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