Bend Circuit Excluded from the 2024 Supercars Calendar

    Shell V-Power Motorsport Park Set to be Omitted from 2024 Supercars Calendar

    Rumors are swirling that Shell V-Power Motorsport Park, located in South Australia, will not feature on the 2024 Supercars calendar. The potential exclusion of The Bend has been a hot topic of discussion within the motorsport community, and it now appears that the renowned facility may miss out on hosting a Supercars event next year. This news points towards a 12-event season, which falls short of the desired 15 events expressed by RACE Chairman Barclay Nettlefold.

    Supercars, bound by its television contract, is required to organize a minimum of 12 events. The existing 2023 calendar already meets this requirement, but if the championship extends beyond this minimum, Supercars must provide higher grants to charter holders. Each additional event above the minimum 12 entitles teams to $60,000 per charter, totaling $1.44 million across the 24-car field in 2024.

    While it is widely agreed among teams, drivers, fans, and championship management that 12 events are insufficient, Supercars faces financial challenges in expanding the calendar. The Bend’s estimated sanction fee, which it self-promotes, is unlikely to cover the $1.44 million payable to teams. It is believed that the sanction fee would instead amount to a mid-six figure sum.

    Adding a 13th event could potentially generate additional revenue for Supercars through its agreement with Foxtel. However, the exact uplift in revenue would depend on several factors, including the event type, circuit type, and whether it is held overseas. Broadcast revenue for Supercars in 2022 was $31,176,000, although the geographical breakdown is not available. It is worth noting that this revenue falls under the broader category of ‘Revenue from contracts with customers,’ which totaled $111,486,000, with $105,327,000 attributed to Australia and the remaining $6,159,000 to New Zealand.

    To neutralize the costs associated with a 13th event, Supercars would need an additional $940,000 from television, assuming a $500,000 sanction fee for The Bend. However, this estimate does not account for other expenses incurred by Supercars, such as those related to its Motorsport department, corporate functions, and television production. Losing money on another SuperSprint event within Australia is also an unappealing prospect for RACE/Supercars considering the financial challenges they have already faced, including a reported loss of $2.7 million in their first year of owning the category.

    While it would be advantageous for The Bend to host a Supercars event for branding purposes, there is uncertainty regarding the direct profitability of such an arrangement. The addition of Taupo to the calendar strengthens Supercars’ bargaining position, as they already have the necessary 12 events to fulfill their television contract. Consequently, reaching an agreement on a feasible sanction fee for Tailem Bend, where Supercars has raced annually since 2018, may prove challenging for the two parties.

    In conclusion, it seems highly likely that Shell V-Power Motorsport Park will not be a part of the 2024 Supercars calendar. With a desire for 15 events, but financial constraints hindering further expansion, Supercars and RACE face a complex balancing act. The future of The Bend as a Supercars venue remains uncertain, while Taupo’s inclusion strengthens Supercars’ position in negotiations. The final outcome will be eagerly awaited by fans, teams, and drivers alike.

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