Why is F1 so huge and IndyCar so small?

Ecclestone understood the importance of collective TV viewership. IndyCar hasn't a clue.
Ecclestone understood the importance of huge collective global TV viewership. IndyCar hasn't a clue.

A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, How come F1 draws such huge worldwide interest – huge attendance and huge worldwide TV audiences – while IndyCar is happy with 20,000 people in the grandstands and such small TV audiences? Tom Price, Houston, TX

Dear Tom, It's quite simple really, F1 thinks big and hence is big, IndyCar thinks small and hence is small……and will remain small. When IndyCar was run by CART it began to think big and the sport took off. Big TV ratings with a good international TV package that generated viewership of over 10 million per race, and a growing international fanbase. Bernie Ecclestone developed good F1 TV deals in well over 100 countries and those cumulative TV networks bring in over 30 million viewers per race. When you have 30 million viewers each race sponsors and manufacturers are willing to pay huge amounts of money to participate – hence the sport is huge.

Contrast that with IndyCar that gets about 0.5 million viewers per race on NBCSN and hence has few sponsors, few manufacturers and few fans. IndyCar was minuscule when the Hulman family and USAC ran it before 1979, and when the Hulman George family regained control in 2007 after a bitter 11 fight to kill CART, we are back to the same thinking the sport had before 1979 – keep the Indy 500 big and make sure the rest of the series never gets too big to ever threaten the 500's preeminence. It is after all, the only thing the family really cares about. AR1 Staff

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