Formula One has reported an eight per cent rise in the number of spectators attending races throughout the 2017 season, with an average of more than 200,000 fans at each race on the calendar. According to official data, a combined 4.07 million spectators attended races this year, which is an average of 203,570 per race weekend, compared to 182,900 last season.
The average race day attendance (Sunday only) was 76,722 – of course this doesn’t give an accurate reflection across every circuit, as races such as Great Britain, which saw more than 120,000 in attendance on Sunday alone, prop up other races which have far fewer in the grandstands. However 13 races saw their attendance figures boosted when compared to ’16, whilst a number of races saw huge increases, including Azerbaijan, Canada and Austria. Azerbaijan, which had a relatively low spectator total in its debut season, faired much better in ’17 with a 58 per cent rise across the race weekend.
Canada and Austria meanwhile boasted 60,000 extra spectators each across the weekend, making those races the largest gainers by some margin. Sean Bratches, managing director, commercial operations at Formula 1, commented on the impressive numbers: “The 2017 season was a great spectacle, on and off track, thanks to drivers, teams and, most of all, fans, the beating heart of our sport. An attendance of more than 200,000 per event means that for 20 weekends per year, the population of a medium-sized city visits a race track to watch to a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Our duty is to make each of these events even more entertaining to unleash what is the greatest racing spectacle on the planet.” – said Sean Bratches, who ater a 30-year career masterminding the growth of American sports channel ESPN from bit-part player to behemoth, did not take long to realise retirement was not for him. Sitting on the sidelines lasted just over a year and he was tempted back by Liberty Media mogul Chase Carey in January to take on a new challenge: becoming the commercial head of Formula One.