The Las Vegas Grand Prix is the flagship project of the Formula 1 rights holders. The billion dollar event has to work – despite all the hassle during the preparation.
Before the glamor premiere of their prestigious project in Las Vegas, the Formula 1 management apologized to their annoyed neighbors.
“I would like to apologize to all residents of Las Vegas. We appreciate your forbearance and willingness to tolerate us,” said the CEO of rights holder Liberty Media, Greg Maffei, before the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Sunday (7 a.m CET/Sky).
The return to the City of Sin after two flops in 1981 and 1982, when driving in the parking lot behind the Caesars Palace Hotel, is supposed to be “perhaps the greatest show on earth” this time, according to the media company’s wishes. After all, in the USA people think big, and that requires superlatives. In the case of Formula 1, however, there also needs to be hope for leniency.
More than a billion euros for the local economy
“We will bring about 1.7 billion dollars (the equivalent of around 1.6 billion euros) in revenue to the region. So it’s not just about the benefit for the fans who want to watch it. We hope that this will be a big economic one Advantage for Las Vegas,” Maffei appealed for understanding in view of the confusion in the preparation of the race. “We hope that this has been the most difficult year with all the construction work and that things will be easier in the future.”
Last year, the Formula 1 rights holder bought an area about 22 football fields in size behind the legendary strip, Las Vegas Boulevard, which is lined with famous hotel complexes, for around 224 million euros. The pit area was built there and the start-finish straight is also there.
Liberty Media is serious about the booming US market
The Formula 1 project costs a total of around 460 million euros. This investment and a commitment until 2032 show that Liberty Media is serious about the booming US market. After Austin (Texas) and Miami (Florida), the Grand Prix in the entertainment metropolis is expected to cause Formula 1 sales to skyrocket.
The project, however, made residents angry. The area had to be resurfaced for Lewis Hamilton & Co., and excavators rolled over the main and secondary arteries of downtown Las Vegas. The result was permanent diversions that caused traffic jams and anger among residents.
Commuters are angry about permanent construction sites
“It’s a nightmare to drive to work,” the TV station “Channel 8” quoted one of the countless restaurant employees who commute to work. “We encountered some challenges as we exposed asphalt and cables underground that needed to be removed. There were also overhead power lines that needed to be relocated,” tried Grand Prix chief organizer Renee Wilm, who is actually in the legal department of Liberty Media chairs to explain the chaos.
Their personalities alone make it clear: nothing is left to chance when the rights holder acts as an organizer for the first time in his prestigious project, which, according to more objective estimates, is expected to pump around 1.2 billion euros into the local economy. The traffic has to suffer as a result.
Course becomes an island
“You have to keep in mind that you are basically paralyzing a city that is in operation around the clock,” said Wilm in an interview with the German Press Agency, describing the traffic restrictions that were in place during the Formula 1 sessions legendary strip will reign. Finally, close three miles of public roads and create an island that visitors can access via temporary bridges.
Formula 1 was lucky that a strike was just averted before the penultimate race of the year. The chefs and bartenders’ unions had called for a strike in the fight for more money and better working conditions. An agreement was reached a few hours before the strike deadline. “We are here to be a good partner to everyone,” assured Wilm before the huge marketing party in the Nevada desert.
“Formula 1 is, frankly, a nightmare for me”
However, good will is not enough for the security authorities. Las Vegas Police Department Sheriff Kevin McMahill has significant safety concerns. “Formula 1 is, frankly, a nightmare for me. We’ve never had to deal with this type of event before,” he said during a public discussion in July.
“These are the richest people in the world for the richest sport. They come from all over the place and we don’t even have enough space at any of our airports for all the private jets.” McMahill’s words sounded like fear of invasion.
Las Vegas wants to get away from its sinful image
The security precautions have long since been increased. The local police said they were planning the Formula 1 weekend like a New Year’s celebration. Of course, the rights holders of the premier motorsport class want a rush for the expensive tickets – but not only them.
Ultimately, Las Vegas wants to move away from the image of the city of sin and towards the image of the city of sports. And of course the PR images are supposed to help when the cars race past the fountains of the luxury hotel Bellagio and not push through a backyard parking lot like they did more than 40 years ago.
I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.