The Margin: NASCAR adding Chicago street race as it competes with Formula 1 for fans

by | Jul 19, 2022 | Stock Market

Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, has agreed to let NASCAR run a race through its downtown streets, a three-year deal that starts with a July 2023 event. The addition of a street race in a large market would be an important move for NASCAR as it fights to grow fan interest against the increasingly popular Formula 1
 and Penske Corp.-owned IndyCar auto-racing series. Both already have multiple street races on their schedules.

Street races can take the action directly to the fans, and encourage more spending in a downtown, compared with the oval tracks typically located well away from city centers. The 2.2-mile, 12-turn Chicago course will include Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. The Athletic’s Jordan Bianchi reported earlier this month that the city had endorsed the plan and that a deal was nearing completion. The Athletic obtained a letter from Erin Harkey, commissioner of the city’s special events agency, endorsing what was then a pending agreement. “I am thrilled about the potential opportunity to host the NASCAR Street Course events here in Chicago,” Harkey wrote in the letter, according to The Athletic. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events “is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy, and our strong partnership with the Chicago Sports Commission ensures that NASCAR fans would be treated to a diverse and unforgettable experience.” Read: Minnesota boy helps NASCAR’s Brown put new spin on ‘Let’s go, Brandon’ anti-Joe Biden chant And: NASCAR rejects driver’s sponsorship deal with ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ cryptocurrency A Netflix
special has revved up more U.S. interest in Europe-anchored Formula 1, which enjoys over 400 million viewers worldwide — arguably one of the most popular sports in the world. The streamer’s series “Drive to Survive”, which debuted in 2019, features behind-the-scenes footage of the usually-secretive racing teams and the sometimes contentious relationships between drivers and team executives. It has drawn die-hard and casual racing fans alike. Netflix doesn’t publicize viewer data, but the audience for ESPN’s
coverage of Formula 1 races has nearly doubled — up to 1.5 million views per race — since …

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