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Adelaide 500 could revert to three days due to low crowds

Simon Chapman

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Wednesday 26th February, 2020 - 6:08pm

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The Adelaide 500 could be reduced to three days

Organisers of the Superloop Adelaide 500 are open to scaling back the event to three days after recording the lowest ever four-day crowd this year.

The reported attendance figure of 206,350 for the 2020 event represents the lowest figure since the Adelaide 500 was expanded to four days in 2003, when it drew an aggregate 213,600 crowd.

All four days were down on the corresponding figures from 2019, Sunday by 25,500 after a sellout 91,500 attended the final day of last year’s Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season-opener, when the Red Hot Chilli Peppers played.

Hitaf Rasheed, Executive Director for Events SA, said she was happy with the attendance but that condensing the event may be worth considering.

“I think 200,000 across four days, in anyone’s terms, is still great numbers,” Rasheed told Adelaide’s Triple M radio station.

“And it’s still the jewel in the (Supercars) crown along with Bathurst, we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

“But it’s tough times. Consumers’ tastes are changing, they don’t necessarily want four days of racing, all day, every day.

“So we have to look at what consumers are looking for there.

“Some of the races around Australia have knocked a day off. Our research, to date, hasn’t told us that that’s the right thing for us.

“But again, we go through the process at the end of each event, we debrief, and then we’ll see what we think is the best outcome for everyone.”

According to a report in the Adelaide Advertiser last week, ticket sales had ‘spiked’ in the days following news of Holden’s imminent demise.

While the existing contract with Supercars covers next year’s event and negotiations on a renewal are yet to formally begin, Rasheed told Speedcafe.com that understanding Supercars’ future direction regarding its ruleset is “pretty important” to organisers.

In any event, a change to the Supercars Championship schedule for the Adelaide event could be on the cards due to the proximity of this year’s pre-season test.

The BP Ultimate SuperTest was held approximately 100km away at The Bend on the Tuesday immediately prior to the first race event of 2020, where Practice 1 was held on Thursday.

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said the quick turnaround made life difficult for teams and drivers.

“The fact that it’s one week means (teams are) not doing two trips somewhere,” noted Seamer.

“It also means they’ve got more time in the off-season. It extends the off-season by a week, or even more, so (it has been) positive feedback.

“The only negative has been the turnaround into the Thursday session’s really tight for the guys to get down here, do your sponsor reveals and all your other corporate things, tear down the cars and make sure they’re ready to go.

“It was too tight coming into Thursday, but coming into Friday would work.

“I’ve already made a note to go to the Commission.”

Thursday Supercars Championship running was introduced last year, with the first day of track activity previously the domain of support categories only.

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