Sports Marketing: ‘Which are the sporting events with the largest public of the world?’ ‘The Races, baby!’
“A day at the races” is the fifth album by Queen, released on LP in 1976.
At that time, Freddie Mercury, as well as the Marx Brothers in 1937, was referring specifically to horse racing. However, ironically, this title is back today with an extraordinary relevance because another type of racing, the motor one, dominate the attendance and audience figures.
Let’s go on calmly.
In the days before the Super Bowl XLVI, there is a very common question among professionals: ” Is it correct to chooseIndianapolis as host city? “. The objection is that the capital ofIndiana is too snowy, too weak in terms of attractions and, last but not least, too small. Indeed, with a population of about 750.000 inhabitants,Indianapolis seems little favourite location if compared to giants such asDallas,Boston,San Francisco orMiami.
The answer has to to be sought in motorsport.
Indianapolis was chosen as the Super Bowl’s house number 46, because has always been accustomed to deal with large flows of people for events of a single day. In this city, in fact the finals of the NCAA were held in 1991, 1997, 2000, 2006 and 2010 (sporting events with 70.000 viewers every day), but here it takes place also the sporting event with the greatest attendance of the world: the Indy 500.
The history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the place where there is the Indy500, would deserve many pages, but this is neither the place nor the time to tell the stories of the circuit, perhaps the most famous of the world. Suffice it to say that the precise count of seats, which lasted more than six months, was carried out only in 2003, after nearly 70 years since the construction of the track. The result? Impressive? 257,325 seats.
However, nobody has ever been able to do (even once) the accurate count of how many people actually assist the Indy500. ”There are so many entries, so many different types of tickets and so many access control systems that there is not a single account. We are more concerned about the safety of all these people, rather than their total number”, they say from theSpeedway. Some whisper 350.000 spectators, some are trying out a 400,000, everyone agrees, however, that number is over 300,000.
That’s why, when the NFL asked the borough ofIndianapolis ” Will be the city ready to face an event such as the Super Bowl?” the reaction was just a big laugh.
The Indy500 is the sporting event with the largest public of the world, but -not surprisingly-is followed in rank by other motor events. At the second place we can find the BrickYard400, stage of the NASCAR championship that it always runs inIndianapolis, while in third position there is the classic Daytona, with 250.000 spectators. The Texas Motor Speedway and Kentucky Derby are the following. All these events largely win the biggest football stadium in the world, the Maracana inRio, with an official capacity of 135.000 seats, but also the attendance records around 200.000 visitors.
These extraordinary numbers are the sign of a great passion, the engines passion, that does not fade, but is increasing every year. Even here inItaly, the data confirm that Formula 1 and MotoGP are at the forefront of television preferences, with the ball slipping to the third place, no doubt challenged by often disappointing leagues, bad management and ugly scandal that does not seem to stop.
As the Marxs said in “A day at the races”, there is nothing like racing, baby. And this has never been more true than now.
In the picture: Parade Lap - Indy 500 Picture by: MikeMeck - Flickr Fonti: Yahoo, USA Today, Wikipedia, marketing week