COTA get major funding to the tune of $81 million

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Just as the X Games announced they wouldn’t be coming back to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in 2017, the Austin Business Journal reported that he circuit has completed a new round of debt financing for $81 million.

The new capital will be used for operating expenses and was completed “in connection with a business combination transaction such as a merger, acquisition or exchange offer.” according to the report.

This suggests that there could have been a merger and that plays in to the rumors that the circuit has been seeking a buyer for some time now.

A new round of financing should help for the balance of the year and they will need it now that they have announced the USGP will go ahead as scheduled.

It’s unclear as to what financial angles are being sought at COTA but keeping the doors open and the lights on are critical as the only FIA grade 1 circuit in America.

Meanwhile, the Mexican GP organizer says they are already approaching a sellout in ticket sales and are looking to expand the seating areas for this year. It makes you wonder what Mexico is doing right and perhaps the US is doing wrong as far as attracting attendance to the venue.

I haven’t seen how successful the circuit Hermanos Rodriguez has been with other racing series during the year but COTA has played host to several events. The last I spoke to the circuit, they said they had a very high number of days already spoken for and in use. That’s the key, selling 365 days of track use to people who want it.

The price for a day at the track isn’t cheap but perhaps the financing can create some affordable and attractive packages to create a demand.

Hat Tip: Joel and the Austin Biz Journal

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Daniel Johnson

Location is probably another major factor. When you are located in/near one of the most populous cities in the world it’s much easier to attract a big crowd. Where as Austin, most F1 fans have to fly there.

Vance Facundo

New concrete sidewalks leading up to turn 1 going in today also.

Steve Calvert

NC, I’m not sure if you give Vance and his buddy Tim the credit they deserve for reporting the goings on down here in Austin. They are always up front with the rumor mill and making sure people get the news needed.

This is certainly good news and I wonder how it will go over with the haters will still have here.

I’m glad we still have an F1 race and all the other races that come to CoTA.

Negative Camber

I know Tim and Vance. Very nice guys. Try to see them when I’m down there. Bumped into Vance last year in the parking lot. :)

Forrest

Thank goodness! That was one of my biggest gripes when I was there for the IMSA/WEC weekend in 2014. The pathways around the track became a muddy mess when it rained. Are they planning on constructing a paved or concrete walkway alongside the road from the footbridge over the esses to the paddock entrance? You either had to walk in the dirt/mud when going to the paddock or walk in the road and risk getting hit by all the car and golf cart traffic.

Steve Calvert

NC, I’m not sure it’s really that big of a deal for a track in Mexico City, a city of 8+ million with another 13+ million in the surrounding area, to fill the stands.

Michael Self

True but Austin isn’t a bad drive from Houston metro (6.6 million people) or the DFW Metroplex (7 million), and an easy drive from San Antonio (2.3 million people). Its just that on average Mexico is much more passionate about F1 than Americans.

Tom Firth

Hermanos Rodriguez had a packed crowd for the Formula E race, I’ve not seen anything else yet beyond F1 and Formula E however from the venue. This is good news for COTA in the fact that some money going into it, but it does sound like it is heading for a sale.

ciarraic

I’ve been there for a few champ car races, the last time in ’07. Lots of people there, and a huge crowd for our driver, Mario Dominguez, who is Mexican. They even had a good crowd for the Busch race there. Mexican people love racing and soccer, like everyone else in the world but the US. That’s how they make it work.

Tom Firth

O sure and I’ve only watched on TV but I kind of meant since rebuilt. Agree though and cool that you got to the ChampCar races. Do you think Indycar will ever do a round at the venue?

ciarraic

I think Bernie has a clause that won’t let other “competing” series race at tracks while F1 has a contract, so probably not until F1 is finished. I hope Indycar goes there again. Mexico is awesome and all the drivers love the track. The front straight is so long you can only barely see the cars from pit lane when they turn right at the end of it. It’s a bit of a shame they cut up the Peraltada though.

Jack Flash (Australia)

What bemuses me about COTA, is that the Track Owners seem to be lagging in getting other events there to make the asset start paying for itself annually, to further investment in sports infrastraucture, and notably to offset the pain of major Formula 1 hosting fees.

Is there a reason why all other forms of US motorsport appear to be just treating the COTA track like a Leper. Is it the NASCAR cartel thing? Is it a INDY-IZOD cartel thing? Or… Is it just Austin or Texas in general?

What the f..?

Steve Calvert

NASCAR won’t come to CoTA, the cup cars anyway, because they’d have to drop an event and even though the stands at most NASCAR track are barely half full, they’re not dropping any event to turn right…

Indy would be welcome here, it would be neat but as I understand it, Bernie has a problem with competing races at the same track.

The economy is still sucking and until it gets better, people are keeping their money.

Jack Flash (Australia)

Well… that sucks? No sportcars either?
Understood NASCAR empire would never really do it, for reasons of confusing right turns, plus other good ‘ol boy factors… but…

How are Indycars ever a competitor to F1?
They hardly ever race on the same Continent – most of the time. And since Indy pulled out of Surfer Paradise Australia and other offshore events, even more to the non-competitor status.

Is this just Bernie pushing his weight around to make him ‘feel slightly taller’ than 5 foot nothing, and slightly more powerful becuase he can?

Buddy

MotoGP and LeMans Endurance plus tons of concerts.
http://www.circuitoftheamericas.com/events

geeyore

WEC Sep 17 2016.

John The Race Fan

Pirelli World Challenge was at CotA a few weeks ago. Had a great time with the family.

As I understand it, the F1/IndyCar exclusivity requirement is a myth. It certainly sounds like a Bernie play, but it’s really not the case today, although that may have been at the heyday of AOWS.

The issue right now with IndyCar & CotA is Texas motor Speedway and the very loud Eddie Gossage. If a series runs at his track, he doesn’t want them running anywhere else in this great state.
Yee-haw. :/

CypherDES

Indy won’t go there because of proximity to the Texas Motor Speedway, which has hosted Indy since ’97, Bernie’s issues aside. Only Indianapolis has hosted Indy car longer. I wouldn’t imagine the organizers and sponsors of the Firestone 600 would be happy with another race in their backyard.

geeyore

A possible analogy is that COTA track-weekend fees are ~$1,000, Watkins Glen jumped to $600 this year after complete repave, and almost all other tracks are $400. I have to imagine that conventional motorsport series are charged similar premium rates over other venues.

Charlie Whiting was recently filmed at the Glen, saying that the repave was a big improvement and that it’s a great track. But I believe the France (NASCAR) family has an interest in the Glen, so unlikely F1 could run there again.

Howard Rosten

Does anyone know what Mexico charges for F1 admission and how that compares to COTA?

geeyore
Kevster_TX

Based on my recent experience, premium grandstand prices between the 2 are comparable, although note that the prices shown on formula1.com are actually more expensive than the venue pricing – I bought my 2016 MX GP tickets via ticketmaster.mx. Important to note also is that MX offers 6 months interest free credit via Santander to buy tickets which lessens the blow.
MX prices are here (note in MX $ not US $): http://www.mexicogp.mx/?IDM=LANG_EN
US prices are here: http://www.circuitoftheamericas.com/2016-f1-usgp/tickets

John The Race Fan

I don’t know about grandstand prices.
General admission has beenaround $150-160 for the weekend and $99 for race day.
I expect 2016 to be no different.

Paul KieferJr

Grandstands tend to run anywhere from $550 up to $3000 (and that bigger end comes with a $1000 PSL price tag).

geeyore

Theoretically it would be good to have an F1 circuit somewhere closer to the northeast USA. Right now, it’s Montreal or nothing, and Circuit G.V. is rather marginal for spectators, not at all what I’ve heard of COTA.

geeyore

A little belated, but here’s an actual and credible comparison of US track fees that just came across the transom:

http://blog.motorsportreg.com/global-race-track-rental-fees

COTA is by far the most expensive by a factor of from 2 to 10 times compared to other US tracks (granted most not suitable for F1): 2.5 times more expensive than the Glen, Laguna Seca, or Road America; 40 percent more than Daytona. And though the figures shown are for “track weekend” rentals, presumably the same multipliers would be in effect for pro racing.

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