Well definitely not in the sport itself as there is quite a difference between “horse” power and “man” power, however I dare say that the fan base or spectators are very similar.
Why do I bring this topic up now you might ask? The Euro soccer is into the quarter finals , pages of reports in the papers and just check the Friday, 20th Straits Times issue and you’ll see what I’m talking about:
“F1 hotels still have lots of room!!”,
“Trackside hotels: Only one out of 11 checked is fully booked”,
“Non-trackside hotels: Some are less than half full for race period”,
“Rates lowered: Expect to pay about $200 to $500 less!!”
Here we go. That’s what I was worried about in my post on April 24 (Exorbitant hotel rates during F1 race).
But back to my initial comparison of F1 fans and soccer fans. Check it out and do some simple calculations. The fan base of both sports are made up of (I would say) about 90%!!! Blue color workers and middle class income fans. Are they able and willing to spend big bucks for a stay in highly overpriced hotels? I don’t think so.
Singapore wants to attract 100,000 visitors for this event, they need masses not only a few millionaires, ‘well to do’ or corporate spectators. You can't rely on these people because are moving around wherever there is a newer or more spectacular venue or wherever companies are inviting them to.
Let me give you an example as what the host countries are doing to provide affordable accommodation for budget fans. In Austria as well as in Switzerland, during this Euro 2008 soccer event, ten thousands of fans DRIVE thousands of kilometers in their cars, camper vans, RV’s and stay on camping grounds or budget hotels to save money. In Vienna the authorities adapted a parking area for camper vans and tents calling it “Fan Camping Vienna” which was more than fully booked.
They also built ‘The Fan Camp Vienna’ which is like a giant youth hostel - 3,000 beds in one space: Affordable accommodation for Euro 2008 fans. It's an adapted exhibition hall only 700m to the Ernst Happel soccer stadium, providing shelter: Euro 38 a night (and 0, 5 liter of beer at the price of EUR 2, 90). A nice sheetrock space! These aren't office cubicles.As I said before we need to build a base of faithful F1 fans here who love to come to Singapore more than just for a “one night stand” and a big chunk of getting there is establishing trust of not being ripped off and being welcome a tourist, a visitor, a friend and not as a “cow you milk to the last drop”.