Category Archives: Events

The NFL Season and F1

It’s that time of year again in America when each Fall, televisions in every sports bar across the US blare with a crowd’s roar, network trumpeting ID’s blare, and the whistle of referees arresting play – cue to – even more blaring advertising.  It’s a tradition. As a fan of both the NFL and F1, it’s a bittersweet moment.  Locally, a group of F1 fans I’ve led, the San Francisco F1 Group, shifts from sports bars to the local karting track to watch races so as not to go head-to-head with a parched 49ers fan base.

Since 2005, running a group of dedicated Formula 1 fans in a major US city has created a bit of a learning lab and how best to bring fans, bars and venues together in the right mix, and during this time of the year, it’s never more difficult to organize an F1 viewing group around a live or DVR’d Grand Prix at a US sports bar. If you’re looking for a group to join, or have one you’d like to share (several have been forming since the announcement of the new circuit in Austin), here’s an open source map showing groups and F1 friendly venues across the US:



View F1US: F1 venue guide in a larger map
 

The start of the Fall classic this month has new significance this year as groups of F1 fans who watch racing together have been growing in numbers, and will no doubt find that some venues have a difficult time accommodating both F1 and football on Sunday mornings.  This year, one third of the F1 season will take place during the NFL’s regular season, with the majority of sports bars showing more than one NFL game at a time. As our group in San Francisco started out, it was common for a group of 50 F1 fans watching one race to be offered the same number of screens as 10 NFL fans watching 3 different games.

For many new F1 communities that’s what F1 is up against in this country, and it’s a situation most F1 viewing groups would like to avoid.  The good news is that F1 fans watching their sport at bars and venues in groups were never nearly as large or as well organized as they are today, and with a tightly networked group of fans, it’s possible to switch venues at a moment’s notice, or find a more F1 friendly venue before the next GP.

Find a great venue or a group for watching F1 this season?  Share your comments.

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Filed under American F1 Fans, Events, F1 and NFL, F1 broadcasting in America, F1 in America, san francisco formula 1 group, Social Media, Uncategorized

Director Asif Kapadia Arrives in San Francisco with ‘SENNA’

F1 didn’t slow down quite as much this August thanks to the opening of SENNA across the United States. The agency promoting the film, Electric Artists, has been working feverishly to connect with different communities, networks, and groups across the country through a network of volunteers and event organizers, and the results have been impressive. The film opens in over 50 US cities in the coming month, with several groups and car clubs organizing events, fundraisers and gatherings around the screenings in their city.

Here in San Francisco, the F1 Group I moderate had been waiting for this film for some time, and while everyone was glad to see it finally arrive, the film’s opening date coincided with the first day of the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, a popular event held just a couple of hours away. Since a key audience for the film would not be in town that day, I spoke with Electric Artists and lobbied for an earlier date ahead of Friday with the idea that a coordinated screening would give those going for the weekend a chance to see the film and share the good word. The reviews were in and only made everyone want to see the film that much sooner.

After some thought on the idea, they suggested a possible screening late Thursday, and with just a week to go until the opening weekend in the Bay Area, the word came down that the theater could hold one special screening at 9:45pm on Thursday, and we could either take it or leave it. Theaters get that way, and while not the easiest time to bring a crowd out, with a little hard work we would get the word out quickly and fill the 285 seat theater.

Several of our members belong to other car clubs, so I was confident we would make this happen together – but the next day the news got even better – director Asif Kapadia agreed to visit us for the screening before his return home to London. News travelled fast in the car community, and the event sold out in just four days, with another five Bay Area screenings with Asif added soon after the advance screening filled up.

 

 

On the way to the theater on Thursday, Asif called about my earlier invitation to dinner before the screening, and my girlfriend and I picked him up downtown and joined our friends for a great evening where we learned more about the process he went through in making the film – all of which made for a very memorable night. The film played to a full house and he stayed until 1am signing autographs and graciously spoke to the audience after an extensive Q&A session [video]. I thank Asif and Electric Artists on behalf of the San Francisco F1 Group for helping make this special night possible.

 

Thanks again to SENNA director, Asif Kapadia (more photos)

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Filed under American F1 Events, American F1 Fans, American release of 'Senna' film, brand strategy in F1, Events, F1 and business, F1 and Hollywood, F1 and Social Media, F1 and Viral Media, F1 in America, san francisco formula 1 group

An Open Letter to Austin from the San Francisco Formula 1 Group

 

San Francisco Formula 1 Group

June 28, 2011

The San Francisco Formula 1 Group supports both the city of Austin and Formula 1’s return to the United States there.   We can think of no other event that will impact the community in such a positive and constructive way while creating opportunities for local businesses and organizations in the region.

As one of the largest communities of Formula 1 fans in the United States, we’ve brought more F1 fans to watch Grand Prix racing together than any single event since the last USGP in 2007 – and groups like ours are not alone.  In the past few years, Formula 1 viewing events here and more recently in Austin have been taking place with other sister organizations in New York, San Diego, Chicago, Seattle, Houston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Tampa, Dallas, and several other cities.

In San Francisco we’ve grown to over 1200 members from more than 50 countries where students, professionals, families, retirees, schoolchildren, vacationers and even current Formula 1 team members have all joined us to watch F1 races.  Having led and personally organized over 100 F1 viewing events to date for many thousands of guests, I can say there is no one ‘type’ of Formula 1 fan, but there is always passion and excitement around the experience of a race together with a group.

We share rides and BBQ recipes, eat vegan food, go to class, lead our industry, work in education, green tech, software, nonprofit, and enjoy weekend track days, photography and music – and all have Formula 1 in common.  It’s the power to bring so many diverse interests and people together around the sport that continues to build enthusiasm and energy here and in groups across the country, and there’s no bigger stage than the race itself to attract such a vibrant community.

The local businesses and charities we support through our F1 events are happy to share that the thousands of fans who have joined us over the years and who return each season to watch races with us continue to support them with energy and enthusiasm, and we look forward to bringing that with us to next year’s race.

Peter Habicht

The San Francisco Formula 1 Group

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Filed under American F1 Events, American F1 Fans, American F1 history, Circuit of the Americas, Events, F1 and Social Media, F1 in America, United States Grand Prix in Austin