A Report on the Popularity of the Isle of Man TT Festival

Topics: Popularity


This is a report into the appeal of the Isle of Man TT festival that takes place annually on the Isle of Man. This report has used qualitative research and quantitative research to show that the event has become more popular with the public and competitors alike over its 100 year history. This paper also found that financial gain is not a driving force for the success of the event Almost all competitors lose money just to take part in the event because of the belief that the track is something special and is a form of counter culture in what has been describe as the “era of health and safety, where everything is wrapped in plastic and isn’t real” (Martin, 2012).

It is also shown that the event organisers and Isle of Man Tourism are making vast amounts of money that increases each year (IOMToday, 2013) because of sponsorship deals that buy into the event and add to its alternative image.

This financial success can only help to increase the chances of this event having a future despite ongoing concerns about its safety (BBC, 2014).

History of the isle of Man TT At the beginning of the last century with the red flag act freshly repealed motorbikes had free reign of the UK highways but were restricted to ZOMPH (Gov, 1903), The Isle of Man had lifted this limit to stage motor races and in 1907 the first motorcycle ”IT took place (Gov, 1920) Because the first bikes were partially pedal power the course was shorter measuring 15 miles and 1470 yards in length (IOMTT, 2011).

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The winner of this event was Charlie Collier at an average speed of 38.21MPl-l (IOMTT, 2011) In 1911 were moved to the full mountain circuit which is 37175 miles in length and contains 264 corners (lOMT’l’> 2011). In 1914 crash helmets were compulsory and the start was moved to the top of Bray Hill a short distance from where it is today (IOMTT, 2011), By 1920 there were as many as 12 factory teams taking part each year although the course was still fairly rudimentary.

First side car event happened in 1923 but was dropped two years late (IOMTT, 2011): In 1928 Archie Burgins tragic practice lap lead to the closure of the track to normal traffic during practice lapst Consequentially this lead to an increase in speed during the practice laps (IOMTT, 2011).

By 1930 20 nationalities were taking part. Jimmy Simpson became the first man to lap at GOMPH, 70MPH and 80 mph (IOMTT, 2011), Bob McIntyre first broke the 100mph lap average record in 1957 with a lap average of 101i03MPH on his second lap of the 8 lap senior Tl‘ race (IOMTT, 2011) During 1949 until 1976 the event was a stage in the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme but transferred to the United Kingdom after safety concerns and became part of the T1″ Formula 1 championship until 1990, From 1989 onwards the race has been developed by the Isle of Man Department of Tourism alongside ACU Events Ltd as now known as the Isle of Man TT festival (IOMTT, 2011) The fastest ever lap average is 1311671MPH set by John Mcguinness in the 2013 Senior class race (IOM’IT, 2011) The deep history and prestige of this race is often over shadowed by the fact that it is the most dangerous race in the world with 240 deaths, including race officials and spectators, in its 106 year history (Metro, 2013).

The track itself is narrow, country roads lined with telegraph poles and stone walls Combining this with the speed that the riders travel at when attempting to break the lap average creates a very dangerous riding environment.


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  • Event Organisers

Isle of Man Department of Tourism ACU Events LTD Gorilla Events Sponsors the event

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{7/ Ft mmmu Dt/vt/In/unt’nl —This body is invested the TT Festival because of the economic impact. The event boosts the Manx economy by £19 million (IOMToday, 2010) [trot — A helmet designer and manufacturer that emphasises the safety of their helmets (Aral, 2014)

Bennetts — Insurers of road bikes in the United Kingdom that promote ‘Dreams’ (2014), where customers who feel inspired by the motorsport events they have attended can participate in future Bennetts sponsored events with their heroes Domese — By providing safety equipment for the competitors of this road race with such a high mortality rate, Dainese could be saying that because of their equipment, less people are dyeing. Dun/op 7 Official Tyre Partner 2014 (tyres manufacturer).

When sponsoring this event Dunlop are promoting a ‘Race to Road’ (Dunlop, 2014) program where by race tyres are modified for use by road bikes. It can be assumed that this is done so people at the event see the competitors and would want to emulate them as best they can at home once the event has finished (.1 Ulmm t (Jill/UH — Official Time Keeper 2014 (watch manufacturer), Because this event is a time-trailed race, meaning that competitors race against the clock as opposed to each other, a Swiss made watch has made the decision to sponsor the event, Murmur Energy (energy drink) — Monster Energy sponsor alternative sport events with the hope that their product will be seen as something edgy and extreme.

The comment this makes about the TT event attendees is that they aspire to live a extreme and edge life like the competitors of the TT. The product of Monster Energy is an energy drink which they claim helps athletes push themselves further in competition. Again one can assume that this is what the tribe of the Isle of Man TT want to be like and would buy into Monster Energy’s marketing. Alum] (automotive products) l’uAt’ISluI‘s – Title sponsor of the Senior’I’l‘ race 2014. PokerStars is an online poker tournament with high stakes and a £1 million tournament is held every Sunday of the year (PokerStars, 2014). An obvious comparison to be made between the target customers of both the TI‘ race and of PokerStars is that both are a high stakes gamble.

Players of the poker tournament gamble large amounts of cash and the kind of people who race in the TT or attend the event are gambling with their lives, RUM) is an investment and tax-planning solutions company. This product is going to be aimed at the racing team owners. Entering a team is expensive and according to Guy Martin “you don‘t get much change from 60 grand” (2012) This would be ideal for team owners and hobbyists who would be looking to save as much money as they can through tax management idea and investment plans. 5L5 7 Title sponsor of SES “IT Zero Race for clean emotions (satellite television producers) Suhmu – Subaru advertise their car and 4×4 range at this event, Being a high cost product Subaru are trying to reach the kind of people who would like tollicittl bodies  participate in one of the ‘IT racesi On the event‘s website they describe the kind of personality traits they are looking for; ‘Subaru drivers don ‘t like to follow the crowd.

They’re the adventurous ones, the spirited ones, they do things that othersjust talk about, And they do it their way. They very rarely have a map or a plan. Because they live for the now and they enjoy every single moment ofiti’ Sure —A telecommunications provider for the Isle of Man, Sure has taken advantage of the large amount of foreign visitors coming to the island that may be charged roaming fees for mobile phone usage.

lmtttllttl Hum; — Yamaha Motor promote ATVs and power generators which will be to take advantage of the nature of the event The majority of people coming to the event come from England and are camping on the island. Hiring a generator to power the mechanical equipment needed is a necessity. Tourism and Motorsport Motorsport Medical Services NHS Isle of Man Air Ambulance \”UlulllL‘L’lb 7 Volunteers at the event obviously don’t receive any financial compensation, The reasons they participate are for what can be called bragging rights. They take part in the event because they feel passionately about what the races stand for and what how it can be so unique when compared to other sports.

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Competitor s and Teams 0 Sponsors of the teams and the individual competitors hniei La inment Grandstand retailers The RAF Red Arrows Pigs on the Wing Mad Magazine The fun fair Monster Energy’s TT Mayhem

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  • ITV(4) BBC Radio
  • Manx Radio

Mdi keting Strategy The marketing of the Isle of Man TT is based on emotion because of the uniqueness of the event. The event doesn’t revolve around prize money or a glamorous life style. The competitors don’t have the status that drivers of Formula One have, they sleep in caravans and tents alongside the spectators (Calvin, 2013) and have open pits which anyone attending the event can walk through (Al Jazeera, 2012).

For the spectators it can be said that this event is built on community spirit and wanting to be part of something that the rest of society may cast a judgemental eye on For the competitors, professional and amateur, this event is marketed to them differently. In interviews with the press the riders often talk about death. Whether talking about the death of a friend or how close they have been to dying on the circuit.

During an interview at the North West 200, Guy Martin (2010) commented on the Isle of Man TT by saying “If you’re not crashing, you’re not trying”. This comment can be applied to both the competitors and the attendees in the sense that for the TT, the racers push themselves to the point of death just to prove that they can master the track, and the attendees are there with quite possibly the expectation that somebody may suffer a serious injury by crashing their bike. The venue for the event can be seen as part of the marketing strategy. The venue for the track is an entire island (Drift Innovation, 2013) (see appendices i), The “IT race takes place on public roads which is a sight all are familiar with, however this road race goes from being in a highly populated public area into short winding country roads then onto long mountainous stretchest To add to this, Weem (2013) says that different pans of the track can have different weather conditions on the same lap which can the venue’s awe inspiring sights, Promotion of the event is minimal. For advertising the event organisers rely heavily on the competitors and sponsors doing interviews with the press to reassure the public about safety concerns that arise every year (George, 2012) (Cooper, 2013) (BBC, 2014)

The main focus on promoting the event comes from social media where montage videos are created in partnership with the sponsors of the event These videos have a heavy emphasis on the speed of the bikes and the danger and beauty of the landscape (Official Isle of Man TT, 2014).


The Isle of Man TT has been running for over 100 years and in an article touting the financial success and commercial growth of the event, the Isle of Man Tourism Political Member Geoff Corkish said; “The growing interest in the ITraces worldwide is again reflected in a growing TV and on- iine audience as well as a significant increase in commercial revenue compared with the 2011 event. ” The money earned from this and the ticket sales goes to the event organisers, ACU Events LTD and Gorilla Events The Isle of Man Department of Tourism also profits from the event with the boost that is given to the islands economy, In 2010 it was revealed that visitors to the event spent £19 million over the course of two weeks (BBC, 2010) and in 2013 spending had increased to £262 million As far as the competitors are concerned “there is no such thing as cheap racing” (Al Jazeera, 2012) and racing teams “don‘t have much change after £50,000 or £60,000” (Hector Niell, 2012) after all the costs of the festival are totalled upi Wilson Craig (2012), team owner of Wilson Craig Racing said that the only way he can fund his team for the event is through sponsorship and for them to continue racing he needs to find a “good” sponsor and to finish in first place otherwise they won’t breakeven. Privateers, who are independent racers at the event and fund themselves without major financial backing, often find sponsorship from local companies and family John Ingram found sponsorship in 2012 from his local butcher for £250 to help him get to the race.

Ingramalso adds that he doesn’t profit from the event and that he doesn‘t think that other privateers do either (Ingram, 2012) It can be assumed that the event organiser’s financial success can only help to increase the chances of this event having a future despite ongoing concerns about its safety (BBC, 2014), which is in turn act as an emotional trigger and add to the appeal of the race (George, 2012).


This report into the appeal of the Isle of Man TT festival used qualitative research and quantitative research to show the growth in popularity of the event over its 100 year history. It was found that the growth in popularity and increased financial success was down to how the event is marketed The event is marketed as something counterculture and that it demonstrates man’s struggle over nature It was found that the marketing towards the tribe of bikers is so successful that financial success is secondary to the participants and the vast majority make a loss after spending upwards of £60,000. The financial success is on the side of the event’s organisers whom have seen an increase in venue and consumer spending (BBC, 2013) and more lucrative television distribution deals (IOMTT, 2012)


  1. Al Jazeera, (2012). Al Jazeera Correspondent – Isle of Man TT: A Dangerous Addiction.
  2. Available at: http://youtu,be/g8J657qSUbY [Accessed 20 May 2014], Arai, I, (2014).
  3. Arai -The official Isle anan TT website. [online] lamttcom, Available at: http://www.iomtt.com/Parmers/Arai.aspx [Accessed 20 May. 2014].
  4. BBC News, (2014). Covert police enlisted for 1Tsafety. [online] Available at: http://www,bbc.co.Llk/news/warld-europe-isle-of—man-27407S93 [Accessed 20 May. 2014]. Drift HD Ghost, (2013). Drift HD Ghost: Isle ofMan TTFull Onboard Lap 2013.
  5. Available at: http://yautu.be/d9rTfiqu30 [Accessed 20 May. 2014].
  6. George, P. (2014). Why The World’s Deadliest Race Could Never Happen Again. [online] Jalopnik. Available at: http://jalopnik.com/5931270/why-the-worlds-deadliest-race- could-never—happen-again [Accessed 20 May, 2014].
  7. Gurney, D, (2013), All you need to know about lsle anan TTraces. [online] Metro. Available at: htlp://meLro.co.uk/2013/05/31/isle-of-man-u-Lhe-worlds-mest-dangerous- sporting-event-3816587/ [Accessed 20 May. 2014].
  8. Independent.co.uk, (2013), [online] Available at: http://www,independentco.uk/sport/motar— racing/Ihe-last»wordAthe-isle-of-man-u-roberI-dunlops-death-and-a-race-Ihat»defies-the- nanny-state-8650870.html [Accessed 20 May, 2014]

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A Report on the Popularity of the Isle of Man TT Festival. (2022, Jun 21). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-report-on-the-popularity-of-the-isle-of-man-tt-festival/

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