Posted on November 20, 2012
Motorsport Business Forum, Austin

The importance of the United States market to Formula 1 was a topic of constant discussion during the inaugural Austin Grand Prix weekend and there were several outreach initiatives during the weekend, including a FOTA Fans Forum and a business symposium to take F1 into the Texan and wider US business community.

The Motor Sport Business Forum, which over the past eight years has established itself as the leading event for discussion and networking on the major issues around the world of motorsport business, hosted the inaugural Texas Business Symposium at the University of Texas.

Over 200 delegates, both from the local business community and the world of F1 itself, attended the forum with a number of senior figures from the Circuit of the Americas and F1 making speeches during the course of the event.

The keynote speech was delivered by Mercedes’ F1 CEO Nick Fry while CoTA co-founders Red McCombs and Bobby Epstein also addressed the floor.

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery also gave a talk as did Marussia team president Graeme Lowdon, along with sponsorship heads from prominent F1 partners Tata Communications and Santander.

The forum was also about F1 stakeholders gaining a wider understanding of the Texan business sector and the CEO of the event’s organisers, Katja Heim, said: “The success of the symposium clearly demonstrates there is an appetite in the US market to explore the many commercial opportunities that F1 has to offer.”

The 2012 JA on F1 yearbook – “The Year of Living Dangerously” – is released on December 7. Pre-order your signed copy here now.

Initiatives to help build F1 in the USA
16 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Tim
        Date: November 21st, 2012 @ 2:08 pm 

    The single biggest thing F1 could do is get the GP on a major TV Network. This means convincing Brian Roberts (Comcast) to air it on the NBC Network on Sunday afternoon. NBC, currently has no NFL games for that time slot. Burying it on some obscure channel will only repeat the mistake made with Speed Channel. Speed did the best they could but had next to zero chance to grow viewership.

    Tim

    [Reply]

    madmax Reply:

    “Burying it on some obscure channel”

    Sounds like sky f1 in the Uk. Very few have it and the ratings have dived this year with only half live on the BBC.

    [Reply]

    Blade Runner Reply:

    I was totally against the move to Sky in the UK and swore I would not pay any extra for it.

    As it happens, I got the Sky-F1 channel for “free” as I was already paying for, I think, HD programs? So it was there for me to watch without any extra spending.

    I did not think that Sky could do a better job than the BBC, as their coverage over the last few years has been outstanding but now I have got over the initial shock of a different presenter, the actual coverage and content is not only as good as the BBCs was/ is, it is actually far better.

    Even the SkyPad, which I thought was a gimmick, is good, now it is being used properly. The whole coverage is outstanding and I did not think I would ever say this but if you only have BBC then you should pay the small amount extra to get the Sky package.

    Not just the actual races, the coverage of old races and the F1 Show, with unique interviews, it all adds up to a very good service for what is relatively little extra payment, if any as in my case.

    When the races are live on both, I always go for the Sky program because it is, simply, just a lot better.

    [Reply]

    madmax Reply:

    £360 a year which works out as £18 a GP for the minimum package is quite a lot for most.

    It’s good that you prefer Sky but the viewing figures show their audience half every-time they go up against the BBC live so that isn’t a great result for comparing a £360 a year package with something basically free.

    I agree Anthony is great on the Skypad although Georgie in the tight dress looking clueless is in poor taste.


  2.   2. Posted By: Kiril Varbanov
        Date: November 21st, 2012 @ 2:12 pm 

    That bodes well for both large market such as US and subsequently for the great track at Austin. Looking forward to the 2013 race.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Jeremy Kane
        Date: November 21st, 2012 @ 2:47 pm 

    I’ve been thinking about the things that F1 needs to do to be more popular in the U.S. I think it will take some unusual thinking – things that work for promoting movies would be the place to start.

    One major issue F1 has had in the U.S. has been the time of the races – I DVR most of them, since they are usually between 1am & 8am on Sunday. So you can’t depend on the RACE bringing interest – something else has to do it, to make people want to DVR or wake up early to watch it.

    Heavy rotation of drivers and other F1 “characters” on morning and late night shows in the days/weeks leading up to the race (a 3-week break before the race would help here), including “The Daily Show” (Jon Stewart) would be a huge step.

    NBC taking over the reigns of U.S. broadcasts could help here. If they show the races live, and then re-broadcast on NBC at some set time each week, that would be huge.

    But in addition, there are some even more extreme ideas I’ve had – a reality show, focusing on any interesting aspect of F1. Could be following the life of a driver, mechanic, whatever. There are reality shows in the U.S. about impound lots and pawn stores – certainly something about F1 could find an audience.

    And finally, U.S. sports fans will always have a hard time rooting for “foreign” drivers. I mean foreign in 2 ways – the obvious way, but also simply meaning drivers they don’t know. What they need is some name recognition. Lewis can help here – he’s made appearances in commercials and movies, and even been in the audience of “Dancing with the Stars.” But most helpful would be some U.S. presence in F1. A U.S. team, U.S. driver, something that the U.S. F1 newbie can latch onto.

    Without at least some of these things, I don’t think F1 can take off here.

    [Reply]

    RCOne Reply:

    Alexander Rossi getting a ride with Caterham F1 in the near future would boost things a lot on the driver side.

    He is genuinely good too, so it would not be a case of having a US driver for the sake of it.

    [Reply]

    Jeremy Kane Reply:

    I certainly think that’s a realistic (and good) start, but being in a backmarker team, he’d be unlikely to ever be fighting for wins or even good points; so that would almost certainly have to lead to something bigger for the following year.

    [Reply]

    tim Reply:

    Hopefully someone with influence reads that. I’d say that’s pretty on the money.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Kit
        Date: November 21st, 2012 @ 3:36 pm 

    Is there a site, where all the speech text by all the speakers are publicly viewable?

    Rgds,
    Kit

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not that I’m aware of. I’m always trying to persuade them to do that…

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Rachel
        Date: November 21st, 2012 @ 5:01 pm 

    I liveblogged the first 2 sessions; the keynote with Nick Fry and the Sponsorship session. the third, on Technical elements, was a lot less conversational, so still trying to see if notes will make a blog post.

    Found here

    http://blog.bibrik.com/archives/2012/11/motorsports_business_forum_austin_nick_fry.html

    and

    http://blog.bibrik.com/archives/2012/11/motorsports_business_forum_austin_sponsorships.html

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Thanks Rachel, really handy! Where would we be without you?

    [Reply]

    Kit Reply:

    Nice one Rachel!

    Thanks too!

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: toleman fan
        Date: November 21st, 2012 @ 8:55 pm 

    >Mercedes’ F1 CEO Nick Fry

    Am I the only one who hasn’t seen any reference to Nick Fry in, oh, years? Didn’t even know he was still with the team.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Kimi4WDC
        Date: November 22nd, 2012 @ 4:41 am 

    If FOTA was not a dinosaur. They would have followed an on-line live with on demand options for years now.

    Pay $5-10 a month for live footage, same footage can be accessed by you at any time if you want to review the season or time was inconvenient. World wide!!!!

    Korea have been doing this for ages, for their “non-existent” e-sports(compare to F1) market with great success. This just shows that who ever is running things in F1 right now is stuck in the past and incompetent of taking F1 on to the next level.

    It’s just doen’t make sense with all the streaming technology. I would EVEN gladly pay $40 to have access SkySports F1 HD over the internet, but I can’t cause I live in Australia. So I have to stick to watching F1 on a “questionable” stream for free.

    It is too late for F1 to penetrate TV in US, they blew it long time ago. Internet can and will save them if they get out of the boardrooms and see what is going on in the real world.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply





COUNTDOWN TO NEXT RACE
Strategy Report
Innovation and Technology brought to you by TATA Communications
Senna DVD
Download the Chequered Flag Podcast here
MTS
Darren Heath
Sport Right Now