‘Verstappen effect’ boosting 2018 German GP ticket sales

2018 German Grand Prix

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The popularity of Max Verstappen has helped to increase ticket sales for next year’s German Grand Prix according to the event’s organisers.

The race at the Hockenheimring will return on the 2018 F1 calendar having not been held this season. The event has struggled to attract fans in recent seasons.

Hockenheim struggled to sell F1 tickets in 2016
Last year’s race attracted 57,00 spectators, a similar number to the final round of the DTM championship. The German race promoter reports 25,000 tickets have already been sold for next year, which it says is an increase of around 30% compared to the same stage in tickets sales for the 2016 German Grand Prix.

Fans have been able to take advantage of special discounts available to early ticket buyers. The race promoter also believes “ardent Dutch support for Max Verstappen is a major contributing factor to the increased ticket sales.” The Belgian Grand Prix has also enjoyed a boost in attendance from Verstappen fans.

Hockenheimring CEO Georg Seiler also praised F1’s new owners Liberty Media for increasing interest in the race.

“There appears to be a renewed excitement and anticipation for the German Grand Prix in 2018 amongst motorsport fans,” he said. “We are already seeing a vast increase in the multitude of fan engagement activities taking place around this year’s Formula One grands prix under the new ownership, something that helps bring Formula One closer to the motorsport community.”

“In this spirit, we are excited to deliver an amazing weekend for the thousands of F1 fans coming to Hockenheim next July.”

No German tracks holds a contract for an F1 race beyond the end of next season.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “‘Verstappen effect’ boosting 2018 German GP ticket sales”

  1. I expect a large sea of Orange caps and shirts in 2018!

    1. @ju88sy More than enough orange shirts and caps available… we (Holland) won’t need them for the World Cup :/

      1. I bought one of the 2016 Orange and Dutch flag colour ‘Max’ Caps as a piece of memorabilia to look back on as a reminder of when Max burst on to the scene! It’s good fun with-all the orange in the crowd, I am off to Austin – be interesting to see how much Orange makes it to Texas :).

        Hard to imagine a WC without Holland, at least Max gives you a focal point to cheer next year!

        1. I also bought an orange Max cap at this weekend’s Japanese GP to go with my Red Bull shirt :)

      2. Well Max is much more competitive than Holland Football team. So atleast you have that.

      3. Bert van der Linden
        11th October 2017, 0:06

        Good one!

  2. Just goes to show, with the exception of Ferrari the drivers gain the most support in F1. Mercedes, a German company did less for numbers at the German GP than young Max who isn’t even German!

    And I’m sure the numbers can also be attributed to a competitive Seb once more.

    1. @offdutyrockstar, that is not what the organiser at both Hockenheim and the Nurburgring found – even when Vettel was winning the WDC, ticket sales were continuing to decline. In fact, back in 2013 I believe the Nurburgring suggested Vettel’s continued success was actually having a negative impact on ticket sales, with the perception that he was cruising to another WDC putting more German fans off than he was drawing in.

      There was a German driver who did help boost ticket sales in Germany, but it wasn’t Vettel – the organisers found that Michael Schumacher’s return actually had a far larger positive impact than Vettel’s success ever did. Vettel might be more famous, but Schumacher made a far deeper impression and formed a much stronger bond with the public in Germany than Vettel has managed.

      With Max, we are seeing a similar effect – we know from surveys that his fan base is mostly made up of middle aged men (particularly those aged over 45), and it seems that a lot of his fans were in fact fans of his father – now that Max has entered the sport, they have transferred their support from father to son and are now coming back to the sport.

      1. How do you reckon Vettel is mote famous than Michael ”Formula 1” Schumacher himself?

      2. Well, “Anon” when you say

        we know from surveys that his fan base is mostly made up of middle aged men (particularly those aged over 45), and it seems that a lot of his fans were in fact fans of his father

        let us not forget, that many of those men bring their wives, and children (and friends) with them as well.

        From the 2 races I have visited in the last 2 seasons (Hockenheim last year, Austria this year), I can confirm that there are many dutch Verstappen fans who took their enthusiasm for Jos the Boss into a simmering enjoyment of F1 and the hope of a next generation of Dutch drivers now fulfilled to support in Max. But almost all of them I have seen were bringing teenage-twenties children along too for the hobby, introducing the next generation of fans as well.

  3. I’m quite surprised about the lack of popularity in Germany: I mean, lot of top drivers from Schumacher to more recent Rosberg and Vettel, a redesigned section at Hockenheim that can show a nice portion of the track, a super competitive Mercedes… I know, F1 is not funny like it was, but there are reasons for fellow Germans to be involved. Any German here? What would you like to see in F1 to go to a race?

    1. It’s way too expensive.
      I visit all my other favorite races and motorsport events for several years for the price of a single f1 ticket with a decent view. I can’t justify to spend so much money on a single card especially after they made f1 more and more boring (although I live almost right next to hockenheim 30-45minutes away). Smaller engines, really bad sound, now the halo.
      Also the mercedes dominance was really boring (yes even for a german and even when they still had nico rosberg as a german driver).
      This year is already much better but lets see were they will had with the new 2021 rules. I hope porsche will join f1 that would be really exciting.

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      10th October 2017, 18:52

      @m-bagattini There was a post on this in 2014 from a German. According to them, Germans were bigger fans of Michael Schumacher instead of F1, so when he retired the interest fell. It could also be because Schumacher came from a working class family, but so did Vettel, and Vettel hasn’t achieved the same game that Schumacher has despite his achievements at the same age.

      We still see plenty of German F1 drivers though, probably because they were kids when Schumacher was winning championships.

    3. @m-bagattini, in the case of Nico Rosberg, I don’t think that many Germans would have bonded to him.

      Quite a few of them didn’t really think of him as being that German in the first place, since he was officially a Finnish-German dual national and, for the first two years of his junior career, he raced with a Finnish racing licence, not a German one. Back when he was racing in GP2, he stated that the decision to race under a German licence was driven by being able to raise more sponsorship in Germany than in Finland and, as he had spent most of his life travelling across Europe, he didn’t really have a particular affinity to any particular nation (almost considering himself more “European” than a national of any particular country).

      Asides from that, for most of his life Nico has been living in Monaco, so he hasn’t really spent much of his life living in Germany and has enjoyed a lifestyle that the average German would be very envious of.

  4. It is not in doubt that in Germany there was a big decline in popularity after Schumacher first retired in 2006. A young German boy in a Red Bull winning championship after championship and Schumacher´s comeback in a Mercedes helped slow this trend down a bit but generally speaking the German public is tired of F1.
    German people complain a lot about ticket prices. That is why German fathers rather take their kids to football matches than to the Hockenheimring.
    Liberty Media is going in the right direction, especially with their increased social media activities aiming younger audiences. The show must be improved in order to attract new people to F1.
    Schumacher Junior could boost things up if he will be able to compete.

    1. Hate street races, but this would be awesome

    2. I hope they keep it in Rotterdam. With the Erasmus bridge and Harbour in the background, it will be a nice setting.

      1. I agree with that @kiransripathy. And the city also can both use a great event and I think has the capacity and room to do it, since it’s city centre doesn’t have a tight historical centre that gets in the way, and accompanying hordes of tourists visiting :-)

  5. Bernie who?

  6. I am starring to get very curious about the number of Dutch visitors to all the Gp’s. Most European GP’s have reported rising attendance. To what extent is this due to the Verstappen fans and to what extent due to the better looking cars, closer fight for the WDC? We will never no, but it would be an interesting statistic.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      10th October 2017, 23:17

      It’s all Verstappen. There always have been a lot of motorsport fans in the netherlands. But now everybody and their mother is jumping on the bandwagon. And for some reason it is also spawning a lot of anti-max people.

      1. And their grandchildren, their grandfathers/mothers and the dog @passingisoverrated, @mosquito. I do think there are others getting more interested too though, because of better effort from the promotor to make the experience of visiting a race better (small steps but noticable) as well as the ongoing economical growth making it more available for many.

        And maybe fears of terrorism in popular holiday countries have also helped a bit – shifting the balance from goint to Turkey/Tunesia/Egypt/… for a forthnight or visiting Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Belgium for a week(end) with a grand prix as the highlight.

  7. I wonder if the recent lack of success of Dutch football teams (national and club) also helps.

    1. Bert van der Linden
      11th October 2017, 0:14

      Recent lack of success of Dutch football teams? What the about the women who won the European Champion this year?

  8. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    11th October 2017, 4:55

    I think Verstappen is going to be the next Alonso, as far as cult-like popularity goes.

  9. As I said the other day the any preference by Marko for Verstappen over Ricciardo is more about business and potential support from sponsors, this seems to be an indicator of that.

    1. Probably the fact that he’s the youngest F1 driver ever that’s already quicker than RIC helps as well

      1. Quicker? Well sometime in practice but he is till to prove consistency and reliability. He does seem to be emotionally resilient which is a big plus in top level sport/business.

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