Korea say 168,000 attended first F1 race

Korean Grand Prix

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The inaugural Korean Grand Prix attracted 168,000 spectators over the three-day event, the race organisers claimed on Friday.

However local media reported significant numbers of tickets were given away for free to boost attendance at the first race at the Korean International Circuit.

The Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) claimed attendance figures of 25,000 for Friday, 63,000 for Saturday and 80,000 for Sunday but did not say how many of those were paying spectators.

A report in the Korea Jonngang Daily claimed:

The local government gave thousands of free passes to university students to make sure the stands were filled. The local government also required its officials to sell tickets to their family and friends.

It’s not unusual for new race venues to give away tickets to stimulate interest but it makes assessing how popular the race actually was rather difficult.

Another newspaper claimed the late-running construction work meant the budget for the track was exceeded by ??60bn (33.4m). A KAVO spokesperson said:

The construction costs have increased over original estimates, but KAVO is currently evaluating by how much. The figures quoted in media reports however are incorrect.

Did you go to the Korean Grand Prix? Tell us about it here: Korean International Circuit – spectators’ experiences

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    Image © KAVO

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    23 comments on “Korea say 168,000 attended first F1 race”

    1. Good. If there were free spaces, they should have been given away. No point in leaving them empty. Smart move, because many who only went because it was free might now have the F1 bug and will be paying customers next year.

      1. Even if they don’t pay for their tickets, most will spend money at the circuit on plastic ponchos, expensive cheaply made food, merchandise.

        Although, it would be a bit annoying to pay for a ticket, and see thousands of people given them for free.

        1. exactly as they say in the simpsons “see the freak, stay to eat”

          turkey etc should think about doing the same

    2. http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2927568

      “Since the event is fairly unknown in Korea…”

      Why do they go to Korea if nobody cares?

      1. It’s all about the won… as ever :D

      2. And those caring, a lot of them would have given up waiting for the last 2 weeks to organise their trip to the venue!

    3. The construction costs have increased over original estimates, but KAVO is currently evaluating by how much. The figures quoted in media reports however are incorrect.

      Well surely if they haven’t finished evaluating then they can’t claim whether the media’s figures are correct or not!

    4. i was told that there was no F1 coverage on Korean television at all…is it true??

      1. I heard there was, but I heard it b4 race…

      2. There was live coverage for the actual race, but not for practice sessions or qualifying.

      3. As far as I know 1 or 2 main stations were showing the race live (only Sunday though)

    5. A smart and very normal thing to do. We used to do it when I worked for political parties. Fill the seats. Nothing looks worse on TV than empty seats.

    6. It was the right decision no point leaving seats empty.

    7. For the first time they did a good thing by giving some tickets to the students as we did saw in the TV that many people attended the race with their children.I hope with the3 city around it in 2011 there will be more buzz then it was in 2010.

      1. Chris Yu Rhee
        1st November 2010, 23:23

        There will be no city around it. Those are just concept drawings. The track is out (or in Korea’s case, down) in the boonies. No one’s going to build there, especially with the real estate market the way it is now.

    8. Quite lot for the very 1st gp…

    9. its rather galling as someone who goes to european gp’s that i pay 2-300 quid for cheap seats or grass verges when these guys who dont know what they’re looking at get rolled in for nothing. Its not that they shouldnt have a Gp, its that France and Belgium should always have oneand i shouldnt have to pay big bucks for an event we europeans built. Sometimes i think Bernie is right, sometimes i think hes a dumb old fool who’s way way past understanding the sport, both thru age and wealth.

    10. Give the Koreans a chance I’d say. You need to infect them with the F1 virus, once infected there will be no cure.

      Singapore signed for only 3 years and it’s panning out rather well and now they’ve extended for the next 2 years. There were droves of nay-sayers but not now.

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    12. Plus spare a thought for the Japanese fans – there was a large contingent in for the Korean GP as the cost of the airfares, accom and grand stand ticket was cheaper than the cost of a ticket for thier home Grand Prix (assuming the ballot system isn’t still being used.)

      Traffic wont be an issue next year as an entire freeway is being built from the circuit which will connect to a second Mokpo bridge currently under construction.

      1. I just love these on site details being given by you over the last couple of days. I hope you enjoyed the event altough it was pretty drenched all around, but a great race when it got going.

        A funny thing, what with the Japanese having a better deal by flying to Korea to watch the GP than going to Suzuka, but it would be great if it worked. Maybe the few Chinese who got hooked to F1 would also like the visit.

        A shame it does not work well for tracks like Turkey, it is pretty cheap from Europe, but still not many people make the trip (although Russians and Polish fans have been going there this year)

      2. Chris Yu Rhee
        1st November 2010, 23:26

        They’re going to build the bridge, but are they going to pave the parking areas?

        How was it from a marshall’s point of view? It seemed like it went very smoothly for you guys.

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