Las Vegas eager to jump on the lucrative F1 bandwagon

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Most Formula 1 circuits are asphalt.

But those who worked to bring the World Motor Racing Series back to Las Vegas also think they are edged in gold.

“I am laser focused on the Las Vegas economy, and we know the impact this Formula 1 race will have on our economy will be significant,” Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said during the announcement. Wednesday night at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. confirming that an F1 night race will take place on a temporary 3.8-mile street circuit encompassing the Strip in November 2023.

This belief also prompted private investors to spend more than $400 million to build the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas in 2010.

Until a race at a temporary circuit in Miami is added to this year’s schedule, the 3.4-mile, 20-turn course carved into 375 acres of undeveloped land about 20 miles southeast of the capital of Texas had served as the only F1 grand prix in the United States since 2012.

According to COTA’s website, its October F1 race and accompanying events have generated a cumulative economic impact exceeding $5 billion since the facility’s inauguration in 2010. A record crowd estimated at 400,000 attended the 2021 three-day F1 weekend in Texas.

The series’ ratings are equally impressive. More than 520 million people in nearly 200 countries tune in to F1 over the course of a season, with several races surpassing 100 million viewers, comparable to this year’s Super Bowl.

Buoyed by the success of an F1-based Netflix reality show titled “Drive to Survive”, the series is gaining popularity among domestic racing fans, especially those who identify with a younger demographic.

“I know what I’m about to say sounds wrong, but a handful of very notable NFL executives/general managers/coaches asked me this week to explain F1 at the owners’ meeting because they want in, their kids are in, or they just want to know how it got so big,” Kevin Clark, a former Wall Street Journal writer who covers the NFL for The Ringer website, wrote on Wednesday. Twitter.

One hell of a deal

Usually, to make money on an F1 race, you have to spend money first.

A lot of money.

Fees for hosting an F1 race can be as high as $40 million. (COTA in Texas pays $25 million a year for its race.) Building a street circuit to F1’s high standards – then quickly tearing it down – is an even bigger expense.

But with F1 and Liberty Media, its US-based ownership group, taking on the role of Las Vegas race promoter in partnership with Live Nation Entertainment and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the city will not be responsible. most of these costs.

As a local tourism official told the Review-Journal, it’s a fantastic deal for the city given the prohibitive costs typically associated with securing an F1 race.

No matter who foots the bill, converting the city streets on an iconic thoroughfare into a world-class racing facility will be a major undertaking. But as Road and Track magazine’s Lucas Bell wrote on Wednesday of the prospect of a Saturday night show with the bright lights of the Strip as a backdrop: “The crowd experience at a Las Vegas should be worth the price of admission. You know it’s gonna be wild.

Contact Ron Kantowski at [email protected] or 702-383-0352. To follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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