The Netflix Effect is Bigger in Texas

USGP sets 3-day attendance record

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Good morning friends,

After plenty of build-up to the United States Grand Prix weekend, it surely did not disappoint. We were treated to a battle between the two biggest figures in the sport, a strategic battle, record crowds, and pageantry you’d only expect to see in America.

Max Verstappen held off Lewis Hamilton to win the US Grand Prix, extending his F1 lead. Verstappen and Hamilton beat Sergio Perez and the rest of the field by 40 seconds.

Verstappen now leads Hamilton by 12 points with five races remaining. Next, is the Mexico GP followed by Brazil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi. We’re in for a battle till the end.

The event also set a 3-day attendance record for any Grand Prix with over 400,000 in-person spectators.

As seen in the tweet above, the previous high attendance for a 3-day GP weekend was Silverstone in 2019 with 351,000.

The 2021 USGP also smashed the 2019 USGP attendance by 132,000 (nearly 50%)!

The Netflix Effect

The term Netflix Effect has come to refer to a number of things: the way in which the content is curated, the content itself and its social and economic impact, new representation, and the recommendations of its associated algorithms. 

Netflix has become a disruptor in the way content is consumed, it has affected the economy as an entity and in the productions it airs, and may subtly direct the world’s collective consciousness to issues that may not exactly be relevant or information represented accurately. 

Just look at this stock price chart for Netflix. Since launching its first piece of original content in 2013 with House of Cards, their stock (NFLX) began to sky-rocket and their number of subscribers domestically and internationally were growing rapidly.

Since the Drive to Survive series launched on Netflix, Formula 1 has seen tremendous growth.

“Data shows us well that this helped a lot in the American market,” says Guenther Steiner, team principal of the Haas Formula One Team. "It helped a lot to get people interested—not the avid fan, the guy who watches every race car race. This is different. This seems to be interesting, and then they start to watch and come to races. The series had a big impact and what I noticed is the people who recognize it are mainly young people, because the way they use TV is to watch Netflix.”

And there’s data to back that up.

In Q1 of 2017, Netflix subscribers surpassed that of major cable providers in the US.

Drive to Survive was released March 8, 2019. Just take a look at their stock chart (FWONK).

Aside from the pandemic dropoff which was realized by every company in the market, it’s trended up since the release of the series.

Why Formula 1 and America Haven’t Worked Out

The easiest answer is to understand American heritage and tradition. Formula 1 hasn’t matched — and still doesn’t match — the identity of many Americans.

The blue collar, illegal whiskey runners found themselves a legal way to prove their mettle and make money.

Even the racing style itself matches the place it was born — a slug match, tire rubbing, big heavy cars that have no brakes, no computers — just raw, simple and rough.

Just check out “board tracks” from the 20’s and 30’s 👀

And logistically, it’s just hard to be a Formula 1 fan in America.

Most of the races take place in locations where watching the event live would require waking at the crack of dawn, or the middle of the night.

And unlike American sports, Formula 1 currently gives no options to cheer on American drivers. The last American to win a race was Mario Andretti, at the Dutch Grand Prix…in 1978.

Since its founding, Formula 1 has been an international organization.

The first world championship was held in 1950 at Silverstone in the United Kingdom. The winning driver, Italian racer Giuseppe Farina, drove a supercharged Alfa Romeo in front of 120,000 cheering spectators — including England’s reigning monarch, King George VI.

What We Can Learn from The Netflix Effect

The biggest takeaway here is that great content, tied into a concerted marketing effort can move people to do things they aren’t used to doing.

Netflix has created fans where many thought was impossible to break into, and relatively quickly.

The success is so real that the talk of a third American race in Vegas is getting very close. After the disastrous 80’s races at Casers Palace, Formula 1 hasn’t been able to return to Vegas.

This is a thread we’ll keep following and tracking, it’s still the beginning.

I’ll see you on the internet!


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