Casinos Are Very Happy With the Las Vegas Grand Prix
Before Saturday's Formula 1 race in Las Vegas, the new event was saddled with news of ticket prices trending downward, , and even a lawsuit. Then the race itself followed, and it was one of the best of the season. That good news matters to racing fans, but the bigger news for business stakeholders in and around Formula 1 is that casinos and hotels around the city were more than satisfied with the event's early financial returns.
That word comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which claims that "Southern Nevada appears to have had the best week financially in its history." Even as hotel prices plummeted as the race approached, representatives from companies that own major resorts claim that they saw high occupancy and high rates in their hotels throughout the race weekend. Since the event is ultimately aimed at bringing high-end customers into the city for the weekend, those windfalls are arguably more important to the race's continued success than ticket sales.
Add in a claimed weekend attendance (in other words, total individual day tickets sold rather than total paying customers in town for the race) of 315,000 and the event looks satisfying for all parties. Whether or not it generated the projected billion-dollar revenue windfall the city projected is another story, one that will only come out as hotel occupancy rates and gambling earnings are reported over the coming months. Those numbers will then be set for a financial showdown with the Super Bowl, in town this February and, somehow, projected to produce less revenue within the city than the grand prix.
Race organizers and major businesses throughout the city are just two of the three biggest stakeholders in the event, though. Preparation for the race was a significant disruption for Las Vegas locals throughout the year, workers on the Strip had concerns about whether F1 guests would tip before the event even began, and the most affordable way for locals to see the cars on track was a single-day ticket for Thursday's disastrous night of practice running. If organizers want this to become a sustainable event, they will need to find a way to bring the people who live in the city it shuts down on board next year.
Formula 1's contract to run the Las Vegas Grand Prix is , but the race came with an informal ten-year commitment. With the race itself a success and the financial results good enough for casinos to walk away happy, the story of Formula 1's return to Las Vegas is only just beginning.