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11/21/2012

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Thanks for listening to our post race show :). Ok, maybe we just agree that we need more American companies there!

Beers and burgers were no where near that expensive, they were $5-6 less than what you quoted, which is on-par with any US sporting event. I also paid $150 for my GA tickets, 3 days, and no contract, which you decided to pretend didn't even exist? I guess taking the naysayer view is a good way to get eyeballs and attract attention, but this is just factually wrong.

With NBC doing the broadcast next year maybe things will be for the better for the longevity of the sport in the US.

The thing about F1 is although I am passionate about it I will be the first to admit it can be hit or miss in terms of pure racing. Austin did get a good race on this occasion and im glad its moved from Indy to a real race track.

Yes they need a title sponsor, not least of all to offset the ridiculous prices they were charging. You can clearly tell the corporate mentality here in comparison to race fan mentality in Europe.

I don't think there was any lack of US sponsors though as most cars are supported by US companies. You couldn't miss that McLaren changed their main sponsor from Vodafone to Verizon as well as SAP being prominent. Red Bull are supported by Infiniti which I think only sell cars in the US. Having branding completely rammed down your throat like in Nascar is just not the way of F1. Yes the rear wing endplates are specifically there for branding but most people see the car/team more than they see the title sponsor.

If they want the race to succeed in the US then it needs to stop being so greedy. Tickets were stupid money, no race day tickets. All tickets got bought up early by touts then sold on at even more stupid prices. Most other places have a max of 4 and/or get your name put on them. Parking at the circuit was charging $200 even after buying a $500 seating ticket. Shuttle services were crap, no better than sitting in traffic in your own car. The police were even giving people $500 tickets for walking the last mile to the circuit. Seriously have these organizers ever been to a grand prix in another country. I even got told I wasn't allowed to stand on my fold up seat from where we were at 50/56 laps. Heaven forbid there was a track invasion, what would they do, shoot people?

Also Austin needs to realize that people are not going to pay $400 a night for 2 start accommodation.

Corporate greed is what will ruin the USGP instead of opening it up to more people. That sounds like some anti-capitalism rant but its just so different to other places I have been.

I don't know about the rest of your facts, but your numbers for the cheapest grandstand seats are wrong. I paid $330 for a 3 day pass in Turn 2, and I know there were seats cheaper than mine. I believe the seats in Turn 11 were around $270 for three days. General admission (which had multiple locations with good sight lines, and you could bring your own chair) were $180.

Your friend who "knows jis way around" obviously led you astry on prices. I have friends who bought general admission tickets for the entire weekend for less than $400. The personal seat licenses and prices were for the premium seats along the start finish.

Prices for food are on a par with other major sporting events I've attended. Like Yankee stadium games, NBA games, and NFL games. As to major american sponsorship, I suggest you look up the Fanfest events in downtown Austin. Does a major company have to plaster itself all over a venue to make the event a success? Personally, I'd be embarassed if Budweiser (which is no longer American) was all over the COTA site.

Please follow the tenets of journalism next time and do some actual research. Thank you.

Get you stats right and your way off on pricing ...you must be anti F1 and just a NASCAR redneck.

A. How exactly can you base the success of an event off national TV ratings? You're comparing Football to F1, not exactly an accurate comparison.

B. All your pricing data is wrong. I paid $159 for a 3 day GA pass, and had the option to buy grandstand seats for as cheap as $269. Beer was $9, and food was $7-12. Were you even at the race?

C. You're assuming that by having another F1 race in the states, everyone across the country (and the rest of North America for that matter) will instantly tune in. Don't forget that NBC will be picking up race coverage beginning next year, making the races accessible to millions more than currently. Does the Superbowl only show on cable?

Many people I know wanted to know how the race would go this year... Would it be a traffic nightmare? Would the shuttles work? I know lots of people planning on going next year after seeing the success of the event.

If NORRIS McDONALD knew anything about F1 racing, he wouldn't jump to conclusions about insights, he can't foresee. It's clear, he's bias about the Austin racing circuit, but bias opinions, don't sell tickets, or as he mentioned, purchase the refreshments. He may want to study the history of the F1, to see, how much we've come, since the days of yonder. As for Austin Texas, Sir we'll be here foreseeably
longer, than your supporters. Please, sitback, watch, enjoy the growth that Austin
Circuit of the America's has to offer, better yet, get out some, and rather than
draw negative conclusions, about something you know litlle about, attend a race!

How about Coke, which has been heavily rumoured to market one of its energy drinks in F1 pretty soon?

I'm not 100% sure on this but Bernie and FOM have control over what signage can be shown at the track and what title sponsorship a track can have.

As far as people coming to the event itself, it's blog like this that need to be a main point for F1 fans to hear about track activities and keep a positive attitude about F1 in America. You want people to read your blog, keep a positive attitude about the sport.

Maybe if the motorsports media spent less time blathering on about NASCAR and the fraud it is and more time on F-1 and how that and sportscar racing actually improves the cars we drive in the street then maybe corporate America would realize that Formula One is the best racing series in the world.

Unfortunately I think you are correct. Austin being one of the most expensive races on the calendar will make it very difficult to increase attendance in the future. I attended the race with my wife and two children this year, but am doubtful I will next year given the cost. We went to every USGP at Indy, but were fortunate enough to have family in the area, and tickets, food and drink were much more reasonable.

It's easy to write an apocalyptic article when you choose to use the highest prices available. My 3-day seat at Turn 11 wasn't the $500 you listed but $269 and for that price had some of the best sightlines in the house. 3-day general admission was $159. The main grandstand tickets that cost thousands of dollars were sold out so it seems that, with the PSL you had to buy they're going to remain sold out... kinda the point of having the PSL. Beer was $8.50 and $9.50 (domestic/import), $12 was for your cocktails (I chose Crown & Coke) and they came with a commemorative COTA glass... and my only real 'alcohol' complaint was that no "Texas" beer was available. These prices are no different than at your average big city bar. Your $15 burger was from "Wild Bubba's" and was either Bison or Antelope. The "Korean Tacos" I chose to eat were $9 and insanely good. The RV parking was quickly reduced to $7,500 and every slot was filled, mostly with $1million+ motorcoaches. As for the prices of the merchandise, you obviously haven't been to a concert lately. This ain't Wal-Mart, it is Formula 1.

As for the race not happening due to, in your opinion, low TV ratings, CotA gets no revenue from the TV coverage. Neither do they get revenue from trackside signage or hospitality suites (except for a few of their own). Formula One Management has exclusive rights to all those items and more. The circuit gets revenue from ticket sales, merchandise and concessions and precious little else. But, of course, you already knew that. Didn't you?

Your friend was completely misinformed. Beer was $8 and $9 for a 16oz can (domestic and "premium", respectively). There were plenty of local food trucks offering better food deals if you didn't have your heart set on a burger. Grandstand seating started at $300 for 3 days in several grandstands, and GA was $170 for 3 days. Having been to the race, I'd say going with a GA ticket is not a penalty at all (in fact I spent a good chunk of my time outside my ticketed grandstand).

While it's easy to sit back and say this is not going to work, there were many things to consider that point to success. The drivers and teams LOVE the track and city and the visiting fans had a great time as well. This was a test for sponsors to see who would come and demographically who would watch. Indy was a disaster with the tire debacle and 100k still came the year after. Let's enjoy the success and push to have North American adoption instead of talking about why it would fail. Having the USGP race on NBC next year smack dab between football games on Sunday will help boost ratings big time.

Bernie - if he can stay out of jail - will eventually sign a deal with NASCAR, who will run the USGP on the challenging Daytona road course as part of February Speed Weeks. No one will be at the race itself, but it will get massive TV coverage from Fox and will be declared a huge success, just as all things NASCAR are.

Based on the vocal outpouring of what really happened as far as prices go, by those that were there, I would suggest that the writer stick to going to hillbilly tracks like Flamboro and Ohsweken.....its the place you belong.

You just don't get real racing.......DO YOU???

What is this alleged "shuttle bus service" thing they speak of? Maybe PGA golf tournaments or some other events in rural locations might do this, but surely no race track would ever allow anyone inside who didn't drive his own vehicle there, along with his selected guests? Why would they want bus loads of ticket buying spectators from the nearest big city brought to their event? You won't catch a real track like Mosport ever considering something that ridiculous, eh?

I do agree that F1 and motorsports in general are not wildly popular in North America, it is a niche, but I'm pretty sure most of the F1 teams and sponsors are happy to have races in North America as they see it as an untapped market with potential for getting their brands across and generating a following. Part of the problem with F1 is FOM itself doesn't understand the American market and thus has no clue how to market itself there. Having the races go to NBC Sports Network next year probably doesn't help. On the few occasions I travel in the US at least Speed seems to be available in most of the hotels I stay at while I can't find a trace of NBCSN.

As for Bernie Ecclestone, he probably doesn't really care whether anybody shows up at the track. He's got his $25 million or whatever sanctioning fee FOM is charging the local promoters these days for the races. He's more concerned with the global television audiences and afternoon races in North America does make for prime time viewing in Europe. It's up to the promoter to recoup their costs through ticket sales which is why a weekend ticket is quite pricey. If they can't recoup their costs and can no longer afford to pay Bernie's fees, Bernie will just replace the event with another race in the middle east or somewhere else that is willing to pay the money.

The COTA track looked nicely finished on TV for a brand new circuit, but it really doesn't matter where in the world such Tilke creation exists, when on TV. It was well out of town in the middle of nowhere, on a texan prairie.
The popularity measured on attendance will fizzle out for sure as the multi-year contract runs out.
The best Tilke-track is still Istanbul (not the COTA) which is dropped from the calendar a while ago.
There are still lawsuits surrounding the COTA. And the 50 million dollar State money that is spent to boost tourism is in question.
We don't yet know what financial means paid for the COTA. That's not Ecclestone's concern for sure.

I have been reading your columns for years. Your whole article is BULL SHXX.. Check your facts, I was there and it was a first class event. You just showed you are a Mickey Mouse reporter. I will never read another one of your articles, how can we as readers know the truth after this garbage

The race was not that expensive for me.

Paid $300 ($259 before fees) for excellent seats at turn 11 east. Saw some great overtaking (Button especially).

Brought my own water and paid $5 for a gatorade. Street tacos cost me $8, splurged on a sausage sandwich for $14 (not too expensive considering the portion size).

My only suggestions:

- add more local Austin food trailers
- more police for traffic management


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