This paper engages with a complex market associated with the provision of world class sports venues, focusing on Formula 1 (F1).

Driven by the internationalization of the globe, new F1 venues can be of strategic importance well beyond sport and cost anything up to $40 billion, thus making them extremely attractive projects to certain firms. There is however currently a dearth of research in understanding this market, together with key stakeholders and their roles. The research draws on mixed methods, initially mapping the stakeholders associated with F1 projects since 2001. This is bolstered by interviews with representatives from AEC firms servicing the market for F1 venues, Directors of F1 venues and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. Focus is given to two AEC firms and the different ways they penetrated the market.

Findings argue that this is a niche market, and that entering the niche market requires support from the institutional forces shaping the market.  It is argued that this niche market is very inward looking, with stakeholders being overly embedded which is potentially having a negative impact upon innovation. While the research is ongoing, focusing now on one F1 venue, recommendations point toward a need to better understand these complex clients through the relevant social groups that form around key interests, whilst also looking at methods to push back against the institutional forces that have created this situation.

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