Formula One, one of the world’s most glamorous motorsports, has announced it will add a third North American race to the 2023 calendar. The announcement of a third race, a Saturday night event down the Las Vegas Strip, comes after months of negotiation between organizers and F1 officials.
The announcement, which stated F1’s American parent company, Liberty Media Corp, will promote the Las Vegas Grand Prix, is scheduled for November 2023. The event, which is expected to draw record crowds to the Strip, will feature 50 laps around a 3.8 mile circuit that will pass Vegas landmarks like Caesars Palace, Bellagio, and the new MSG Sphere.
This will be the first Formula One race promoted by Liberty since taking over as F1 rights holder. After taking over, they set their sights on increasing F1’s presence in the U.S. To date, those efforts have focused on increasing viewership through their broadcasting agreement with ESPN. The broadcaster, a popular American sports network, stated last weeks Saudi Arabia GP broke a 5-year viewership record.
Fuelled by the Netflix series “Drive To Survive”, which the cable network dropped this month, took a behind the scenes look at Formula One. It debuted in the No.1 spot in 33 countries when it was released. The docuseries followed the lives of F1 drivers like Max Verstappen, Daniel Riccardo, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.
President and CEO of Liberty Media, Greg Maffei commented on the announcement while speaking with The Associated Press stating,
“It’s our home market, so that makes it more interesting, and obviously it’s the largest economy in the world, the largest disposable income. It’s an opportunity that had not been pursued historically and it’s where we think a lot of our growth can come.”
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However, unlike many of the races in the Formula One calendar, F1 and Liberty will jointly promote the Las Vegas Grand Prix race versus the host country. The two have agreed to a three-year deal that will keep Formula One in Vegas, although should the success of the race expectations meet, the two will likely agree to an extension.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix will join the Texas Grand Prix held at the Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas, and in May, the series will make its debut in Florida for the Miami Grand Prix. While it took some time for American fans to come around, the Texas GP now welcomes over 300,000 fans over the three-day weekend.
The interest by Formula One to add another North American race was in part due to the inaugural Miami GP selling out in a day. With the Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas, already sold out, F1 was confident the market would show interest in the third U.S race. Considering no other country has more than two races, the confidence speaks volumes of F1’s impression of the U.S market.
“We know how to run this business and we know how to add the right element to make the right valuation,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, We do believe, without being arrogant, that Formula One will be something that the American fans will love to be involved even more. We do believe this is a very important market in developing the love of our sport.”
The rumour mills about a third race in Vegas has been circulating for more than a year was finally confirmed in a lavish announcement on Wednesday last week atop The Cosmopolitan Hotel by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. The event, which is expected to add a half a billion dollars to the Las Vegas economy, is expected to draw over 170,000 visitors to the city and account for over 400,000 nights of hotel room bookings.
“What happens in Las Vegas only happens in Las Vegas,” said Sisolak, adding that Las Vegas is “the entertainment and sports capital of the world. Nobody puts on a party like Las Vegas and I predict that this will be the iconic race, the flagship race, of F1 within a couple of years.”
F1 and Liberty also announced that they will partner with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Live Nation Entertainment. The announcement also stated that the event’s founding partners, Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Resorts International, and Caesars Entertainment, would be joined by The Venetian Resort, Resorts World Las Vegas, and MSG Sphere as presenting sponsors.
While no firm date was given for the race, it is anticipated that it will be held the first Saturday after the U.S Thanksgiving Weekend in November. The layout of the Vegas circuit will feature a single chicane section, high-speed cornering sequence, 14 corners, and three main straights.
COTA President Bobby Epstein told The Associated Press he doesn’t anticipate the upcoming Vegas race will dampen the number of spectators for next year’s race in October.
“There’s plenty to sustain this sport. What I like about what F1 is doing and what I think the fans will realize, is that each event is very different from the other and will be very unique. I’m excited to go to Vegas, not just for F1, but because the city has so much more entertainment, outside and away from whatever the track will be. If I’m already a regular Vegas visitor, it will be more a question of am I choosing to go to F1 this year and not March Madness or a heavyweight fight?”