Interest in the Formula 1 schedule from American audiences has surged in the last few years, as the success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive docuseries is bringing F1 and its drivers to a whole new generation of revheads. But with demand comes the inevitable premium price point, and it’s the fans that are left with the bill.
For the first time in Formula 1 history, three races will be held across North America in 2023: Austin, Miami and still to come, Las Vegas, in one of the most highly-anticipated circuits of the year.
It was almost inevitable that Las Vegas would be the chosen site for Formula 1’s third track in the Americas; the famous Sin City, with its glittering neon lights and fast-paced lifestyle, eccentric casinos and dice tables that welcome some of the world’s most affluent players with quicker hands than Lewis Hamilton, each and every day.
It’s a high-rollers playground; the Monaco of the States; the perfect place to put another street circuit in the 2023 season. But opulence comes at a price, and with all sports, it’s the fans that are left to pay.
“I’ve never known so much hype around a sporting event as a race on Saturday night down the Strip in Las Vegas.”Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal
It was revealed that Las Vegas would host a race for the next 10 years, with Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei declaring it “an event of unprecedented complexity and scale. It will be the largest and our argument will be the most premium sporting event of 2023.”
But constructing the most premium sporting event in the world comes at a hefty price tag, with American fans hoping to attend the Las Vegas Grand Prix looking at paying the most expensive ticket for the entire Formula 1 season.
The average cost for the entire race weekend is $7,457 USD (~$11,407 AUD) according to a study conducted by KingCasinoBonus.uk. General Admission tickets start at $500 USD (~$765 AUD), more than 5 times more expensive than the cheapest circuit in Japan.
And it’s not only American fans attending the Las Vegas Grand Prix that will incur the highest charges this year, with Miami and Austin also rounding out the second and third highest average ticket prices respectively.
Why will the Las Vegas Grand Prix demand such a high price?
Interest in the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix is unprecedented, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to descend on the Strip for electrifying racing action come November.
Huge swathes of the famous destination town will be uprooted and built upon, with Liberty Media CFO Brian Wilding revealing the construction of a permanent paddock is 85 per cent complete, with an expected expenditure of $400 million USD (~$612 million AUD).
Iconic landmarks such as the Mirage and Bellagio are building temporary grandstands across the facades of their building and water features to accommodate the influx of Formula 1 fans, and $2 billion stadiums are being built to capitalise on the F1 circus.
The Las Vegas Boulevard will be almost unrecognisable when the travelling Formula convoy comes into town.
Such is the scale of the operation that county laws have had to be changed to allow advertisements to line the temporary street circuit, but guarantees have been made about the staggering projected revenue from the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill revealed, “Our board [had] to certify that Formula 1 will have an economic impact over a quarter of a billion. It will be well past that. It will be over a billion dollars.”
For reference, Formula 1 announced total revenues of $2.573 billion across the entire 2022 calendar year; Las Vegas’ predicted revenue would represent just under half of that.
Las Vegas will be a spectacle like no other, but as more and more passionate fans discover the high-octane drama of one of the world’s greatest sporting events, the price of the product inevitably soars – and it’s clear American fans are the ones paying the price.