Circuit of the Americas chair Bobby Epstein wasn't willing to give up specific attendance numbers for the Austin track's United States Grand Prix over the weekend, but he still assured Austonia that the race was "the biggest sporting event in the world this year."
The weekend's broadcast reported the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees, smashing a previous record held by the British Grand Prix for the most racegoers in Formula 1 history. Around 140,000 looked on as 24-year-old rising star Max Verstappen beat seven-time champ Lewis Hamilton by just over a second on Sunday.
While the star-studded, hard-fought Sunday race may be a blow for NASCAR, which normally reigns king in U.S. territory, the USGP signifies a new age of national interest in Formula 1.
"We had several hundred thousand people over the course of 3 days, the biggest single-day and biggest overall event for us," Epstein told Austonia via email. "It has turned into the largest annual event in Texas and one (of) the largest in the U.S. Much bigger than the Super Bowl."
Welcome back everyone! 🙌
It was fantastic to see over 400,000 fans join us across the weekend for some brilliant racing 🎉
We're blown away by the support, and we hope you all enjoyed the show 🤘#USGP 🇺🇸 #F1pic.twitter.com/wqlBetMYQX
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 25, 2021
Those high television ratings are aided, in part, by television itself: even with nearly two years without F1 motors rumbling on the COTA track, the sport soared in popularity as Netflix documentary "Drive To Survive" gained traction in the States. The show, which gives viewers a sneak peek of driver's lives behind the helmets and hurrah, became a "pandemic passion" for many, including F1 fan Tracy Fives.
With stars like Shaquille O'Neal standing at the Grand Prix podium (and serving up beats as DJ Diesel for the postrace party) and celebs including Chris Bosh, Megan Thee Stallion and Ben Stiller in the audience, it's no surprise that the high-end event has caught the awe of new American fans. Pair that with a neck-and-neck rivalry between Verstappen and Hamilton and entertainment-filled bonanzas, and fans who may have never watched racing before are quickly getting hooked.
A spectacle of speed and sound. #USGPpic.twitter.com/l1fy7UZ7Ac
— Circuit of The Americas (@COTA) October 25, 2021
And those 36 million stateside supporters will soon be rewarded: a new Miami track, complete with yacht-side race viewing, will be christened with the Miami Grand Prix come 2022.
Formula 1, a European-born race that has seen intermittent success in the U.S., now recognizes the States as its fastest-growing market—it's even looking into adding an American driver in the next few years.
What will this mean for COTA? America's first purpose-built F1 track was built before the hype, and it's had plenty of ups and downs since its opening in 2013.
Most recently, Epstein and crew caught steam for not reaching a deal yet on another 10-year-contract after the first contract expired this weekend. A yearly $25 million stipend from the state requires that the USGP be the only race in the U.S. in order to receive their check, and another state report found inconclusive evidence on whether the race is as financially beneficial to the area as Epstein claims.
After a tough 2020 in the pandemic, Epstein knew he needed to create a world spectacle—and he delivered. With record-breaking ticket sales and a successful weekend behind him, Epstein told ESPN he would be "surprised and disappointed" if the track didn't secure another deal.
"We've proven this is an event that now has tradition, is something you can't buy, and it takes years to establish," Epstein told the New York Times just before race day. "When you find a formula that works, you don't want to lose that. Anything that would stop the momentum of that would be potentially irreversibly detrimental. Given that we start with that as a point of agreement, I'm fairly optimistic this will continue for a long time."
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
Right now, you can get the fourth night FREE when you book three nights with the promo code BONUS! Check out the Offers page for full details and more promo codes!