World: Medium of the week - Shanghai makes lucrative addition to F1 calendar

Advertisers and racing fans are benefiting from China's F1 debut. The speed demons have finally arrived on Chinese shores, with Shanghai set to host its first Formula One Grand Prix this weekend.

The dominant state-owned broadcaster Central Chinese Television will be the only broadcaster for the event locally, while international coverage will be divided between up to 25 broadcasters around the world ranging from ITV in the UK to RTL in Germany.

There is also no shortage of people lining up to see the event live.

The organisers were going to make 150,000 out of the 200,000 seats at the circuit available to spectators initially, but had to add another 10,000 owing to overwhelming ticket demand.

The Chinese oil giant Sinopec is the title sponsor of the event, while Shanghai International Circuit is the official promoter.

"Media interest around F1 has been high. F1 is probably by far the biggest global sporting event that Shanghai has hosted and it's been the talk of the town," the MindShare and Maxus China chief executive, Bessie Lee, says. Media buyers say outdoor signage sites around the F1 arena and its routes in the eastern Chinese metropolis have been selling well, particularly among automobile and auto-related names. Tobacco companies have also been aggressively buying advertising.

The novelty of the Chinese Grand Prix, which will be the 16th of this season's 18 races, has been augmented by promotional racing events featuring international Asian stars such as Jackie Chan.

With the Shanghai Grand Prix, China joins its Asian neighbours Malaysia and Japan in hosting F1. However, the new 5.45km circuit in Shanghai overshadows every other circuit in the World Championship and will enable F1 cars to reach speeds of up to 203mph. And in a deal with Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, Shanghai will be hosting a Grand Prix for the next seven years.

Title sponsor: Sinopec

Offical promoter: Shanghai International Circuit

Dates: 24-26 September

Broadcasters: CCTV (China) and up to 25 international broadcasters: ITV

(UK), RTL (Germany), TF1 (France), Speed Vision (US), RAI (Italy),

Channel 4 (Australia), Global (Brazil)

Typical advertisers: Shell, Vodafone, Marlboro, Elf, Orange, Toyota

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