A landscape composed by Daniel Ricciardo wearing a Texas cowboy hat; multi-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal on the podium; and the shout of 380,000 fans was what turned the United States Grand Prix into a record party for the history of Formula 1.
In terms of influx, it was the race with the largest audience after surpassing 351,000 at the 2018 Silverstone Grand Prix (Great Britain). It is strong proof for the organizers that the United States has become the market fastest-growing Formula 1 fans, with 36 million fans, 28 million TV reach and 2 million social media followers, as revealed by Chloe Targett-Adams, global head of F1 racing promotion, ahead of the circuit. American of the weekend.
“I think it’s the biggest sporting event in America in a long time and also the biggest sporting event in the world this year, given that the Olympics couldn’t have crowds, unfortunately,” said Bobby Epstein, president of the track. Austin.
The Texan party, which concluded with Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez on the podium, accompanied by the image of Shaq O’Neal, was designed by the organizers to take advantage of other American sports markets and attract motor racing fans. The multi-time Lakers champion, for example, was there in reference to the NBA’s 75th anniversary.
“Liberty Media is trying to transform the sport into something more sustainable by limiting the cost on the Formula 1 side and uncovering the revenue, if you will, monetizing the sport much better. We see this as a possibility of becoming a franchise in a sport like the NBA or other sports here in the United States, making it much more sustainable, because you don’t have to win the championship every year to imagine that you have a future in the sport. ” , diagnosed Laurent Rossi, CEO of the Alpine team, which in 2021 has in its team the veteran Spanish driver, Fernando Alonso.
The US market is the reflection of the growth of Formula 1 at a global level, either due to its own story content strategies on various social platforms with influencers, as well as the documentary series ‘Drive to survive’, launched on Netflix since March 2019.
“We have had strong live racing audience growth of up to 62% compared to the 2020 season average. I think part of that is because we have managed to create, or are in the process of creating this presence, 365 days a year, ”said Targett-Adams.
Liberty Media has driven this transformation since it acquired the championship in 2017 for $ 4.6 billion. At present, its global audience averages 32 years, four less than in 2017. In addition, female participation has almost doubled from 18.3% to 26%: “What we really want is to have a pilot at some point over the next five to 10 years and there is no physical reason why it shouldn’t happen, ”said James Allen, President of Motorsport Network.
Audience and fan growth has been reflected in the championship coffers as it posted solid earnings for the second quarter of 2021, despite ongoing lockdown restrictions around the world. Revenues improved significantly compared to the same period in 2020, going from $ 24 million to $ 501 million.
Regarding the United States, the appointment in Austin was a preamble to what will be experienced in 2022, when there will be two races in this country for the first time since 1984, since the Miami circuit, located next to the Hard Rock facilities, will join. NFL Dolphins Stadium, one more tie in the strategy of adding fans of another popular sport.
In addition, according to the Axios media, there are also rumors that a third race would come to the United States to be run in Las Vegas, Indianapolis or even Manhattan, since the owner of F1, Liberty Media, who also owns the Atlanta Braves (2021 Major League Baseball finalists) are looking to expand their presence in North America.