This weekend marks the return to the United States of Formula 1 after an absence of five years.
And as the USA is the second largest market for JA on F1 readers, with over 700,000 American visitors this year, we want to hear from you about how the event is being covered by the national and local press as well as TV and Radio.
Oscar Wilde said that ‘the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about’ and that’s certainly true of this event. So is it being talked about or not? Let us know.
The event will be televised by Speed Channel, the penultimate race of its contract before F1 moves onto NBC. They will show all the practice sessions, qualifying and the race.
But what about sports news items, ESPN Sports Centre, CNN and the like? Is F1 on the map this week?
Austin is the 10th different venue for the Grand Prix, as it seeks to take root in the USA after numerous failed attempts over the years.
The event looks like being a success in Year One at a local level in Austin – most of the 120,000 tickets for the Circuit of the Americas have been sold, with three day passes going for $159. There is strong demand in the USA; it appears that only 80% of these tickets have been sold to US fans.
Austin’s location, within three hours drive of three major cities (Houston, Dallas and San Antonio) with a combined population of 22 million people, is encouraging, but only if the event is covered in the media.
The tricky part is always getting the customers to spread the word and come back in Year Two, but McLaren has lent them a hand by hiring Mexican Sergio Perez, which should ramp up demand from Mexican fans, based only a few hours drive away from Austin across the border.
Susan Combs, the state comptroller, who has organised for the state of Texas to channel $25 million of its Major Events Trust Fund into the event, told the Financial Times that “you’re going to see the global markets taking a look at Austin” – indicating that Austin’s interest is in putting itself on the map internationally.
But it needs the oxygen of publicity in the US and on that we would like US readers to keep us informed of how much penetration it is getting.