The Miami City Commission and Miami Dade County’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted 5-0 to “bring the Formula 1 Racing Circuit to the City of Miami for the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix from 2019 to 2028”. The unanimous vote means Formula One will now draft a host city contact for review prior to July 1. Assuming the deal is consummated, the Miami Grand Prix will take place in October 2019 (between circuit stops in Austin and Mexico); with a 2.57-mile street track proposed to run through downtown Miami, by American Airlines Arena (home of the Heat) and over Biscayne Bay. Liberty Media Corp., which has spoken extensively about increasing its presence in the U.S., is also reportedly exploring the potential for races in Las Vegas and New York/New Jersey.
Howie Long-Short: Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA) reported Q1 ’18 earnings of $131 million on $1.5 billion in revenue (+9% YoY), but Formula One Group didn’t contribute to those profits; F1 reported an operating loss of $118 million during the first quarter.
The F1 TV Pro streaming service launched ahead of this past weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, but unfortunately it made a less than stellar first impression. Subscribers of the $89.99 (annual) service complained of issues with audio, buffering and video display. F1 (FWONK) has since announced they will be refunding subscribers 2 weeks’ worth of subscription fees, but that’s unlikely to appease fans unhappy about missing the race. Of course, while that will hurt Q2 revenue, it’s not a reason to panic; you may recall Amazon’s NFL coverage got off to a rocky start and they managed to quickly resolve the issues.
Fan Marino: Formula One has applied for a trademark on the “shoey”, a traditional Aussie “celebration” (stemming from early 2000’s surf culture) where one drinks alcohol from a worn shoe (it looks as strange as it sounds, here’s video). While Daniel Ricciardo, an Australian driver who competes for Red Bull racing, has been credited with popularizing the tradition within the sport; it was Australian MotoGP rider Jack Miller to first do it on the podium back in June 2016.
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The Drone Racing League (DRL) has announced it will hold its 2018 Allianz World Championship in Saudi Arabia, next September. The 7th and final event of the DRL season will consist of 8 FPV (first person view) pilots racing custom-built drones, that travel more than 90 MPH, through a complex 3D racecourse; with the winner earning the title of “World’s Greatest Drone Pilot”. The race will be televised in 87 countries, on cable networks including; ESPN, OSN, Sky Sports and Fox Sports Asia.
Howie Long-Short: The DRL holds several dozen patents on the core technology that enables drone racing. They use the league to showcase the technology. The company is privately held, but has raised more than $32 million to date; including a $20 million series B round in June. Looking to play the DRL? SKYAY lead their Series B round and participated in both their seed and Series A rounds. Liberty Media Corporation (LMCA), Allianz (OTC: AZSEY), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and MGM Television (OTC: MGMB) are all also invested in the company.
Fan Marino: The DRL consists of 16 professional pilots competing in 6 regular season races before a short postseason whittles it down to 8 qualifiers, competing for the World Championship. Think you can compete in the DRL? The league is holding annual open tryouts, beginning on November 15th, using their Steam simulator. All you need is a computer and an Xbox or drone controller to participate. The Top 24 competitors will advance to a live racing simulator tournament with a chance to compete for $75,000 and 1 of 16 spots in the 2018 season.
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Liberty Media’s (LMCA) Formula One and Snap, Inc. (SNAP) have partnered, encouraging fans to shoot and upload video at upcoming F1 events, starting with this weekend’s British Grand Prix. F1, which would actively look to prevent race highlights from hitting social media prior to the Malone takeover, is now looking to grow interest in the circuit by building a social media presence and reaching a younger demographic. The companies will split all ad revenues generated, but no additional terms of the deal have been released.
Formula 1 and Snap Inc. announce new global partnership
Fan Marino says: My F1 knowledge goes 2 drivers deep. Michael Schumacher and Mario Andretti. That is in the HISTORY of the sport. Marketing their stars, has never been F1’s strength. This deal will help bring attention to, if not interest in, the circuit within the U.S.
Howie Long-Short opines: I can add Ayrton Senna to the list–but only because his documentary is on Netflix. I don’t know a single fan of F1. USA is a huge opportunity for F1 under Liberty’s control, but they have a long way to go.