Chase Carey has big dreams.
The relatively new CEO of Formula 1 spoke with ESPN.com at length about where he sees the sport moving and where the biggest potential lies. Hint: it?s the United States.
“And for us it’s a market where we are really just scratching the surface,? Carey said. ?It’s not only the size of the market but the fact that we have only really just tried to begin developing the potential of the sport there.”
By scratching the surface, Carey means Austin. F1 has been holding the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas since 2012. The yearly October event is happening this weekend, but Austin is the only U.S. presence for a sport many see as mainly a European spectacle. Carey, whose Liberty Media took control of F1 last February, says that?s precisely why the U.S. is perfect.
?Probably no country has done a better job of making sporting events spectacles [than the U.S.],? Carey said. ?Whether it’s boxing events in Vegas, a U.F.C. fight in Madison Square Gardens, NBA All-Star games, the U.S. has probably led the world in making spectacles that have sports at the center of it.?
Carey says Formula 1 as an organization hasn?t been as focused or involved as it needed to be. Where organizations like NASCAR, the NFL, MLB and others have a very active and involved governing body, Carey says the F1 of the past was more concerned about striking deals for locations, then leaving the promotions and other details to the local promoters. That model can?t sustain growth in fledgling markets, he says.
?You have to have the ability to help the local partners grow the sport. In the past we have had a mindset of signing a contract and leave it to them to manage it, and I think we have to take more ownership of the health of the sport and the growth of the sport and engage. I think it’s both a long-term mindset and having the resource and expertise to help local partners figure out how to develop the sport to its real potential.”
Carey feels there needs to be a multi-faceted approach to growing awareness. He?s using his expertise in various media platforms to engage current fans and attract newcomers. As far as adding another U.S. event to the calendar, Carey says he?s having discussions about possible locations but prefers to keep those details close to the vest.
“It’s still ongoing,” Carey says when asked for an update on progress. “We are more engaged than we were six months ago but it’s still a work in progress. These are big events to put together, complicated events to put together, and when you are dealing with big cities there are complexities in the big cities. We are not signing a deal tomorrow, but we are certainly a little further along than we were six months ago.?