activity, and I for one miss it terribly.  I see nothing wrong with gender-specific institutions, whether female-only universities or, like Augusta, male-only golf clubs.  (Don’t even get me started  on military schools.)

So:  why allow women to play at Augusta, when there are thousands upon thousands of other golf courses for them to play at?  Pure symbolism, is why.  (And I’ll bet these Amazon golferettes didn’t play off the back tees, either.)

Then there’s this crap about golf as the “ultimate family sport”?  What the fuck is that all about?  Let’s be honest:  golf has always been a male preserve, except for the many lesbians who participate in the women’s tour and for the wives of male club-members who need to take a full day out of the week for a “Ladies Day” to get together and fuck around  — don’t get me started on the double standard involved with that.  (The truth of the matter is that male golfers prefer  a Ladies Day because women play too slowly and pathetically, and it beats having to wait for twenty minutes per hole while Agnes, Pookie and Frances each take four or five shots to reach a green easily reachable in two by a pre-adolescent boy golfer.)  And how can golf be the “ultimate family sport” when it bores everyone but the golfers involved to tears?

And Augusta’s decided to go along with this bullshit?  Why?  The Masters is already one of the most popular sporting events on TV, it’s already regarded as the world championship of golf by all golfers, and if even one of the tournament’s big sponsors decided to quit because feminism, other equally-large sponsors would get into fistfights to be their replacement.  (The Masters allows for only a few sponsors and severely-limited advertising time, which is probably a prime reason why it’s so popular.)  In other words, Augusta and The Masters are dealing from a position of strength, here, and — let me be quite blunt about this — they have no need to change anything.

But they’re going to, and that’s the pity of it.  And if Augusta goes, what chance do any of the other men-only clubs have of continuing?

It’s enough to make a man have a double for his morning gin.