Las Vegas Grand Prix Course To Get Added Character After Land Purchase

Written By Marc Meltzer on May 11, 2022
Las Vegas F1 Grand Prix Land Buy

Liberty Media Group (Liberty Media) recently purchased 39 acres of land just off the Vegas Strip for $240 million.

The owners of Formula 1 will use the land for the Las Vegas Grand Prix races which will begin in November 2023.

During a recent earnings call, the CEO of Liberty Media, Greg Maffei, said the land on the northeast corner of Koval and Harmon will “be the site of the pit and paddock and some other hospitality.”

While Liberty Media has purchased the land, the sale isn’t official yet.

Maffei said:

“I expect that transaction will close in the second quarter and the purchase price was $240 million, it will be funded by cash on hand at the Formula One Group level.”

Las Vegas Grand Prix Course Coming Together

Las Vegas Grand Prix Map
Las Vegas Grand Prix Map

The Las Vegas Grand Prix course will be 3.8 miles long from start to finish. The 50-lap race will take place at night and feature three straightaways with the Vegas Strip being the glamour location. Cars on the Vegas Strip could reach speeds of more than 200 MPH.

When the cars zoom by the Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood they will turn left onto Harmon Avenue. On a normal day, this would be a less than glamorous drive. This land purchase by Liberty Media should change that.

This purchase changes what would have been a sleepy part of the Las Vegas Grand Prix course. The land on Harmon will now include a hospitality area for fans to watch the action.

Liberty Media could also add some shape to the course since it owns the land.

F1 can add some character to the Las Vegas Grand Prix course. Here’s a Google Earth view of what the course may look like as it runs through the land now owned by Liberty Media.

This part of the course should see plenty of race action as cars use the pit boxes. This would also be where Martin Brundle does his popular grid walk for fans prior to the race for fans watching at home.

Other Las Vegas Grand Prix course highlights include 14 corners, one chicane section and two DRS zones.

Some of the Nevada sports betting apps have odds up for the 2023 race, but given how far out the race is it might make sense to hold out for now.

Preparing The Las Vegas Grand Prix Course

The Las Vegas Grand Prix will be the first F1 race on a road course in Las Vegas. Previous F1 races in the 1980s took place behind Caesars Palace in a parking area. That’s not quite the glamour F1 is looking for today.

Creating an F1 course from scratch is a huge endeavor. Construction for the Las Vegas Grand Prix road course will take some time.

Although both new US F1 courses (Miami and Las Vegas) will mostly be temporary, construction for the Las Vegas F1 race may not take nine months like the brand new Miami International Autodrome in Florida.

Building the Las Vegas Grand Prix course this year could take a little more time than the six or seven weeks it takes to build the Monte Carlo road course.

Construction of the Miami Grand Prix course included 2,870 Geobrugg blocks for barriers and 24,000 tons of asphalt on the ground. Las Vegas could use more of both with the location of the course being on older roadways already in need of repair.

Building a road course like Monte Carlo is quite fascinating. Take a look.

The purchase of land by Liberty Media will allow for some permanent structures that can be used in the future. Building the Las Vegas Grand Prix course will probably take longer in 2023 than future Las Vegas F1 races.

Vegas Strip Roadwork

Many of the other structures needed to create the Las Vegas Grand Prix course will likely follow Monte Carlo’s off-site modular units. This will allow Las Vegas to still operate as a city while the course is under construction and broken down after.

The layout of the Las Vegas Grand Prix course is mostly off the Vegas Strip. This is crucial, as the Vegas Strip is where the majority of tourists stay when visiting Las Vegas.

According to the 2021 Las Vegas Visitors Profile, 75% of travelers stayed at a hotel on the Vegas Strip. This number has been above 70% for the previous four surveys.

The biggest headache will likely be when Clark County decides to resurface the Vegas Strip. Roadwork on and near the Vegas Strip last year proved to be a nightmare for anyone trying to get around.

The construction project that started last year is for more than just resurfacing the roads. Clark County will have to expedite this work so the roads are fresh when the race takes place next November.

Building the Las Vegas Grand Prix course will take some time and expenses will be covered by the state and Liberty Media. Maffei doesn’t see a problem with how much money it will take to build and promote the Las Vegas F1 race:

“I don’t think we’re ready to talk any more about the outlays at Vegas, it will be bigger than a breadbox but manageable. I don’t think we’ll need outside partners.”

The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) recently approved a $19.5 million deal to sponsor the three races that are part of the initial deal. The LVCVA will help Liberty Media with “operational project management” for the races.

Having Las Vegas as part of the race branding is one thing. The sponsorship will allow the city to market itself to F1 fans around the world.

Let’s hope for the best but expect the worst when it comes to constructing the Las Vegas Grand Prix course.

Las Vegas Grand Prix Impact On Tourism

According to Front Office Sports, the Miami Grand Prix drew 242,955 over the three-day event with 85,280 people in attendance for the race.

The recent NFL Draft in Las Vegas saw 300,000 people in attendance over the three-day event. That’s an average of 100,000 people per day.

Clark County is expecting “only” 170,000 visitors over the long weekend of racing. That works out to about 56,000 people per day.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix attendance may not be as large as the NFL Draft or New Year’s Eve but it could spawn record high rates for hotels, clubs and restaurants. F1 fans are typically more affluent than NFL fans. In this case, less is probably more for Las Vegas businesses.

Tickets to watch the Miami Grand Prix last weekend started at $640. Hotel and entertainment packages in Miami were as high as six figures.

This isn’t the crowd looking to slam frozen drinks in a plastic cup that’s a replica of the Eiffel Tower. Many of the F1 fans are looking for luxury experiences like the $3,000 per person Carbone experience in Miami.

Las Vegas Grand Prix sponsors include some of the biggest names in the Las Vegas casino business. Caesars, MGM Resorts, The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas are all race sponsors.

Each of the sponsors will have at least one of their luxury properties in sight somewhere on the racecourse:

  • Bellagio (MGM Resorts)
  • Caesars Palace
  • Cosmopolitan (Soon to be MGM Resorts)
  • Wynn Las Vegas
  • The Venetian (and The Palazzo)

The county is expecting 400,000 hotel room nights to be booked by those visiting Las Vegas for the race.

During Liberty Media’s earnings call Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula One Group, said “in the 24 hours following the official announcement wins Las Vegas and anchor resort, so more requests for hotel room reservation than any other one day period in their history.”

This comment was regarding international excitement for F1 fans looking to stay at Wynn Las Vegas. The luxury property on the Vegas Strip recently took home more Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Awards than any independent hotel company in the world. This is certainly attractive to the wealthy race fans.

Brace yourself for record-high prices for just about everything in Las Vegas when F1 rolls into town.

Photo by Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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