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Lone Wolf and why no ideas are new ideas...


Innovation is important, plagiarism is faster. So said one business wag commenting on the need for new ideas to keep ahead of the game.

The message is plain. Don't be afraid to copy a good idea - if you can get away with it! And that is what Paolo Flammini, boss of World Superbikes, should be contemplating as he sees Carlo Checa walking away with his championship.


And who should he be copying? British Superbikes and their Showdown which starts next week. What this ensures, more or less, that the championship cannot be won until the last round because the early rounds are qualifiers for the final six races.

World Superbikes, under it's new ownership, needs livening up. This is just for starters.

PS - nothing is new. The qualifying idea came from NASCAR in the US. And do the more elderly among us remember when we had heats!


And what are we to make of the deal which transfers ownership of the World Superbike Championship to the owners of ....... MotoGP!! Predictably the new owners are saying they would will continue to run the series separately and it will be business as usual. We should take that at face value, for the moment, and indeed it is what we hope might happen.

But it is an intriguing situation and one that deserves further examination. One must assume that the transfer of ownership had to be approved by the FIM, the ultimate sanctioning body of both championships. And that their approval was given following undertakings by Bridgepoint that WSBK would be run as a separate championship and was therefore safe in their hands.

Of course, one can never be sure of what does happen behind the dark doors of that Swiss-based organisation especially when it is dealing with Infront, another Swiss company. But of one thing we can be sure. Bridgepoint is a highly commercial organisation which has to make

profit for it's investors, the rule of thumb is to double your money is three to five years!

They paid £480m for Infront which is run by by Philippe Blatter, nephew of Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, which controls world football. It's main business is sports marketing rights, mainly in ski-ing and, surprise, surprise, football. Including the World Cup - remember. All that controversy when England lost out. OK, maybe not!


World Superbikes is a very small part of Infront, which has revenues of £500m and one has to wonder why they bought it in the first place. But it was probably a very good deal for the Flammini brothers who carried in running it as if nothing had happened.

Indeed nothing did appear to happen as Infront, which claims to be one of the world's top sports agencies, was largely invisible. But one assumes they provided some much-needed financial stability to WSB.

Will the new owners do the same? Will they invest? It depends on whether they see MotoGP and WSB as competing or complementary? As observed here before, the objectives of mergers is reduce cost, including what may be seen as the unnecessary cost of competition. If they are seen as complementary then WSB has a chance to continue on it's merry way.

Bridgepoint's priorities will be MotoGP first and WSB second. Much will depend on the undertakings given to the FIM and the manufacturers. And their timing on the sale of MotoGP which is on their agenda if not this year, then next.


Keep on watching this space.

PS - one of the bidders for Infront was none other than the Qatar Investment Authority who are also in the frame to buy Silverstone!

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