Austin F1 Race Deemed A Success Despite Race Day Attendance Just Below Expectations
Following the F1 U.S. Grand Prix last weekend at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), it is "time for bookkeepers, accountants and economists to document -- and debate -- the costs and benefits of Austin playing host to an international racing event," according to Copelin & Novak of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. But it will be "months before a final tally for the inaugural race is rung up." The 117,429 attendance on race day was "slightly above average for Formula One races, but was less than the 125,000 projected" in an economic study before the race. COTA Media & Community Relations Manager Ali Putnam said that of the more than 110,000 tickets sold, "60 percent of the buyers were from outside Texas and the remainder were Texas residents." She said that 15% of the ticket buyers "came from 46 countries, primarily Mexico, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and a mix of Western European and Central/South American countries." COTA President Steve Sexton said that the track "met expectations on ticket and parking sales," but added that he "didn’t yet have figures for food, beverages or merchandise" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/20).
RAVE REVIEWS: In London, David Tremayne notes a "huge amount of effort went into creating a decent race track, which combined sections from other tracks, such as Interlagos, Silverstone, Hockenheim and Istanbul Park, and would be challenging and offer drivers the possibility to overtake." The Friday crowd "doubled the raceday crowd" when the U.S. Grand Prix was held in Phoenix from '89-91 and there were a "number of celebrities in the paddock." It was "teeming not just with famous faces from racing, but with actors, singers, entertainers, movie-makers and shakers, athletes from other sports and politicians." But "crucially, there was one area in which size was not too excessive, and that was Austin itself." The FanFest street shows "proved massively popular" and was "F1 marketing the way it should be done." Tremayne: "Was the U.S. GP a success? It was a lot more than that" (London INDEPENDENT, 11/20).