The upcoming motorbike racing tournament, MotoGP Bharat, is expected to create an economic impact of over Rs 950 crore in India, Vaibhav Sinha, chief executive officer (CEO) of Fairstreet Sports, the Indian promoters of the event, told Raghav Aggarwal from Business Standard in an interview over Zoom.
Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:
How much impact, in terms of economy, is MotoGP Bharat expected to create in India?
Traditionally, Dorna has studied the average impact of such races to be around 106 million euros in the provinces where they organise these races every year. In India, it roughly translates to around Rs 950 crore. But here, we expect to exceed this number as India is a larger country with a higher number of consumers. The impact of industry will be bigger.
How much impact is it expected to have on the economy of Uttar Pradesh?
Invest UP, the investment arm of the Uttar Pradesh government, is holding a conclave of CEOs with the industry partners of MotoGP on the sidelines of the race. While it is difficult to quantify the economic impact in the state at this stage, we have seen hotels in Noida and Greater Noida selling at some obnoxious numbers. We have quite a lot of international travellers coming in, tons of cargo landing at the New Delhi airport and there are millions of rupees of food and beverages that will be transacted.
We have received plenty of requests from international travellers who want to visit the Taj Mahal, Ayodhya and other places. So, it will be beneficial to the tourism industry also. The exact amount, however, is difficult to determine at this stage.
How has the Buddh International Circuit been adapted to accommodate MotoGP racing?
This track was originally designed for cars. It was approved by Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). It is currently being homologated to suit motorcycles as well. The turns are being made safer. Asphalt has been reduced, and gravel has been increased to make the track safe for bikes.
Moreover, on various turns, gravel work is being done to absorb the speeding bikes if any unfortunate incident takes place. Also, installations of 1,800 metres of new safety barricading have been installed along the track.
This track will now be able to hold both F1 and MotoGP races.
What is the role of women in MotoGP Bharat?
As of now, there is a very small participation of women in motorsports, even globally. 80 per cent of the audience, spectators and the participants are men. We intend to change that.
Several women bikers are being roped in as influencers to spread the word about MotoGP racing. Behind the scenes, we have a huge team of women supporting us in organising this race. The head of event standard operating procedures (SOPs), head of admin, head of human resources (HR), and several other roles are being held by women.
Are you seeing any interest from big corporations?
We are seeing very high interest from the biggest companies. But specifically, the auto industry has rallied around us. Ducati, KTM, and Honda, among others, all of these brands have partnered with us for the event.
We are also witnessing interest from non-auto brands.
How will this change the biking culture in India?
We are the largest two-wheelers selling market in the world. We sell nearly 18 million across India. Out of this, one million are in the category of 250 cc plus. So, one million people buy bikes for more than just transportation. They buy it for the thrill of biking. So, there is a potential market waiting to be tapped and turning it into a sport.
We expect this event to put a light on that.
How will MotoGP Bharat enhance sports tourism in India?
MotoGP will be transformational for sports tourism in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also laid emphasis on making India a destination for sports tourism. This event is truly of global stature.
A lot of participants already want to stay back for a few more days and visit the monuments. Sports tourism is going to be the biggest benefactor of this event.