Of all the places to see live Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees play against The Boston Red Sox – a classic box office fixture in the annals of bat and ball history - West Ham’s London Stadium would not be the primary venue on the list. Earlier this year MLB played, for the first time, on European soil with a 4-game series following the trend set by NFL and NBA with regular season games being contested in London.
Whilst the flight across the Atlantic may not be the norm for American sports franchises, in logistical terms pitching their tent in Europe for a weekend or two every season is not a difficult undertaking. This can be contrasted to Formula One’s global circus where 21 of the World’s finest racetracks in the most glamorous of destination cities are visited every other weekend from March to December.
Th F1 circus is arguably the largest global touring sport. Thousands of tons of kit are transported across the world throughout the season with occasional back to back weekend races. It’s a tough logistical exercise but could the current calendar be arranged to make the travel easier on teams and staff?
Below is a table demonstrating the kilometers travelled from city to city under the current F1 schedule.
A quarter of the total annual distance is travelled by the 4th race weekend. The cash burn for these fly aways is easily $1million per week largely due to the travel. It must be a massive disincentive for new consortia who may want to enter the championship knowing that just to travel to work they’d be eight figures out of pocket.
The limitations to this are that contractually some governments pay more to hold races at certain times of the year. Melbourne and Abu Dhabi will pay more to host the season opening and closing races than for any other slot on the calendar. In return there is the added exposure of the opening Grand Prix after a long summer break and the potential of a final race championship showdown. Monaco historically has to be in May and Silverstone marks the halfway point in the season.
Formula One manages to pull this off every year without a hitch. There are lessons to be learned for global supply chains from F1’s collaborative freight management systems. I bet they even manage to keep within the Ryanair luggage allowance.