As John Maynard Keynes could have predicted, the soaring cost of attending a Grand Prix has resulted in dipping attendance. Formula 1's new owner, Liberty Media, intends to justify the higher prices with a better fan experience. Top shelf musicians have been hired by some Grand Prix venues to drive ticket sales for years, and last season saw the introduction of the Fan Fest, meant to engage attendees when on-track action was absent. Now, a Glassdoor job listing suggests F1 will enlist the broadcast service FanVision Entertainment, already in use at some NASCAR events.
FanVision is a system that provides small handheld screens on which attendees can watch sporting events (in this case, a race) and tailor the broadcast to fit their interests. It has seen some use in F1 in the past, and its operation can be understood by watching the video below.
The job listing not only reveals that the company will be involved in F1 this year but at every Grand Prix on the calendar as it asks applicants to be available for all 21 events.
Some may ask what value is added by carrying around a tablet-sized device, on which coverage of the sporting event you are at is played. As an attendee of the 2014 United States Grand Prix and 2015 Canadian Grand Prix, I can attest to the difficulty of following an F1 race trackside. Even with a televised broadcast visible and announcers at deafening volume over a circuit's loudspeakers, a Grand Prix is surprisingly easy to lose track of, even standing at turn one. I am better able to follow who is in the lead, who has pitted, and who was lapped from a TV broadcast (or live stream) at home; actually attending a Grand Prix is for little more than shock and awe.
I can see a service like FanVision making a race easier to keep track of. Aussies can tune their attention to Daniel Ricciardo for the duration of the race, the French can Romain fixated on Renault and Haas, and Canadians can Stroll their way to the FanVision booth for the same experience.
The Drive contacted both FanVision Entertainment and Liberty Media for confirmation that the two were involved in bringing the service to F1 this season, but neither has returned comment.