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Carey confident of keeping Singapore on F1 calendar for 2018

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Chase Carey is confident of keeping the Singapore Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar for 2018 as part of his push to grow the sport in Asia.

Carey took over from Bernie Ecclestone as F1’s CEO and chairman back in January after Liberty Media completed its $8 billion takeover of the sport.

Ecclestone said last November that Singapore was considering dropping its F1 race as it had fulfilled its purpose, with its existing contract set to expire after the 2017 event on September 17.

Neighboring Malaysia has already confirmed it will no longer be hosting F1 beyond this year, agreeing a deal with the sport’s management to end its contract one season early.

Speaking in a conference call with investors, Carey discussed the importance of keeping a foothold for F1 in Asia, making reference to Singapore and expressing his confidence that a deal could be struck.

“We are actively engaged on redoing Singapore, so we don’t expect Singapore to go away. We’ve got to reach a deal, but we are actively engaged there and our goal is to continue the race in Singapore,” Carey said.

“We have a list of locations that want to add races, and in many ways were trying to engage with as many of them as possible, evaluate both in markets like Europe that obviously are much more historical markets, as well as opportunities in the Americas and Asia.

“We want to make sure we understand what each of those opportunities means to us as we go forward. Although in many ways priority one is to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make the 21 races we’ll have next year as successful as possible.”

France and Germany are set to return to the F1 calendar in 2018, making up for the loss of Singapore, but Carey admitted he has been inundated with interested cities and countries for new events.

“I could fill a page with the number of locations that have asked to meet and discuss the opportunity to host a Formula 1 race,” Carey said.

“So I think it speaks well to our ability to continue to take advantage of the global appetite for this sport and the excitement for this event and as we make the event, as we make the event better and improve the sport on the track.

“We think all those things just add fuel to each of those initiatives.”

‘Game-changing’ multi-year agreement will take INDYCAR, NBC Sports ‘to the next level’


NEW YORK – As the fourth Nor’easter in three weeks bore down on the Big Apple, it was tough to spot people that were clearly in a good mood.

But Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, was clearly in a good mood.

On Wednesday morning at 10 am ET, we all found out why: NBC will become the exclusive home of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, starting in 2019.

The new three-year deal not only makes “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” part of the network’s “Championship Season” – its collection of high-profile championship events from May to July – but also reaffirms NBC’s status as the home of motorsports television in the United States.

That status is something Miller doesn’t take for granted.

“It’s important people know that storytelling is in our DNA, and motorsports lends itself very well to storytelling,” Miller said as he, INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles and driver James Hinchcliffe made a snowy trek to the New York Stock Exchange to promote the deal on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“We’ve had great success with the second half of the entire NASCAR season, and then we’ve had half of the IndyCar package [since 2009] … But we never had the real meat of the series and that didn’t set anybody up for success.

“Having the entire package of IndyCar now – all 17 races, qualifying, practice, you name it – really sets IndyCar on a strong path and solidifies NBC’s position as the home of motorsports. I think it becomes a property much like the Premier League, the NHL, and even the Olympics and the Triple Crown. We have 100 percent of the media opportunity and we can put all those great assets behind it.”

With the storm no doubt keeping some traders home, the floor of the NYSE was relatively subdued. But that made it no less important to be at the heart of Wall Street. Miles and his team are pursuing a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series to replace Verizon, which will fully focus its efforts in the series with the powerhouse Team Penske going forward in 2019.

The new deal – which includes 8 races per year on the NBC network (with the remaining races going to NBCSN), live streaming of all races, and a direct-to-consumer package with NBC Sports Gold – gave Miles plenty to push for any potential backers. As for Hinchcliffe, he held his own nicely in an interview that also explored IndyCar’s global ambitions, the impact of technology on the sport, and of course, his spin around the ballroom on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the ride back to 30 Rock, Miles was confident that NBC can play a big role in attracting a sponsor that can help the series keep growing.

“With respect to our work in finding the best title sponsor, it’s really important – and this has not been talked about much – but we expect to work with hand in glove with NBC’s sales,” he explained. “We have the opportunity to create packages which are both broadcast sponsorship and series sponsorship, I think, in a way that doesn’t come along very often.

“Usually, the media deal and the sponsorship deal doesn’t align like this, so we’re really excited about the offering we’ll have and the approach to the market we can take.”

Should the partnership with NBC bear fruit on that front and others, it will only add to the upswing that the IndyCar Series has had in recent years.

Hinchcliffe has been a witness to that. He entered the series in 2011, when it was trying to find its footing after the sport’s reunification three years earlier. After 13 years of CART vs. the Indy Racing League, getting everything back under one roof was not a smooth process.

But fast-forward seven years, and things have changed for the better. TV ratings and digital viewers have gone up. Race scheduling has become more stable and enhanced with the return of traditional open-wheel markets. And this year’s debut of the universal aero kit aims to pump up the action on the track, while also giving the cars a cleaner, meaner look.

Now, with NBC all in, Hinchcliffe is bullish on his sport’s future.

“This is a game-changing thing for us,” he declared. “If you look at the last four or five years, we’ve seen a steady growth in pretty much every measureable metric that there is – in a time where, globally, motorsports is in a bit of a downturn.

“The fact that IndyCar was able to rally against a global dip in motorsports interest, attendance, sponsorship – it speaks volumes to what we have been doing and this is just gonna take us to that next level.”