The recent news that the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development (DED) is to appoint events company Vision Nine as the promoter of the TT and Classic TT Races marks a new and exciting chapter in the 109-year history of the world famous event.
It’s the first time ever that an external organisation has been involved in the promotion of the event and whilst there will be numerous sceptics, particularly the die-hards who have criticised most things over the last ten years (despite being more than proven wrong), the reality is that all major sporting events need to move with the times.
The last ten years has seen the importance and popularity of the TT on not just the motorcycling calendar but also the sporting one, get to the stature where it rightfully belongs. Spectator figures are up, daily – and mainstream – TV coverage can now be found on ITV4, more and more sponsors are getting involved and the racing, the centrepiece of the event, has never been more competitive.
Why have Vision Nine been brought in?
It’s quite simple really – to build upon what already exists and to make the brand bigger and better and ensure it continues to grow. Standing still and basking in the glory of all the good that’s taken place recently isn’t an option.
Indeed, Vision Nine have already outlined their ambitious plans through the tender process that took place last year with their clear aim to see spectator numbers for the TT and Classic TT grow significantly.
In doing so, the DED believe that Vision Nine can help to:
- Play a valuable role in growing the island’s economy
- Balance the Government’s budget
- Contribute to smaller simpler Government
These are areas that wouldn’t be of concern to the average fan but to the island, they are vital in ensuring that the TT not only continues to survive but, more importantly, continues to grow.
What will change?
In the immediate 12-18 months, we may not see anything of significance and, perhaps crucially, Vision Nine have no plans to get involved in the racing side of things; their hard work will be done away from the track.
While there may be some changes with regards to the promotional aspects of the TT, the Race Organisation, the delivery of the practice and race schedules and the overall safety and marshalling of the event will not be compromised and from a Race Organisers point of view it will be ‘business as usual’.
Vision Nine are astute enough to know who and what is already working well and that’s fundamentally the racing – the DED simply need someone with the expertise and know how to showcase their product in a bigger and better fashion to the outside world.
One area, an area that has been mentioned briefly in the past, is live TV coverage. Real road racing comes with inherent and obvious dangers so you’ll never get ‘real time’ coverage but delayed coverage of say 10-20s is a more than distinct possibility now that Vision 9 have been brought in.
They have numerous partners to assist them none more so than world leading sports TV distributor IMG who will help raise the image and awareness of the events globally. The evening highlights package on ITV is superb but can you imagine the excitement and attention live, mainstream TV coverage would bring?
When will it all kick off?
The 10-year agreement is set to start officially in 2017 but between now and then you can guarantee feverish work will be going on behind the scenes so that the 2017 TT has its biggest ever platform. More coverage will encourage more investment from sponsors (great for all concerned) and swell viewing figures, both live and on TV, considerably.
Who are Vision Nine?
Vision Nine is a pioneer in developing events and festivals which have significant global appeal. They have had strong success in marrying lifestyle passions with live event experiences and, by doing so, have created live platforms with national and international growth potential. We have significant opportunities to grow our existing brands into hugely valuable assets in the coming years.
It was a love of action sports which set in motion the creation of events to bring them where they are today, entertaining thousands of people every year. Events they are currently involved in include Boardmasters in Cornwall and the Freeze Festival whilst clients they work with include Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sure and PlayStation.
Do you think Vision Nine will have a positive impact on the TT? Are you excited to see whether they’re able to catapult the races into a more wide stream dimension?
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Having started watching motorcycle races all over the world form childhood, Phil Wain has been a freelance motorcycle journalist for 15 years and is features writer for a number of publications including BikeSport News and Classic Racer, having also been a regular contributor to MCN and MCN Sport. He is PR officer for a number of teams and riders at both the British Superbike Championship and International road races, including Smiths Triumph, Quattro Plant Kawasaki, John McGuinness, Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor. He is also heavily involved with the Isle of Man TT Races, writing official press releases and race reports as well as providing ITV4 with statistical information.