|Geoff Moore- Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, Circuit of the Americas|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 07 December 2012 16:54
Geoff Moore serves as Chief Sales and Revenue Officer for Circuit of the Americas, the multi-purpose motorsports and entertainment facility currently under construction in Austin, Texas. Moore takes on a wide range of responsibilities in his new role, including brand management, advertising and promotions, public relations, sponsorship, suite and ticket sales, social and digital media, and merchandising. He is responsible for developing, implementing and managing all aspects of this world-class, global brand.
Previously serving as Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the Dallas Stars, Geoff Moore oversaw the general business operations of the team for eight seasons. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Stars Foundation.
Moore graduated from Oklahoma State in 1989 with a degree in marketing and from Baylor in 1990 with his MBA. He currently lives in Allen, Texas with his wife, Jill, and four children.
I was very happy with the way the event went. Thanks to the staff, the dedication and the sacrifices they made, I don’t think the event could have gone much better. We had one of our debriefing meetings yesterday over the course of several hours and we listed about 200 things we could have done better and need to improve on for next year’s event, so I think we have to be very happy and satisfied with the event and the facilities turn-out that we were able to accomplish in such a short period of time, and we have to immediately shift into a continuous improvement cycle, because there are a lot of things that need to be better for the next event. Not just the next F1 event, but the next motorsport event; we have Grand-Am in March and Moto GP in April, so we have a couple of hundred things to change, because we have to do better for the customer at every event, and there is a long list of things we have to do better.
How tough was it for you to do such a massive event for the first time, was it a scary experience?
Yeah, there were a lot of unknowns; we didn’t really move into the building until the Monday of race week, so there was a lot of staff and volunteer training that had to happen almost outside of the fence. At night, telling people where they are going to be and what they are going to do, when they were allowed in the facility, so our guest services group did a heroic job.
I think the event went beautifully, the weather was great, the people who attended were so excited to be there, and their excitement and joy at being there made them very patient with us in some cases.
The transportation plan worked beautifully, part of that is probably due to the fact that the weather was great, and people arrived early and stayed late – that helped a lot. And I think the overall buzz and vibe of the event was really sort of magical, the teams were excited to be there, the fans were excited to be there, the size of the crowds really made the whole thing electric, so it was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be involved in something like that.
How strong were the ticket sales for this year’s race? Did it sell out or did you fall short of capacity?
We sold out in general admission tickets and all of our seated products. For bleachers and grandstand seats, we sold out on all of those. For our trackside hospitality, we probably could have sold a few more; those were never on sale directly to the general public. That was always either direct sale or group sale, so we probably could have done a bit more in a group sales, maybe a thousand or fifteen hundred in tickets through group sales, but from all practical purposes, people over the last month before the race were not able to buy a ticket, so from my standpoint it was a sell-out because all the tickets we had facing the public were sold out. So selling hospitality and group products could have held more capacity, but for all practical purposes, the event was a sell-out.
Why do you think Formula One has struggled to take off in the US before and how do you intend to change that?
Well, we were in a meeting with some of the McLaren guys in England last January and we were talking about that exact question. The McLaren marketing guys looked at me and said: “don’t worry, you don’t have to boil the ocean.” Their point was that we don’t have to make F1 the most popular sport in America to 330 million people, that’s not our responsibility, that’s not our job. What we have to do is to create an incredible Grand Prix facility and host great events and serve well the fans that come to the event and watch it on television.
The people who care about Formula One already and have a strong affinity for it, we need to attract them, they’ll bring people with them that are special people to them: their family, their clients, whoever that would be, they will help evangelise Formula One to those people, by how special an experience they are having. So that sharing is the best marketing we can do; a great experience that people can share.
How positive do you gauge the reaction to the race and how difficult was it to market?
The reaction we have seen has been overwhelming. And it was more emotional than we expected, there were a lot of people to whom Formula One is very important and sharing with their friends, their kids, their spouse and these people had to travel overseas to have good Formula One experiences. The races that have been in America have either been on street circuits in cities where the temperature was just way too high, like Phoenix or Dallas or in a facility that wasn’t custom made to give the best Grand Prix experience, like Indianapolis, so probably the last really great Grand Prix experience that people had in America was Watkins Glen, and that was a long time ago.
There were a lot of emails and letters that we got from people that were very emotional and were thanking us for creating that experience and allowing them to have that experience in their home country. They were very proud to be a part of it, so that part went very well.
The marketing from out of state and outside the country was made a little bit more difficult by the drama surrounding whether we were going to exist or not, because people tend not to want to make long term plans for the future when there is some sort of risk concerning whether they will be able to even attend that race or whether that race will exist. So we had that as a dampening factor for our first year. That being said, we sold tickets to people in all fifty states, and I think fifty-four countries, on six of the seven continents.