Epstein Fears Miami Street Race May Dilute US Fan-base
Bobby Epstein, the promoter for the United States Grand Prix, believes that the Miami street race that Formula 1 is proposing runs the risk of thinning out the American fan-base. With the city on the brink of joining the F1 calendar for next year, Epstein is chary about possibly splintering the audience. He cited the experience of Austin ticket sales experiencing a slump when the Mexican Grand Prix happened in 2015. Fans obviously chose between the two races for which one to attend.
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Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?
Epstein was quick to say that, over the long-term, adding the Miami race would be good, but stated that the risk could not be ignored. He feels that there is very clearly the danger that support for the product will get weakened before the fan-base catches up once more and is then increased.
He likened the whole scenario to the causality dilemma which asks which existed first, the chicken or the egg, and said that, of late, it remains to be seen whether this is positive for the F1. He explained that, in the first year, the fan base was not yet added to, but the options were increased. This would be difficult at first, and the impact remains to be seen.
The Timing of the Miami Race an Issue As Well
Concerns over the Miami event diluting the US audience have increased thanks to the probability of the Austin, Mexico, and Miami races all occurring close to one another in the calendar. Epstein has been crystal-clear about the fact that he would prefer that his race be moved, even to a slot in early spring, but he’s aware that, logistically, this kind of move may not make a lot of sense.
He said that it would be best if they could be kept as far away from other races that were competing for the same fans as possible, so that these would not be forced into making a choice. Epstein added that, if the Miami race does go forward, it is vital that F1 capitalises on the chance to increase the US audience overall.
Epstein is Cautiously Optimistic
Epstein stated that there are hundreds of millions of people in the USA and plenty of attractions too, so his mind-set tended towards optimism. He went on to state that there is a big difference between a street race from the fan’s perspective, from the television side, and from the race competition’s. He said that the track has been designed for competition, and that they were aware that it has a lot of opportunities to overtake. He confirmed his apprehension, but said that he remained hopeful that it was a race against time as to whether or not it was possible to build the required fan-base before the possible splitting up of the fans had its effect.