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  • kenpasternak

Lots of work ahead for the Las Vegas Grand Prix

I recently visited Las Vegas and did an informal survey asking a few business executives, drivers, and service personnel, about the upcoming Formula 1 race in November.

- All are aware that the Las Vegas GP is happening, but very few know what Formula 1 is, or how it compares to other motor sports. This tracks with the audience of 250 people attending my “Business Lessons from F1” keynote in Salt Lake City a few days earlier. I asked the audience who were fans, or even aware of F1, only about 20% of the people raised their hands. To be fair, this is twice the percentage from when I asked US audiences the same question 5 and 10 years ago.

- Even with the success of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” in the US market, very few in SLC and in my Las Vegas sample had seen it.

- Attending the Las Vegas GP will be very expensive. I was told that hotel rooms facing The Strip along which the cars will race, are going for $10,000-12,000 PER NIGHT. Not to mention Caesars Entertainment five-night VIP package for $5 million.

- The taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers are concerned for how their work will be affected when The Strip is closed for 3 days of racing, in addition to the days needed before to erect and after to dismantle grandstands, safety barriers, and new overpasses.

- The scope of construction to be done, including the permanent building that F1 is erecting, is huge. F1 is investing at least $250 million. Many in my sample wondered how all the preparations can be completed in just 9 months. F1 CEO. Stefano Domenicali visited Las Vegas a week before I was there and said that work will continue up to the last minute. I can now see why he said that.

Despite the above challenges, this night race will be a magical spectacle. F1 has a three-year deal with Las Vegas and last week a local commission voted to consider extending that to 10 years.

As with other large cities that have staged major sporting events, Las Vegas and Liberty Media will pull it off; but the people working behind the scenes will certainly be putting in long days to make it happen!

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