Ticket give­away to boost NZGP crowd

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Rural - SHAUN EADE

Man­feild is hop­ing a pro­mo­tion that has seen all Palmer­ston North and Manawatu¯ ratepay­ers of­fered a free ticket to the New Zealand Grand Prix will be con­verted into an in­creased at­ten­dance at the an­nual event.

Pro­mot­ers Speed­works in­cluded the offer of a free ticket to home­own­ers on a flier that ar­rived along with their Novem­ber rates bill this week.

About 45,000 three-day passes were of­fered at a po­ten­tial value of $3.15 mil­lion.

But Man­feild chief ex­ec­u­tive Julie Keane was only ex­pect­ing a small per­cent­age of those tick­ets to be re­deemed.

She was hop­ing for a crowd of be­tween 10,000 and 15,000 peo­ple over the Fe­bru­ary 9-11 event, which would be a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment over the past cou­ple of years.

Man­feild was un­able to pro­vide ex­act crowd num­bers for 2017, but es­ti­mates were around 6000. The 2016 event had just 2500 at­tend.

Speed­works’ Ge­off Short said this was the start of a cam­paign to im­prove at­ten­dance at the event, which is meant to be the most pres­ti­gious event in New Zealand mo­tor­sport.

‘‘We are firmly fo­cused on rais­ing the game dra­mat­i­cally for this event and se­cur­ing a ca­pac­ity crowd is not just good for the sport, it will also help se­cure the fu­ture of the event at Feild­ing.’’

‘‘A pro­mo­tion of this size has se­ri­ous po­ten­tial and could ob­vi­ously pro­vide a huge eco­nomic ben­e­fit to Feild­ing and the im­me­di­ate re­gion, but peo­ple have to get along and sup­port it.’’

The new three-year NZGP host­ing rights deal an­nounced ear­lier this year ef­fec­tively saw Man­feild hire the venue out to Speed­works, which runs the event and col­lects all tick­et­ing rev­enue.

The cur­rent track view­ing area at Man­feild holds 7000 peo­ple at one time, but Keane said they would be mon­i­tor­ing how many tick­ets were be­ing sold or re­deemed on­line in case they needed to in­crease their ca­pac­ity.

‘‘If we know in the lead-in that there is go­ing to be more than that in at­ten­dance we will have to ad­dress ad­di­tional in­fra­struc­ture. But that will be a fan­tas­tic is­sue to have.’’

The 2018 New Zealand Grand Prix will the fi­nal race of the TRS with the New Zealand V8s, V8 Utes, Porsche se­ries, GTR NZ, Toy­ota 86s, Mazda Pro 7, For­mula 1600 and For­mula First con­firmed as sup­port cat­e­gories.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/STUFF

Crowds at the 2017 New Zealand Grand Prix im­proved, but were still be­low what pro­mot­ers Speed­works would like to see.

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