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Free streaming won’t help draw fans

Much has already been said, and written, about Saturday’s abandonment of the Vauxhall International North West 200 after just one brief two-lap race.

And while the biggest call is for more flexibility to the current road closing order, something also needs to be done to get the fans back in the grandstands.

Top class riders and teams, improved infrastructure and peripheral event entertainment are all part of the North West 200 attraction and ‘the hook’ that marketeers use to lure us in to spend our hard earned cash.

But what about the main source of income for the promoting club: programme sales?

The North West 200 grandstand seats provide a service, as do car parks and camping facilities but the profit margin is minimal, and with limited Government funding, Mervyn Whyte and his team still rely heavily on programme sales, for much needed revenue.

BBC Sport Northern Ireland do a great job for the event, but previously the Red Button and now Live Streaming is keeping fans away from the event.

One die-hard told me, he hadn’t missed the event for 40 years but why bother now in the current economic downturn, when it’s free on the Internet.

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The event needs fans streaming into Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart during Race Week and not in front of their PCs. Certainly food for thought.