JANUARY 24, 2017
Carey - "It will be like 21 Super Bowls!"
BY LUIS VASCONCELOS
Less than 24 hours after taking over from Bernie Ecclestone as the man in charge of Formula One, Chase Carey gave his first interview to CNBC's morning program Squawk Box. In a conversation with host Joe Kernan, Carey admitted he hadn't dreamed of this job until six months ago, praised Bernie Ecclestone's contribution to the sport but made it clear there's a lot of potential to grow the fan base and, therefore, the income, as well as making it clear he'll seek a second Grand Prix in a major city in the United States as one of his first tasks.
Asked if this was a dream job for him, Carey admitted that, "if I was ever going to lay odds, that wouldn't have been at the top of the list, even one year ago. But when the opportunity arose this summer, it really caught my imagination and my excitement, so I'm thrilled to have this opportunity and be here right now."
When the subject moved to the current state of Formula One, Carey made it clear a lot had been done but there was a lot of potential for growth as Formula One had staid stagnant for the last few years: "First of all, Bernie deserves tremendous credit for the way he built the sport in the past decades and the proof in the pudding is that it has just been sold for eight billion dollars. He should be recognised and we certainly appreciate what he built here. But that being said, when you look at the last four or five years, the sport has not really grown to its full potential, and we have an opportunity to really grow this sport in a new and exciting way. I think there are two fundamental parts: one, put an organisation in place that lets us make these events everything they can be, reaches out to digital media that we're not connecting to today, built an organisation that connects with the fans and enables the fans to connect with the sport. And, on another level, to really built a spirit of partnership with our teams, promoters, sponsors and broadcasters that will enable us to work together with a common vision."
The new CEO of Formula One then laid down where he sees more progress being made in the near future: "In the immediate, probably the one that will grow faster it's sponsorship. Realistically, today, we have a one-man sponsorship operation, there are many categories in which we are not even selling into, we have signage at tracks we're not selling, so, in many ways, putting an organisation in place that enables us to execute on that, probably is the most immediate impact.
In television there's no question there's a lot of potential for growth there. We just did a deal recently in the UK, that increased our annual revenue more than two times, we are not yet even a player in the digital media landscape, so that's an opportunity for us to add the digital dimension to our traditional broadcast media. I think the opportunities on the even side are probably it will be more into making our events bigger, broader and better. I've talked about it as we have 21 races and it's like having 21 Super Bowls.
Realistically, we only have one race in each country and we should make these races week long extravaganzas with entertainment and music, events that capture the whole city, not just events at the tracks. And that is an opportunity for us to, over time, continue to grow that dimension."
Finally, when asked about the much talked possibility of Formula One having a second Grand Prix in the United States, Carey made it clear this was one of his priorities: "We didn't acquire the business pending on the US success, but there's a real upside in the US market, where we'd really like to add a race in a destination city ‘‚ ‚ ‚ New York, LA, Miami, Las Vegas ‘‚ ‚ ‚ to states where people will come for a week long event, that has multiple dimensions with the race at the centre."