Huge economic impact of Las Vegas GP comes to light with key report published

Thomas Maher
Esteban Ocon, Alpine, 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The full economic impact of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix has been laid bare.

A 113-page report analysing the pros and cons of hosting the Las Vegas GP in the city has been explored by Clark County officials.

Las Vegas hosted its first modern-day Grand Prix last November, with Formula 1 itself becoming the organiser and promoter for the first time as the championship organised its third race held in the United States in one season.

What were the economic highlights of the Las Vegas GP?

Last week, a mammoth report produced by various Clark County agencies was debriefed amongst officials, with the economics of the report put together by Las Vegas firm Applied Analysis.

The report stated that the Las Vegas GP produced the largest global TV audience in Las Vegas history, and made a total economic impact of $884 million.

This includes $77 million in state and local taxes, which is the highest figure ever recorded for a single event in Las Vegas.

Gambling companies and casinos reported allegedly mixed results, with some casinos reporting plenty of footfall of high-end customers, with other casinos reporting the race weekend had scared off regular customers.

However, there were plenty of challenges and obstacles too. The report detailed various government agencies, law enforcement, and public works issues flagged – such as from water boards, the fire departments, and public transportation.

County staff spent over 17 thousand hours working on the Grand Prix, with 89 percent of these costs paid through licenses, fees, and permits.

The most major disruption was the track built, which took nine months in total, including resurfacing county-maintained streets and adding cement firewalls, lights, and track safety features.

This disruption resulted in bus routes needing diversions, affecting up to 25 thousand customers daily, and causing “up to” 60-minute” delays.

Betsy Fretwell: We’re working towards addressing many of issues highlighted

Other issues highlighted in the report included a lack of clarity as to which F1 entity was overseeing what area of organisation, ie. FOM, the FIA, or the LVGP company. The report also highlighted various issues with late permit applications, sudden changes of plans in organsation, and some facilities in infrastructure operating without the correct permits in place.

The report also highlighted that 12 manhole covers are still awaiting upgrades to bring them up to code – this is following the dramatic practice event last year in which one came loose and tore through Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.

Corrosion protection is also highlighted as a necessary task for the manhole rings before this year’s race.

As reported earlier this year, some local business owners near or on the racetrack have complained that construction and detours cost them millions of dollars in lost revenue, and are seeking compensation.

But, with the preparation and disruption for the 2024 event expected to be far less pervasive, especially with the track not needing and resurfacing work, Las Vegas Grand Prix’s chief operating officer Betsy Fretwell said she was fully aware of the challenges that the organisation would be facing ahead of the first event.

“There were no surprises in that report,” Fretwell said.

“We were already working toward addressing many of those issues. We’re becoming more efficient, coordinating better with the county [and] enhancing our communication.

“It was a new event and it was complicated because it was a street circuit,” she said. “We have to make sure all these businesses have openings and closings.”

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