Monday, September 12, 2011

Potential Pitfalls Of The Date Change

Well, it's sayonora to the June race date as the November 18th date has finally been confirmed.  It's great that the date was moved out of the summer, considering the record temperatures we've been having here in Austin this year.  November has far nicer average temperatures than June here in Austin and fans will be much happier.  While I've been hoping to see a date change since the June date was first announced, I do see some potential problems with a later date rather than an earlier one.  

A later date will mean one of two things:  either the race will be more exciting in terms of the championship or it won't have any effect at all.  If the 2012 championship is decided as early as it appears the 2011 championship will be, then the American Grand Prix will draw fewer fans from outside the country.  If this happens then F1 fans hoping to see the race that determines the championship will be less likely to make last minute plans to see come to Austin and see the race.  It will also draw fewer fans from inside the country who might have been swayed to see a race that could determine the championship.  Formula 1 will also have a major competitor in the form of America's favorite sport - football.

One of the big disadvantages to a later date, rather than an earlier one, is that this race will be nearing the end of NFL season and around the second to last game of the college football season.  One of the big hopes for the race organizers is that they could draw people from Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.  With this date change it's less likely that potential new fans will drive to Austin when their teams are playing important games.  Let's hope the Texans and Cowboys will both be playing away games that might allow fans to come to Austin for the day. I wonder if Tavo Hellmund could talk to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about this...

Of course there are some major potential advantages as well.  The later date will allow the construction of the track facilities to get further along and make a big impact on fans.  If the championship hasn't be decided we will be guaranteed an exciting race with great TV ratings.  If we can get new fans and viewers then the better weather, barring rain of course, will allow fans to remember the race and not just the oppressive heat.  If the stars align perfectly then we're in for a great one, but I'd still rather have seen a March or April race date established after the first year.  

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