OPINION: An open letter to the people of Newcastle from Supercars CEO James Warburton

MEDIA SWITCH: Supercars boss James Warburton
MEDIA SWITCH: Supercars boss James Warburton

Newcastle, you absolutely blew us away. On behalf of Supercars, our teams, drivers, staff and the thousands of people who flocked to the City last weekend, thank you.

The Coates Hire Newcastle 500 was the biggest and best first event in our history. This could not have been achieved without the overwhelming support of the community.

Thousands of people came to Newcastle for the first time. They loved it. Hotels and restaurants are already reporting strong bookings for next year. Newcastle, you certainly made a big first impression.

We knew the event was going to be big back in April when we packed Foreshore Park for the community day. What we may not have fully understood was just how strong the community support is.

To see the people pour in on Friday morning in their thousands was incredible. It was not only the huge numbers that was noticeable, it was the smiles, the laughter and the buzz around the track.

Our drivers noticed it, our teams noticed it and we noticed it. The most commonly used phrase over the weekend amongst the Supercars fraternity was ‘how good is this’. The atmosphere was electric. The people were happy, patient and courteous. Well done Newcastle, you did your City proud.

We are so proud you allowed us to deliver this event on behalf of the City of Newcastle and New South Wales. You welcomed us with open arms and we simply cannot thank you enough.

We were also very privileged to shine a huge spotlight on Newcastle – and it looked amazing. The city, the beaches and the harbour made for some of the most spectacular pictures we have ever produced.

And not only did 192,000 people head through the gates the national and international audiences were massive. The live coverage on FOX SPORTS and TEN was watched by an average of 1.2 million people and a peak audience of 1.8 million people.

The spectacular pictures of Newcastle were broadcast into 95 countries and some 298 million homes.

The Supercars website recorded 1.2 million website visits, 39 million Facebook impressions, 1.6 million Twitter impressions. 1.7 million app opens and 33 million video views. There were 32,000 media reports on the event reaching with an audience of 95 million people.

The event had more social media interactions than the Ashes Test in Brisbane. Many of these millions of engagements were people from across Australia and around the world seeing Newcastle for the very first time.

It was incredibly pleasing to see so many residents filling their balconies, lining the streets and enjoying the event. The feedback we have received in the days since has been incredible.

Read more about the Newcastle 500:

Any major event of this sizes will bring with it disruption. We particularly thank the residents and businesses of the East End for hosting us and for your patience in what was a difficult time for some.

Our team worked around the clock to minimise the inconvenience as best we could, particularly during the civil and capital works program which, as the infrastructure comes down, will now be enjoyed by the entire community.

With the major works program complete the disruption will be significantly less in future years. With DNSW and Newcastle Council we will debrief in the coming months on how we can do it bigger and better.

This event course would also not have been possible without the support of the New South Wales Government through the lead government agency for tourism and major events Destination New South Wales and the Newcastle City Council who shared the vision and made it happen.

Thank you, Newcastle, you are amazing. Bring on 2018, we can’t wait.

James Warburton, on behalf of the Supercars family.