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DATE News (chronologically)
08/26/09
f1
Wanted: 24,000 F1 fans  The organizers of the Belgian Grand Prix at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit have only sold 46,000 tickets for this weekend's race. To break-even, they have to sell no less than 70,000, so, only days for the weekend, the organizers of the event are hoping to find 24,000 fans to travel to the Belgian Ardennes.

GP-organizer André Maes believes that his organization can still sell the 24,000 tickets during the coming days if the weather reports are correct. On Friday light showers are expected, but on Sunday there is only 1% chance that it will rain over the circuit. Of course at Francorchamps you never know.

Last year 52,000 fans showed up during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, which left the organizers with a deficit of €4 million. Despite 66.000 visitors in 2007, they also suffered a shortage of €2 million that year.

But why is it that the most beautiful racetrack on the calendar has such difficulties to attract the fans? The prizes are as high as at any other Grand Prix and there is enough other action on the track during the weekend.

The biggest problem for Spa is that it's not close to any big Belgian city like Brussels or Antwerp. Spa is a very small village in the middle of the forests and offers less amusement for the fans after a day at the track than Barcelona, Singapore or any other metropolis on the calendar.

Affordable accommodation is hard to find in the area of the city during the Grand Prix weekend as not everybody is interested in sleeping at a big, noisy camp site. Add this up and I believe that we have found the problem of Francorchamps.

So maybe it's time for the Walloon government to start spending money on tourist accommodations in the area of the famous track instead of only pumping in it into the Grand Prix to keep the deficit as low as possible?

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