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Las Vegas Hosts Formula 1 as Only Vegas Can

Photo of a Formula 1 race car

LAS VEGAS — Elvis-themed race gear. New Year’s Eve-caliber fireworks. A chapel wedding for an F1 champion. It was expected that Las Vegas would do its first-ever Formula 1 as only Vegas can, and fans were not disappointed.

Where else would first-place champion Max Verstappen don an Elvis-inspired fire suit, only to be trumped by F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve getting married in one of the city’s famous wedding chapels? The stars were out too, with Justin Bieber waving the checkered flag and Brad Pitt, Rihanna and Shaquille O’Neal spotted in the VIP section, among others.

A whopping 315,000 spectators are estimated to have attended, with qualifying laps and various events followed by the race and a massive fireworks show on Nov. 18.

Hotel executives reported 100% occupancy on a week that’s traditionally one of the slowest of the year. The visitor profile of the typical F1 attendee is a fit for the city’s more upscale properties, such as Caesars Palace, MGM Resorts’ Bellagio and the Wynn hotels.

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The economic impact to the city has already been estimated at $1.2 billion, but the final numbers will not be revealed until the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s (LVCVA) November report is released in late December, which will include visitor volume, hotel occupancy rates and the average daily room rate paid by F1 visitors.

“The upside of this I thought was clear from the beginning, and that’s what we experienced over the last number of days,” LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “It’s a record weekend for Las Vegas from an economic standpoint. It’s going to generate a lot of tax revenue, and properties around the circuit did exceptionally well.”

Formula 1 is the world’s most popular annual sporting series, and the world’s most prestigious motor racing competition. The 2023 series runs from March through November in 20 different countries. F1 owner Liberty Media far exceeded its planned budget of $500 million for the first-ever Las Vegas race, and signed a three-year contract, then agreed at the start of 2023 to support the race for 10 years, according to various news reports.

Reach Steve Hill at (702) 892-0711

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