MotoGP Bharat – Was it a hit or a miss?

The nexus between Sports and Business.

September 2023 was a very significant month in the history of sports in India with the inaugural MotoGP Bharat finally becoming a reality. But how was the event a hit or a miss in the world’s largest motorcycle market?

Here’s an interesting fact – India accounts for 40% of all global sales of motorcycles worldwide. So, an Indian MotoGP was something that was bound to happen at some point. 

With almost all the bike brands participating in the MotoGP available in India for a few years now, why did it take so long for MotoGP to come to India, to understand that, let’s go back a few years when Formula 1 ran three races in India at the Buddh International circuit. The F1 race got mired in various issues, starting from the way the contracts were done between F1 and the Indian promoter’s attempts to reduce tax outflow. Customs clearance for bringing the cars and parts to taxation when motorsports were not even considered a sport and were instead classified as entertainment. So, due to taxation and political issues, F1 race stopped in India after 3 successful seasons.

Coming back to the MotoGP – finally, it was a relief to Indian motorsport enthusiasts that motorsports were back on Indian tracks.

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Enter FairStreetSports Pvt. Ltd. the organisers of the MotoGP Bharat led by Pushkar Nath Srivastava, the founder and COO committed to investing INR 250 Cr towards the event. FairStreet Sports raised $10M from institutional investors and the rest of the investment was done organically. 

The investment comprises a wide range of aspects, such as securing event rights, organizing it and marketing expenditures. A significant part of the funds—around ₹150 crore—is for organizing the event.

According to the Economic Times, the state government of Uttar Pradesh (The MotoGP host state) has registered business worth INR 930 Crore from the racing event.

However, the organisers have a lot of work to do with marketing and promoting the event in the future considering the attendance for the races was abysmal. The venue has a total capacity of 110,000 but the confirmed weekend attendance was 111,762 with 18,000 people attending the Friday session, 35,381 attending the Saturday session and  58,605 attending the Sunday session officially making the Indian Gran Prix this season’s lowest attended race!

motogp attendance in numbers
Nilesh Deshmukh | sportsnexus

Dorna has signed a seven-year deal with FairStreet Sports Pvt. Ltd and I am sure there is a lot of learnings from the first ever MotoGP in India and there is a lot of scope for improvement for the track, organisers, and the government from a logistical and marketing point of view to make the future MotoGP experience better.

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Nilesh Deshmukh
I am passionate about sports and passionate about marketing. As a sports marketer, I have built significant expertise in successfully delivering medium to long term digital marketing strategy for global sports entities and brands like Arsenal FC, Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC, Major League Baseball, Formula E, and AELTC, etc to engage with their fans in India. I am currently based in London and lead India business at Engage Digital Partners.