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WRC Beijing Aborted—LeTV Sports Pays the Price Again?

Date:08-23 19:45 Source:Rui Shi Sports Authour:未知

This is a painful lesson for both LeTV Sports and Chinese motorsports. What they need to do now is come back down to earth. It also appears that while WRC Beijing cannot be held as scheduled, CRC Beijing only requires RMB 1.5 million yuan in sponsorship. If there is any company or individual able to put up this sponsorship fee as a deposit to CAMF by September or October this year, it is still possible that CRC Beijing will take place.Let's wait and see whether LeTV Sports is willing to come forward with this sum of money.

What LeTV Sports need to do now is come back down to earth.

On August 16, China Autosport & Motorsport Federation (CAMF) revealed on its official website that the China Rally Championship (CRC), scheduled to be held in Huairou, Beijing from September 9 to 11, has been canceled. Accordingly, the World Rally Championship (WRC) Beijing, which was to be held over the same period as the CRC, has also been called off.

The official statement raises questions as to the real reasons for the cancellation. According to the original text of the notice issued by CAMF, the cancellation is "due to certain reasons" rather than due to the "road subsidence" it claimed previously; obviously, the real reason has not been revealed yet. Some insiders reckon that weather and road conditions as well as problems in dealing with the local governments are issues, but the most likely reason is the inability to afford the high costs of sponsoring the event.

WRC Beijing has been canceled despite six months of intensive preparations

WRC Beijing Aborted—LeTV Sports Pays the Price Again?

WRC as the world's top professional motorsport event

Rally is the original form of international motorsport. As the world's top professional motorsport event, the WRC’s return to China after 17 years naturally generated excitement in Chinese motorsport circles and among the fans. As the top regulatory agency of motorsport in China, CAMF had completed the first exciting step by successfully bringing the event back to China.

Then came LeTV Sports again! LeTV, which has built a high profile over the past two years in the presentation of sports events, the manufacture of new energy automobiles, and many other fields, expressed its willingness to assume the role of sponsor. Regardless of the huge costs involved - up to 30 million yuan for every event - it announced to the public with great pride that it would sign a three-year contract to be the exclusive sponsor.

At the 2016 season opener (on January 21 in Monaco[l1] ), the WRC global promotion agency and LeTV Sports officially announced that LeTV Sports would be the exclusive sponsor for the WRC in China in 2016-2018, and that the year’s events - RALLYCHINA - would be held from September 9 to 11 in Huairou, Miyun, Yanqing, and various other locations. In addition, LeTV Sports also had the exclusive new media rights in China for the 14 WRC events through 2016-2018.

This would have been both a positive and a significant development - provided that the initiative had gone ahead. Disappointingly, however, WRC Beijing has been canceled despite six months of intensive preparations.

This is not the first time that LeTV has ended up causing a negative international impact

WRC Beijing Aborted—LeTV Sports Pays the Price Again?

A LeTV Sports launch event

It was striking that LeTV displayed a screen carrying the slogan "Win the B Round" at a previous financing event, trying to send out a message that it was more than ready to deliver. However, it turned out that what LeTV was really ready to deliver was hot air. What a let-down for those who were looking forward to the event with such expectation and anticipation, only to see LeTV pull out at the crucial moment!

LeTV should have kept in mind the old saying: Pride comes before a fall!

In fact, this is not the first time that LeTV has acted rashly and ended up causing a major negative international impact. On the night of July 25 this year, Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs and the sponsor (LeTV Sports) abruptly announced that the friendly match between the two clubs scheduled to be held in the Bird's Nest had been canceled. The announcement was made only five hours before the event. According to the official statement, "The game has been canceled due to recent heavy rain, in the interest of player and audience safety." Insiders revealed that the real reason, however, lay in the negligence of LeTV Sports and its failure to send its staff to check the pitch. It was discovered that there had been subsidence in the pitch just before the event was about to start. Such a careless mistake was a terrible embarrassment for LeTV Sports, and left the company liable for huge refunds and compensation payments.

This is a painful lesson for both LeTV Sports and Chinese motorsports

WRC Beijing Aborted—LeTV Sports Pays the Price Again?

2015 Season CRC Beijing-Huairou

Whether through postponement or outright cancellation, the WRC that was originally to be held in China in September is not going to happen as scheduled. We don’t know for certain if the problem is lack of funds or the claimed weather and road conditions, but now that LeTV has let FIA down, it is very unlikely to be the sponsor next year.

LeTV Sports will now find itself facing huge compensation payments. Meanwhile, the credibility of Chinese sponsors has also taken a hit in international sports circles. As for Chinese manufacturers and racing teams, not only will they have to pay heavy operational and maintenance costs, they also had to cover up the big talks. More importantly, Chinese racing teams and fans have lost an excellent opportunity to watch this major international motorsport event and learn in detail about how to run a racing team.

Nevertheless, we should still give a fair assessment to LeTV Sports – I would go for 30% positive and 70% negative. First of all, it takes courage to take on a major international event - that accounts for 10% of the positive. Another 20% goes to the staff of LeTV Sports who really wanted to make a success of the event. For example, the general manager of LeTV Sports events and his team worked day and night together with WRC observers and leaders of CAMF. They held meetings, carried out surveys, negotiated with the authorities, and tried to build cooperation, only to find that all was in vain.

This is a painful lesson for both LeTV Sports and Chinese motorsports. What they need to do now is come back down to earth. Big strides out of the blocks do not necessarily guarantee winning the race.

It also appears that while WRC Beijing cannot be held as scheduled, CRC Beijing only requires RMB 1.5 million yuan in sponsorship. If there is any company or individual able to put up this sponsorship fee as a deposit to CAMF by September or October this year, it is still possible that CRC Beijing will take place.

Let's wait and see whether LeTV Sports is willing to come forward with this sum of money.


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