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Vegas prepares for autumn roar of Formula One

The Las Vegas Grand Prix is expected to more than double the economic activity of the Super Bowl.

LAS VEGAS (CN) — With the city busy preparing to host the Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium in February 2024, one would expect it will be the biggest event in Las Vegas by far.

But there’s an event planned Nov. 16-18 that will more than double the overall economic impact on Sin City: Formula One’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, expected to exceed $2.2 billion worth of economic activity compared to the Super Bowl’s expected $600 million, according to Jeremy Aguero, principal at Applied Analysis.

“We’re going to make a statement,” said Steve Hill, chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. He called the Las Vegas Strip the “most economically productive” four miles of street in the world. Hill said the two events will be a “spectacle that the world has never seen,” while addressing 2,000 people last week at Preview Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“So what are we doing in the U.S.? With the popularity of the Austin race and the success of Miami, we recognized the opportunities to expand, and Las Vegas (was) top of the list for many, many years,” said Renee Wilm, CEO of Liberty Media Corp, owner of F1.

Liberty acquired F1 from Formula One Group for $4.4 billion in 2017.

“The city now has a proven track record of attracting sports fans from around the world, consistently filling up arenas and stadiums week after week. There was no question in our mind that Las Vegas was the place to bring Formula One,” Wilm said.

The 3.8-mile race will feature 14 turns with race cars topping 210 miles per hour. The race will be F1’s only Saturday race on the calendar, which consists of 23 races this year in more than 20 countries, beginning in Bahrain in early March and closing in Abu Dhabi in late November. 

“It’s going to be an iconic event when the best drivers in the world and the fastest cars race through this incredible location,” said Stefano Domenicali, CEO of F1 and former CEO of Italian sports car manufacturer Lamborghini. “It’s going to be the biggest event of the year. F1 is committed to Las Vegas and we’re all looking forward to having a long future together.”

Formula One will have invested close to $500 million on the 39 acres of land it purchased one block east of the Strip and the paddock it is currently constructing there.

The international racing series, which began in the 1940s, has been bolstered in popularity by the Nexflix series “Drive to Survive.”

In 2022, attendance topped 5.6 million — a 36% increase over 2019, according to Domenicali. The television audience is a cumulative 1.5 billion globally and growing due to the “huge impact of Netflix,” he said.

Formula One has 65 million social media followers and its fan base keeps getting younger, with 40% of fans being female.

“In addition to expanding our presence in the U.S., our goals are fairly simple, not simple to execute but simple to explain: Establish Las Vegas as the home of Formula One in North America," Wilm said, later adding to “deliver the best live experience in the world. I believe there’s no other city that can create the spectacle quite like Las Vegas.”

Putting on the event is no easy task as the course will wrap around the strip. Traffic mitigation will be a battle, but Wilm said F1 is working closely with the police and fire departments.

“We know its going to be a difficult and challenging traffic weekend, but the value we are bringing to the city and the experience we are creating will far outweigh the inconvenience factor,” Wilm said.

Demand for tickets has been overwhelming.

The first wave of tickets up for sale were snapped up by auto race fans quickly. Most of the purchasers were domestic customers, according to Wilm.

“The truth is we sold out so quickly over the first wave, that the European and Asian fans didn’t ever get a chance, due to the time zones, to participate,” Wilm said.

Appetites for the race were whetted when F1 held a free launch party this past fall at Caesar’s Palace. Around 50,000 fans showed up to hear engines roar and rubber burn as drivers did demo runs.

“I am incredibly proud of our amazing team that is working so hard to make this the greatest spectacle in motor sports history, if not sports overall,” said Wilm.

More tickets will be sold in the coming months. For information, go to www.Formula1.com.

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