Arpadarai: Costs of F1 Azerbaijan decrease, while revenues grow(Exclusive)

Society Materials 18 February 2019 19:19 (UTC +04:00)
Preparations for the next Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, to be held April 26-28 in Baku, are on schedule.
Arpadarai: Costs of F1 Azerbaijan decrease, while revenues grow(Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 18

By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

Preparations for the next Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, to be held April 26-28 in Baku, are on schedule, Nigar Arpadarai, head of Marketing and Communications Department of the Baku City Circuit (BCC), said in an interview with Trend Feb. 18.

“Blocks are already being placed on the track, and the construction of stands, as well as the work at the National Seaside Park will begin next month,” she said.

Arpadarai stressed that the work is carried out in a way to avoid creating inconvenience to citizens.

As for the tickets, their sale began in November 2018, she said.

“In November and December 2018, they were sold at a 20 percent discount,” she noted. “Despite the absence of a campaign, tickets are also selling successfully. They were already purchased from 47 countries. A 25 percent discount applies to local residents. This category includes citizens of Azerbaijan who have an ID and foreign citizens who have a temporary residence permit in the country.”

She stressed that after the holding of Formula 1 in Azerbaijan was extended for another three years, the pace of ticket sales doubled.

“The fans show great interest in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix,” she said. “Last year, tickets were purchased by fans from 75 countries until the end of April. We think that this year the figure will be the same.”

She noted that this time the tickets were mainly purchased from Russia and the UK. Great interest is also shown by Germany, Georgia, Ukraine, Finland, Arab countries, she added.

Arpadarai reminded that the first contract for holding Formula 1 in Azerbaijan was signed for five years, that is, the competitions had to be held until 2020 inclusive. After that, each of the parties could revise the terms, change, extend or terminate the contract, she said.

"When Azerbaijan first signed a contract, Formula 1 was headed by Bernie Ecclestone's team," she noted. “However, the leadership of Formula 1 has changed, and Liberty Media is managing the competitions. The new leadership has changed the policy, choosing a different strategy to attract more fans. Azerbaijan has been holding the Grand Prix for several years, and we reviewed all the terms of the contract together with Liberty Media, extending it for another three years.”

Arpadarai noted that the new version of the contract is more beneficial for Azerbaijan than the previous one.

“Formula 1 and Azerbaijan want to continue these competitions in the country, and the extension of the contract for another three years suggests that both parties are interested in this,” she said.

She proudly emphasized that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was included in the list of the best F1 Grand Prix competitions in the world.

“The configuration of our track is very interesting, it is favorable both in terms of high competition and maneuvering,” she said. “There was high competition in the last two races held in Baku, and the results of these races were unexpected. We hope that this year we will also see an exciting competition.”

Arpadarai noted that the management of Formula 1 is very happy with the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan, and CEO of Formula One Group Chase Carey has repeatedly stressed this in his interviews.

“I think that the leadership of Formula 1 supports increasing the number of city tracks, and sees Baku as such a model,” she said. “This makes us very happy.”

Arpadarai also told about the entertainment program to be presented as part of the races this year.

“Last year, concerts and events after the races were held at the Crystal Hall,” she said. “This year they will be held at Elektra Events Hall. In addition, new gaming zones will be established on the boulevard, entertainment will be organized, etc. Negotiations are being completed with world stars that will be performing at concerts, and soon we will reveal their names.”

She added that Formula 1 has brought great benefits to Azerbaijan both in terms of the development of the tourism sector and promotion of the country. She reminded that Formula 1 has audience of 500 million people.

“Last year’s race in Baku was watched live by 83 million people,” she said. “This is a very big figure. This doesn’t include those who watched competitions online, or got information about Azerbaijan in the media during the year. A hashtag related to the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan remained at the first place in Twitter for two years in a row. Imagine how many people wrote about the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan and shared this information! This is a great job in terms of promoting the country.”

Arpadarai noted that all this, of course, contributes to the development of Azerbaijan’s economy and tourism.

“Regarding the direct and indirect benefits that Azerbaijan received from the first and second Grand Prix held in the country, we appealed to PwC for research, and the total income received by the country from the Grand Prix 2016 and 2017 was $277 million,” she said. “The major part accounted for the tourism sector. At the same time, our expenses in connection with Formula 1 reduced, and if asphalt cover was renovated in the first year of the race and the infrastructure was built, we don’t do it now. That’s because the stands belong to us and we use them every year. Advertising costs also decreased - if funds were spent on this during the first Grand Prix competitions, now people are already informed about it and they like the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. From year to year, the expenses for organizing Formula 1 are decreasing, while the revenues are growing.”