Since buying Formula One in September of last year, Liberty Media has announced plans to bring the sport into the mainstream, putting the tour on par with the Super Bowl for popularity.
The company paid $4.4 billion for F1, a sport that has been called “crap” by its own CEO, Bernie Ecclestone. He was addressing the rather austere rules, eclectic elements that only fans steeped in the tradition can understand, and the complete lack of online fan outreach.
“The public has no understanding of that,” said Ecclestone in a December, 2015 interview with the German magazine, Motorsport. “They watch the race, know that someone has qualified second or third but is now suddenly starting from the middle of the grid. And why? Because they’ve changed their engine. Or their gearbox. We can solve this problem, but we can’t wait several years.”
So what Liberty media wants to do is turn each of the 20 planned races this year into weeklong events. The idea is to gin up enthusiasm for the rivalries, drama, and high-end technology that goes into the sport.
Nascar did it. What can’t Formula One?
This also means changing some of the rules in order to make the sport as dazzling at the Super Bowl. But with 20 races each year, some complain there would be no culminating event that could draw the same as the Super Bowl. Sure. But when we consider the National Football League plays 256 games each season, with 32 teams playing 16 games each, 20 races that culminate in some kind of season finale doesn’t seem that much of a stretch.
Besides, we think pretty much everyone can get behind the highlight reels:
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