Despite dwindling field, ALMS touts opening numbers
Quite appropriately, the American Le Mans Series 100th race generated record-breaking performances both on and off the track. The 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida saw the fastest race ever recorded in event history. But it also featured exponential gains in other areas including Web site traffic, ticket sales and television ratings.
|Winning Audi team|
Those performances go alongside the speed and distance records posted by Saturday’s race winners in America’s greatest sports car race.
Americanlemans.com Attracts Unprecedented Numbers
The new americanlemans.com saw record-setting numbers from the Wednesday through Sunday period with landmark figures in page views, visitors, retention and global reach.
Most telling was the total number of page views in the report period, up an incredible 1,506 percent from 2008 totals - or 16 times the number of hits – for a total of 5.4 million views. Site visits were up 82 percent (unique visitors more than doubled) with page views per visit up 781 percent. The average viewer also spent more than 14 minutes longer per visit compared to last season.
The American Le Mans Series’ digital reach also attracted Web site viewers from 18 additional countries compared to 2008 statistics, confirming the Series’ position as a truly global brand.
Sebring Television Ratings on the Rise
An unprecedented level of television coverage from network partner SPEED resulted in a 36 percent increase in ratings for the annual season-opening Sebring race.
The 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida saw a total of 11 hours of race-day coverage that included Saturday prerace and postrace elements. The exposure translated into the highest Sebring rating since 2004.
For the second consecutive season, SPEED also aired a Thursday night one-hour special from the circuit that highlighted key personalities and storylines for the race and the full 2009 season.
Acura also produced an hour-long special that took viewers through the development and initial testing of its new ARX-02a prototype for the LMP1 class. The car made its competition debut at Sebring.
In addition, Audi’s highly acclaimed documentary “Truth in 24” aired the night before Sebring on ESPN. It highlighted Audi’s preparation and successful defense of its 24 Hours of Le Mans championship in 2008.
Walk-ups Turn Out in Record Numbers
An economy in recession did very little slow down the sale of tickets for the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Sebring officials reported record walk-up sales on race day and very little decline in the overall weekend attendance. Walk-up sales were up an astonishing 30 percent over 2008, which saw the largest four-day crowd in Sebring history.
And despite assumptions to the contrary, the event posted a four-day attendance of more than 164,000 spectators, second only to 2008’s record crowd and virtually the same as 2007.
Atherton: Series’ 100th Race Fulfilled Expectations
“It is safe to say that this year’s race at Sebring fulfilled a number of high expectations despite overwhelmingly bleak economic conditions,” said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “For that we thank our teams, manufacturers and marketing partners for their participation and activation, but most importantly the most loyal and supportive group of fans in racing. Epic events like Sebring’s 12 Hours do not happen successfully without the tireless efforts of large groups of both paid staff and volunteers. When all of it is organized by a dedicated promoter like Tres Stephenson and the entire staff at Sebring International Raceway, it’s going to be a success. From the beginning the Sebring staff decided they weren’t going to participate in the ‘recession’ and I couldn’t be more pleased with their results.
“In light of the current economic challenges that surround everyone, the fact that Mobil 1 announced a three-year extension of their race title sponsorship speaks volumes,” Atherton added. “Mobil 1 has provided Sebring, the American Le Mans Series and this event with the ultimate corporate endorsement - and for that we are all very grateful. The stability this extension provides will enable all involved to generate more value than ever from their involvement.”