I read on GrandPrix.com that FOA has signed a deal with a firm called Kitbag to operate the merchandise section of the Formula 1 website. I’m not sure what it means for the current F1 store. But I certainly hope it means that it will start selling much better products.
Whenever I take a look at the F1 store, I am flabbergasted. This is surely the biggest mistake Bernie Ecclestone has ever made. I can’t imagine many sales are made at all.
I remember a few years back filling in a survey for Formula1.com. One of the questions asked if I would buy official Formula 1 baseball caps and the like. I said no and it asked back, why not? All I could write was, “Why would I?” I mean, why would you?
To the extent that people want merchandise, it is usually to express their support for a team or driver. The same goes for any sport. It’s not too often you see anyone walking down the street wearing an official FA Barclays Premier League t-shirt or any other generic football merchandise.
So quite what possessed Bernie Ecclestone to think that people would be prepared to pay astronomical prices for Formula 1 merchandise is beyond me. T-shirts, for instance, are £30. But that’s just the start of it.
The worst product, which I have featured on this blog before, is this baseball cap which features an F1 logo made out of Swarovski crystals. It looks rather chav-tastic to me. The pink one really is the sort of thing an eight year old girl would wear, rather than anyone who’d like to be taken seriously. But it will take a long time to accumulate £125 out of pocket money.
I understand that Formula 1 likes to be seen as a cut above. And this approach does avoid the tackier Nascar products such as Nascar meat snacks (more at Boing Boing). But by asking for £250 for a ringbinder and £260 for a mousemat (not to mention the £390 watches, although they actually look rather nice), it just makes F1 look like it has its collective head up its arse.