Interest In Motorsports Reaches New Heights As Formula 1 Grand Prix Revenue Expected To Surpass $100 Million

Interest In Motorsports Reaches New Heights As Formula 1 Grand Prix Revenue Expected To Surpass $100 Million

Thanks to a massive surge in corporate hospitality and sold-out tickets, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix is expected to deliver revenue above $100 million for the first time, reflecting a global increase in motorsport interest.

Five years ago, it was starting to look like Australia had just about enough motorsports, with attendance numbers down in the 200,000s. Now, just a few days out from the 2024 event, it seems to be facing the opposite problem: too much interest to meet the demand. The Australian Grand Prix also has the highest female interest of all Formula One races globally, with 40 per cent of racegoers identifying as female.

“We had 440,000 people at the event last year (over four days), and that’s 50 per cent higher than we had in 2019. So the growth has been enormous,” said Australian Grand Prix corporate chief executive Travis Auld.

The massive surge in interest is expected to trigger a huge increase in revenue, which is expected to surpass $100 million. That’s up from $95 million last year and a mere $55 million in 2019.

Some of the sport’s recent popularity can be attributed to the hit Netflix series Drive to Survive, which gave a never-before-seen insight into the lives of drivers, team owners, and principals. “What it has done has humanised the athletes to fans, but also elevated the team principals as known personalities. They are recognised, and people want their autographs,” Auld said about the series. “The Australian Grand Prix Corporation, like many promoters, has taken advantage of that opportunity. You have to capitalise on it, but I think that this organisation has done that”.

The race, which is held at Melbourne’s Albert Park, has 46,000 grandstand seats available each day and sells at least 12-13,000 corporate hospitality tickets. Corporate support has increased again this year, with newer and bigger precincts built by businesses such as Crown Resorts, Porsche and Chicane.

“For nearly 30 years, Crown has been the home-away-from-home for international sports stars and entertainers, as well as the place to soak up all the action around Australia’s major sporting events calendar. The Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2024 is one of the most prestigious events on that calendar, so this partnership makes a lot of sense. We are thrilled to add to the excitement of what is already such a highly anticipated event, entertaining both our guests at Crown and those fans attending the three days of racing action,” said Crown Melbourne CEO Mike Volkert.

Crown Main Stage

“One of my early observations is the fascination of corporate Australia with the business of F1, and that’s right through to the very senior levels, CEOs, and chairs of top ASX companies,” said Auld, who wants to reclaim the event’s status as a must-attend event for business leaders and other corporate types keen to network.

Part of this mission is a new networking lunch and event on Thursday for high-level corporate leaders and executives that serve as a lead-in event to the weekend. It will feature the McLaren team chief executive Zak Brown, and highlight revelations about the use of data and analytics in the sport.

It isn’t just ticket sales that saw a massive surge last year; TV viewership was also at an all-time high, with the broadcast reaching 2.95 million Australian viewers. “The Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix was full throttle this weekend and showed its dominance as one of the premier sporting events in Australia,” said Paramount ANZ director of sports production Adam Cush last year.

“Once again, we’ve delivered an unrivalled broadcast, with our expert on-air team led by former F1 World Champion Damon Hill calling all the action and our production crew delivering an exemplary telecast, available live and free for all Australians”.

With the increase in interest, these viewership records can only be expected to rise even further this year.

While Auld welcomes the increased interest, the focus for the event organisers remains on putting on the best quality event rather than just the biggest. “I think we can beat last year’s number and set another record. But we’ll do so in a way that doesn’t impact fans’ experience. You need to make sure the experience is good enough to make it something people don’t want to miss”.

Engines are warming up, with the race set to kick into gear later this week. Fans can catch all the action of the sell-out event live and free on Network 10.

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