01 CASE STUDY
Circuit of the Americas (US Grand Prix)
PR & COMMS
SMG is the international PR & Marketing agency of choice for Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas – the only purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States and home of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix as well as The MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas and NASCAR at COTA race weekend.
COTA has continually availed the expertise of SMG as it continues to establish itself as the number 1 motorsport & entertainment venue in the U.S.A.
From positioning its Chairman & Co-Founder Bobby Epstein as a key Promoter voice with high level international media (CNN, ESPN, The New York Times etc) to developing and implementing COTA’s international communication campaigns, coordinating F1 race weekend PR operations as well as planning and implementing UK & European marketing campaigns and activations, SMG is the agency of choice for the premium motorsport venue in America.
Our work with COTA has seen the circuit achieve record attendances, cementing COTA’s position as one of the most successful and popular Grands Prix on the Formula 1 calendar. SMG continues to work with COTA as the venue plans for its 11th race.
· Since its opening, COTA’s cumulative economic impact on the Austin metro area has exceeded $5bn
· The 2018 United States Grand Prix was named Race of the Year by Formula 1 Fans (source: F1)
· 2019, saw COTA sell out completely for the first time since the inaugural race on the circuit in 2012, with 128,000 fans attending on race Sunday
· The 2021 race in Austin saw COTA host a record 400,000 fans across three days a recording broken the following year in 2022 when 440,000 attended – the biggest audience to ever watch an F1 race in the USA
In October 2022, Circuit of The Americas (COTA) celebrated its 10th Birthday and 10th year of hosting the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. To mark this special occasion, COTA wanted to create a fun, birthday party themed piece of content for its social & digital channels to showcase its rich heritage and to drive home the message that it truly is THE Home of Formula 1 in the United States.
With this in mind, SMG worked with Formula 1 and all 10 teams to secure filming and driver time at the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of the summer break to create three driver-led videos for COTA’s 10th Birthday campaign. The concept was clear: COTA would invite each of the drivers to F1’s biggest party at the Formula 1 Aramco United States Grand Prix 2022 in the most Texan way possible: with a giant party invitation…because everything’s bigger in Texas, right?
In addition, the drivers were asked personalised questions around their own experiences and memories of racing at COTA and visiting Austin as well as their excitement at returning for COTA’s 1Oth anniversary at a time that F1 has never been bigger in the U.S. This led to some fantastic answers from some of COTA’s 10 year veterans including Sebastian Vettel, who revisited F1’s first ever visit to Austin in 2012 and honorary Texan, Daniel Ricciardo, expressing his love for the city and circuit in the unique way that only the Honey Badger can!
The main hero film was launched across COTA’s social and digital platforms one month before the main event, kicking off the final promotional push in style. The video was positively received by fans across all channels earning thousands of likes and views on COTA’s official channels . A shortened ‘blooper’ version was shared closer to the Grand Prix to maintain fan engagement with the final video of all 20 drivers wishing COTA a happy birthday going out on race Sunday, to cap off a remarkable weekend that saw 440,000 fans visit the circuit across all three days – a new Formula 1 record.
The medium of driver promotional videos proved a simple yet effective tool to both engage new and existing fans and continue to build the promoter’s brand at such a pivotal moment in its history. This tactic made it simple to enforce the key campaign message that even though F1 is expanding in the US with new races joining the calendar, COTA still has the history and the prestige to be considered (by both fans and drivers!) as the real Home of F1 in the US.