'Lewis success to boost revenue'

Monday 9th July 2007

 RSS

Share:

Lewis Hamilton's F1 success is expected to have a major impact on the financial health of British motor sport.

A leading sports finance expert believes Hamilton could spark a boom period after a recent lull due to the lack of a successful local hero in Formula One in recent years.

Although Hamilton failed to win Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the 22-year-old still finished third for his ninth successive podium of the season, wowing the crowds in the process.

A record 42,000 fans attended on Friday, followed by a Saturday best of 80,000, with race day an 85,000 sell-out.

ITV viewing figures are also significantly up this year, with 7.7 million watching last month's United States Grand Prix, compared to 5.4 million in 2006.

Alan Switzer, director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: "Local heroes can have a huge impact on the financial health of a sport.

"Lewis Hamilton's success has helped lift the British Grand Prix to become the third highest-attended event in the UK's sporting calendar after Wimbledon and Royal Ascot.

"Should Lewis consolidate his success, and even win the F1 title, motor racing can expect a significant revenue boost, particularly once existing broadcasting and sponsorship contracts expire.

"Broadcasters and corporates will compete to be associated with such a potentially attractive global sporting icon.

"ITV's current F1 television rights contract is reportedly worth around £25million a year.

"But the success of Lewis means that could increase substantially when it expires at the end of the 2010 season."

Switzer believes Silverstone will also benefit as circuit owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, look to secure a new contract once the present deal expires in 2009.

"At a more local level, the increased ticketing revenue and secondary spend will form an important part of the funding mix for the redevelopment of Silverstone," added Switzer.

"This is almost certainly necessary for Silverstone to retain its grand prix in 2010 and beyond.

"Indeed, if extra capacity could be added to Silverstone, Lewis' success suggests it would be matched by demand.

"Fernando Alonso's success has been the main factor for the Spanish Grand Prix now attracting more than 340,000 spectators over the extended weekend, the highest of the F1 races."

Formula 1 Descends On Suzuka

Editor's Picks

10 Reasons For Three-Car Teams

10 Reasons For Three-Car Teams

What's not to like about three-car teams? Bernie's suggestion has been dismissed by the purists, but it would tighten up the racing...

Winners & Losers: Singapore

Winners & Losers: Singapore

Lewis may have beaten Nico by 33 centimetres on Saturday, but on Sunday he finished 47 laps down the road...

Getting To Know Marchionne

Getting To Know Marchionne

Ferrari fans needn't be worried about Sergio Marchionne - he comes with a pedigree of turning round businesses...

Highlights Of Luca's Tenure

Highlights Of Luca's Tenure

Luca di Montezemolo is Ferrari through and through, from spending time as Enzo Ferrari's assistant to assuming control in 1991...

Tin Foil Hats At The Ready

Tin Foil Hats At The Ready

Twice this season Lewis Hamilton has accused Nico Rosberg of deliberately making a mistake. Was Monza number three?