Zak Brown, the new Team Boss at McLaren-Honda Formula 1 Team, believes that Formula 1 could learn a thing or two about fan engagement from the American ‘Super Bowl’.
Both the Super Bowl and Formula 1 are spectacles in their own right – but undeniably, Formula 1 follows a much more rigid and closed regime, whereas Super Bowl is notoriously one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. This is thanks to the huge demand for American Football and the hugely publicised ‘half time show’.
When asked about how to reverse the trend of falling viewing figures in Formula 1, Brown replied that, “we need to take a look at the weekend format and how we engage with the consumers in the grandstands and how close can we get them to our team and drivers, so that is here on site.”
“Also you go to these cities and it is a big event leading up to it,” he said, referring to the 21 cities that Formula 1 journeyed to this year. “I think the Super Bowl does an excellent job, if you look at when they put on a Super Bowl, the level of fan engagement: they come into town a week before, they take over the cities, they take over the hotels and they take over the airports.”
The idea that he has is simply about making Formula 1 even more large scale in order to appeal to the masses. A good example of where the sport can be seen to have attempted this is at this year’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, where hoards of fans flocked to come and watch Taylor Swift perform – and stayed for the race too.
Brown also wants to see Formula 1 keeping up with the social media and digital age, and is hopeful that the Liberty Media takeover will help this.
“I have got high expectations that they will do great things in the media space, which is ultimately how we reach the largest audience we can,” he commented.