by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 217
F1 >>> BUsinEss Ecclestone has been trying to bring F1 back to Vegas since it previously raced there in 1982 on a track in the Caesars Palace parking lot. The makeshift nature of the course failed to get support from within the series and it was abandoned after two races. A Grand Prix on the streets of the city would have much more of an impact. Not only would it put F1 on the doorstep of the world’s wealthiest entertainment magnates, it would also give the race a backdrop of landmarks which are recognisable all over the States. This would dramatically boost F1’s visibility in the country and would turbo-charge Ecclestone’s desire to gain ground in the lucrative US auto racing market which is dominated by NASCAR. F1 returned to the US in 2012 after a five-year absence with a race in Austin, Texas and it has driven interest in the series. Last year’s race in Austin attracted a reported crowd of 237,406 over the three days of the Grand Prix. It fuelled a 10.1% increase in F1’s television audience in America last year. The sport is broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and its flagship NBC channel which attracted a total of 12.6m viewers in 2014. F1’s annual media report reveals that last year the number of viewers in the US who watched between four and nine races increased by 128% whilst those who watched ten or more doubled. It adds that “NBCSN recorded year-on-year increases for every single round shown. On average each race shown on NBCSN attracted 85% more viewers this season when compared to 2013. The main NBC channel naturally continued to pull in the biggest audiences for Formula 1 in the USA with the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2014 ranked as the most watched race this year.” The Canadian Grand Prix alone got 3.5m unique viewers using the industry-standard measurement of anyone who watched at least 15 non-consecutive minutes of the sport. As good as these results are, F1 still trails the audience for America’s home- grown IndyCar series on the same network by 5%. This gap would narrow if there was a second race in the US. A Grand Prix was due to take place from 2013 on 3.2-miles of public road in New Jersey with the backdrop of the sweeping Manhattan skyline. It was announced with great fanfare in October 2011 but has since been dropped from the F1 calendar twice. In June last year the scale of the hurdle in the way of the race was laid bare by Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper which revealed that the organisers need to raise $100m to finish work on the track. A Grand Prix in downtown Vegas would almost certainly propel F1’s audience in US beyond that of IndyCar as it would also give the race a backdrop of landmarks which are recognisable all over the country. Hosting a Grand Prix in Vegas fits into the city’s strategy of diversifying from a tourist industry which depends on declining gambling revenue. In 2013 gambling revenue on The Strip came to $6.5bn which was short of its $6.8bn peak in 2007. In the first quarter of 2014 casino sales in Vegas were down 12% according to Bloomberg and resorts in the city are restructuring to accommodate this. The SLS Hotel & Casino, which originally opened in 1952 as the Sahara, was re-launched in August and according to its president, Rob Oseland, it only anticipates to get 30% of its revenue from gambling. That compares with an average of 45% across Nevada casinos today and 62% in 1984, according to the Centre for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Hosting a Grand Prix on the streets of Vegas would drive this diversification and it is highly ironic that in a city famous for flashing cash, money may be the stumbling block. 35 GPWEEK.com // 35 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: