Las Vegas F1 Grand Prix Ticket Prices Fall Amid Preparation Frustrations
The Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix is set to take place this upcoming weekend. But race spectator slots are not sold out, and ticket prices keep falling.
The event, which marks F1’s return to Las Vegas after a 40-year hiatus, has encountered several bumps in the road that have led to this point.
Tickets for the race were among the most expensive standard price sporting event tickets in the world when announced, and that was before reselling. However, last year, some 2,000 of the $500 race tickets did sell out in the first release.
The city has also spent hundreds of millions preparing for race day, alongside F1 themselves. And yet, race officials were confused as of late last week by the potential late night Nevada desert temperatures.
Additionally, preparations for the race have seen massive road closures and disruptions across Sin City, as the F1 drivers will be racing right around the iconic Nevada casinos of the Las Vegas Strip.
However, race officials still expect some 100,000 visitors over the weekend, and potentially up to $1 billion in extra revenue for Nevada retail sportsbooks and casinos.
A Reality Check for F1’s Lavish Plans
When Formula 1 announced the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the ticket prices caused a stir among racing fans with their high price point.
General admission tickets started at $500, with offers for weekend packages ranging from $10,000 to $1 million or more at the giant resort operators.
Now that the race approaches, ticket prices have significantly dropped. According to CNN, grandstand seats that were on sale for $2,000 last year are now available for around $1,060, marking a nearly 50% drop in one year.
Prices have fallen even further in recent weeks, with some seeing a 35% drop in just one month before the race.
This price drop reflects a tempered excitement for the event and a realignment of expectations after controversies around preparations and grandstand views.
The race preparation has also been marred by the threat of strike action by workers at the city’s three biggest casino resort operators, MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts.
Up to 60,000 workers were set to walk out on Friday before last-minute agreements were reached with MGM and Wynn. Caesars agreed on an improved deal for workers earlier in the week.
The race itself will still no doubt be exciting for F1 fans. However, the already confirmed (and absolutely crushing) victory of Max Verstappen in this year’s driver’s championship means proceedings on that front are already wrapped up, giving neutral bettors not a lot to get interested in.
At offshore sportsbook BetUS, Verstappen is currently by far the overwhelming favorite at -425 on the moneyline. That’s compared to closest competitor American Lando Norris at +800.
Construction Challenges and Local Discontent
The Las Vegas Grand Prix is expected to cost Formula One and the city of Las Vegas around $500 million in total. That includes a $480 million race team paddock and luxury hospitality suites,
This massive undertaking has caused disruptions for residents and tourists alike. Iconic attractions like the Mirage Volcano and the Bellagio fountains have been temporarily closed, and construction has led to traffic disruptions and changes to the cityscape.
The incredibly busy Harry Reid International Airport has also had to add extra private jet parking spaces for well-heeled international attendees.
These changes have sparked frustration among locals and tourists, with picketing workers from the three major casino resorts also adding to the general atmosphere of tension.
To add another negative factor to the mix, it has been reported that F1 race planners did not initially consider the cold nighttime temperatures in the Nevada desert in November.
The race itself kicks off at 10 p.m. to accommodate European viewers. This means the expected temperature will be around 35 to 39 degrees, which is not ideal for F1 cars. Ross Brawn, a former managing director of F1’s Motorsports, admitted that the cold weather was initially overlooked.
“It can be really quite cold, and of course, getting the cars to work in those temperatures can be a challenge,” he said, speaking last week.
However, race teams have now made adjustments for the temperatures.
Despite the current challenges, the Las Vegas Grand Prix is still projected to have a significant economic impact. Formula 1’s owner, Liberty Media, expects the event to generate nearly $1.3 billion in economic activity.
This figure is more than double the projected impact of next year’s Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Hotel rates for the race weekend have also seen fluctuations. Some prices have cooled off from their initial spike, while other operators have continued to plug their multimillion luxury race weekend packages.