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New F1 Commercial Director Wants Every Race to Be Like the Super Bowl

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Sean Bratches, Chase Carey, and Ross Brawn

From left: Sean Bratches (Commercial Director), Chase Carey (CEO and Chairman of Liberty Media), and Ross Brawn (Sporting Director)

Formula One is now owned for the first time in its history by Americans, and so it may come as no surprise that the new people in charge have been all about turning up the entertainment factor to 11. Earlier this year, Liberty Media CEO Chase Carey said every race should be like a Super Bowl in terms of its scale and fan engagement. Last weekend, Sean Bratches sat down with Britain’s Sky Sports F1 to outline what that would really mean.

Bratches described his vision of “20 massive global events that engage fans” that would not only bring them closer to the sport but also to the drivers’ personalities. Presumably, the number of races on the calendar could grow beyond 20 (and there are rumors of a Las Vegas and/or New York night race), but Bratches doesn’t seem reluctant to cut out traditional race tracks if their replacements are strategically well-located.

“We have a vision in terms of where we see the next tranche of races. It would be premature to suggest any cities in particular,” he said, before adding that Liberty Media wants “to play a bit more offence going forward and identify cities around the world where we can have more city circuits as opposed to traditional tracks. We still want a balance.”

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Throughout the interview, Bratches must have spoken some variation of the words “fan engagement” more than a dozen times. Clearly, putting the spectators at the heart of the sport is of key importance, and moving some races to city centers would be part of that.

It would also mean more promotional efforts, more focus on the drivers and their personalities—after all, nothing drives fans to events more than support of a specific team or individual—and quickly moving the sport along in the digital era to catch up in some areas where it has been lagging behind. For instance, most of the current tracks do not offer Wi-Fi, which Bratches mentioned remedying as soon as possible.

“We want promoters that understand the art of promotion—which is an art in terms of elevating the story and putting the fans in seats and creating experiences that are unique.”

Bratches was clearly optimistic about the future of Formula 1 and motivated to make positive changes. Speaking as a long-time fan of the sport, it’s about high time we moved on from the Bernie era.

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News Source: Sky Sports F1