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.