Vegas bosses call F1 owners “gangsters”

Las Vegas bosses were delighted when Formula One decided to host a race down the famous Nevada “strip”. When the business community in the gambling capital of the free world learned the projected overall economic impact of the inaugural race in ‘sin city’ was $1.3bn, all objections to the chaos setting up the event would cause were quietened.

A similar economic impact study was conducted by Applied Analysis for the Super Bowl taking place in February 2024 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. That report showed that the NFL’s championship game and events tied to it would leave an economic impact of just half that of Formula One in the region of $600 million.



Mega profits expected for F1

Formula One’s owners are banking the returns from their Vegas races will deliver profits which dwarf that of any other event on the calendar. Liberty Media’s investment already tops $500m into its Vegas operations, a large chunk of which was spent on a permanent paddock building that will provide key race functions and host year-round events.

A 39-acre plot of land for the paddock last year for $240 million and the finalised structure with offer the wealthiest of race goers hospitality like not seen before in Formula One. The views of the pit lane garages and the starting grid have sold for more than the average American earns in an entire year.

Liberty media upset their hosts last year when after the contracts were signed with the Las Vegas authorities they later demanded a $40m contribution for the $80m infrastructure upgrades that were required.

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Not an F1 event for the average folk


Formula One in Vegas is not for the average Joe and Jane given average ticket prices are around $6,600 each for the three day ticket. This is over 50% more than the $4,500 its costs to attend F1’s other all new American venue.

No wonder Formula One is loving America.

Unlike the venue in Miami which is self contained, the circuit in Vegas will see the cars hurtling down ‘the strip’ at speeds topping 200 mph passing, The Mirage, Caesars Palace, Drai’s Beachclub, the Bellagio and Cosmopolitan.

The the course takes the racers along Sands Avenue past Planet Hollywood and around the newly built Las Vegas Sphere and Wynn Resorts.

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Fans refuse to pay F1 premium

Many of the hotels and Vegas hot spots have officially partnered with Formula One and the race promoters have paid the owners of Madison Square Garden’s soon to be opened Sphere Arena nearly $10 million to empty its parking lot so they can erect spectator stands.

Beer Park which owns a 9000 square foot terrace and almost 100 huge HGTV’s around its venue is an official partner with F1 paying a licensing fee. However this as escalated the price charged by a usually affordable venue to $5,500 for three days access to its space.

One fan posted on twitter, “$8,000 per person for Heineken House?” Which has a multi tier structure and well known DJ’s appearing throughout the weekend.

“As a true F1 fan, very disappointing that nothing at the Las Vegas Grand Prix is affordable — but there are tickets available. Guess I will stick with general admission passes for Austin and Miami.”

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F1 partners exempt from additional guest fees

Despite the huge marketing of F1’s arrival in Vegas for the penultimate race of the year, the tickets have not sold. They have been released in limited time only tranches a method used by promoters to create a feel for exclusivity and a shortage of supply.

Hotels like the Venetian and Wynn who have partnered with Formula One are believed to be paying between $2 million and $10 million each and are official race sponsors claims the New York Post. They in turn will not be charged an incremental fee for each resident during the 3 day weekend event.

Now Formula One is trying to shakedown independent Vegas hotspots for money because their businesses happen to be along the route of the newest F1 race in America.

“How dare you have a business for years besides our shiny new track,” one TJ13 commentator quipped.

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Planet Hollywood fees demanded

The fee now being demanded of the likes of Planet Hollywood and Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer is $1,500 per head for th maximum capacity their venues hold.

Regardless of how many guests attend a venue with 1200 seats would be charged a whopping $1,8m and if the venues refuse to pay up, Liberty Media have threatened them with erecting ‘obstructions’ outside to ruin the view of the track according to The Post.

“There is a real chance of obstructing views with stands and barricades,” one source of The Post claimed who is close to the situation

“I know the hotels are upset about it and they are trying to figure out if they’ll play along.”

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F1 acting like “mobster Bugsy Seigel”

The source claims to have seen a letter sent to the venues with a subtle threat, “worthy of Vegas pioneer and infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel.”

“Las Vegas Grand Prix will use reasonable efforts to maintain sightedness from licensee’s venue to the track/race,” is the alleged wording.

The Post also claims “salespeople working for Renee Wilm, the Las Vegas Grand Prix CEO and Liberty Media’s chief legal officer, have even threatened that lights will be shined toward the viewing areas of unlicensed venues, blinding guests trying to get a peek at the nighttime race.”

One Vegas executive alleges his venue flatly refused to cough up the $1,500 a head demanded by F1. The response apparently has been for F1 to pressurise the Las Vegas Grand Prix official sponsors to get that venue to cough up the cash in any way they can.

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3 months of F1 construction disruption 

“They are literally shaking people down saying they will obstruct views unless they pay them,” one irate Casino boss told The Post

“It seems insane that they are asking money for a public event that is taking place in the streets.” 

Another executive is reported to have stated, “There is a certain line they are crossing [by] telling someone who has spent billions on their property that you are shutting the Strip down for construction and then asking them to pay for seats.”

Of course as with Monaco and other street circuits it takes several weeks of disruption to erect the structures necessary for a Formula One race. Monaco is believed to spend a total of 12 weeks a year in preparation and tear down for their Formula One event.

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Vegas F1 race profits 10 times other events

The businesses of Vegas will suffer a similar inconvenience for the guests particularly during the start of the massive USA “holiday season.”

Formula One are doing nothing illegal given they have been awarded the rights to the race. Further it would be hard for a venue to prove damages were for example lights to ruin the view of the strip.

An estimated 300,000 fans will attend the inaugural event in Las Vegas. Yet there must be concern amongst F1 executives that unlike in Miami where the tickets sold out in 31 minutes, there are still plenty for sale at present. The current average ticket price, accommodation and flights is likely to cost a couple a punitive $15,000.

Yet F1 are looking to raise around ten times the amount for F1 over the amount paid by Silverstone who had a record attendance of 480,000 spectators at the 2023 British Grand Prix.

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16 responses to “Vegas bosses call F1 owners “gangsters”

  1. Does not suprise tbh, sad thing is people will pay it which in turn says its ok. On the other hand if people do not attend and do not pay it then they will look at it.
    Businesses although they will inflate costs like all venues should not have to pay for a street event on public streets, but i can only assume this happens in other street locations and this report has missed the oportunity at this time to open the can of worms.

    But to be honest 3 USA grand prix is too much.

  2. It’s an absolute farce the Las Vegas F1, I am a diehard F1 fan and have been watching or attending the races for the last 40 years, but I will never or never pay that amount of money this is just a robbery. At the end of the day watching from my sofa at home with a cool drink and good food is more enjoyable to watch the races.

      • There is always a cap in what ppl will pay and I think this event is pushing that threshold hard. I drew line on this one. Maybe lower some of the salaries on these executives, drivers and team managers for start. It’s insanity. But the billionaires will keep it alive but the average fan, will most likely enjoy it from their living room. I’m fine with that.

  3. I hate it but it’s the way of the world these days. It’s only all about the money. With everything all about the money, the sport that used to be F1 is going down the drain. I haven’t completely given up hope yet, but I can see the day coming when I quit watching and following F1. This is coming from a guy who remembers watching the Monaco GP when they were still using hay bales as barriers! It’s pretty sad. I’m right there with you, Machang. Besides the comfort of home you get to see a lot more racing on television. Maybe I’ll start spending my time with SCCA and ICSCC club racing which is still a lot more like the good old days of motor racing. Who knows, I might even hook up with some old racing buddies and end up crewing for someone since my driving days are over. I think I could still handle camping out at the track though. Fun days long ago! Not so much anymore.

  4. Just came back from Las Vegas , had first hand look at all the construction going on there. Traffic is nuts around the strip. F1 shaking down Las Vegas hotels is unreal. How are people that are situated at hotels within the race course supposed to get out? Not sure the investment in F1 is worth the trouble

  5. I was beyond excited to go to the race in Vegas. Then I saw ticket prices and hotel prices. Nope.

  6. Why would I pay $8000 to attend a race in Las Vegas, when the current teams don’t want a competitive American team. Most American fans need to have a team they can cheer for. What are the current teams afraid of?
    I lived in Indianapolis when F1 was running at the Speedway. The Hulman family dropped the race because attendance was down and F1 was demanding higher sanctioning fees..

  7. I was part of several tries for the early, limited access ticket sales. The least expensive 3-day grandstand seats were on-offer at $2,000 and $2,500. That way exceeded the $1,200 I paid for Miami grandstand seats in 2022. I decided to try for the $500 general admission tickets but they were sold out. I had booked a suit at the Marriott property on the race circuit and might have had a view from there but no guarantee. So I canceled out and will watch on TV from home.

  8. My concern is how will the hotel/casinos workers get to work on time …with all the traffic it’s going to create? The traffic is bad now and the strip is not completely closed off and it’s taking 30 minutes from the Bellagio to the Palazzo. During formula 1 the strip and even the back roads will be completely closed off so how are these employees going to get to work on time?

    • I think it’s outrageous that employees have their commutes extended by over an hour because of race construction. What’s our time worth as we waste it sitting in traffic for an event that now wants to.extort the businesses we work for.
      What happens when people decide to come to Vegas for this event and spend what they have normally budgeted for 4 trips a year. Does our business suffer as well as our income.
      It’s such a money grab. The greed is outrageous considering they are a guest of our city

  9. That’s why I’m not buying them. We will travel to Europe for a race before I’ll pay that much to watch it in Vegas. They’ve lost their minds.

  10. Completely out of control! Shame on F1 and I wish Vegas residents and businesses would just put their foot down! Vegas doesn’t need this event and would be better off without it! F1 is not cool, it’s sold its soul out. I grew up going camping out at races here in SoCal and saw F1 at Long Beach, those were the days! Watching Vegas at home is my protest to F1 and my way of respecting Vegas locals!

  11. Another consideration is that there are no support races. So you will be getting about 6 hours of on-track activity. Over three days. I had planned to work the race as a marshal. (I’ve worked F1 all over the world.) The requirement is for us to commit to FOUR days and we will be on track for 6+ hours a day. No thanks.

  12. I’m sure Liberty dba F1/FOM & FIA have familiarized themselves with uniquely American Anti-Trust & RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). If not, I’m sure locals will get the the F.B.I & the U.S. Attorney’s office to help familiarize them with it.

  13. I too have been following f1 for over 40 years and hate to see it going down the tubes like this. It is becoming less and less of a sport every year. The more I see what f1 and Liberty Media are doing, the more I hope that the Vegas race is a total and complete flop regarding ticket sales and f1 and Liberty take it in the shorts. There is no need for a third US grand prix anyway. F1 and Liberty need to work on making it affordable for France, Germany, and South Africa to host f1 races. A forlorn hope I’m sure. Not enough money on the table in those countries. Instead it looks like we might have more races in the middle east where the governments chop off people’s heads, and one in China where the government wants to take over the world. If CART wasn’t a spec car series I’d dump f1 and start watching more of CART. I guess I’ll go back to club racing where folks are there because they love racing and aren’t into admiring and being admired by all the other wealthy bobble heads and celebrities that don’t understand jack about racing.

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