In 2022, fans everywhere were ecstatic when Las Vegas announced that Formula 1 racing would be holding a race in Sin City in 2023. Unfortunately, the initial hype died down quickly, and many locals are unhappy with the changes that the race has brought on.
Read on to discover how Formula 1 is affecting Las Vegas and what those who want to attend can expect.
Multiple Properties Torn Down
While the idea of a Formula 1 race on the strip sounds cool, it has been absolutely detrimental to many businesses in the city. Not only did many buildings on Koval Lane and Sands come down, but Caesars Palace is demolishing its iconic rotunda to make room for grandstands, and because the demolition costs $157,000, we doubt they will be rebuilding it after the race.
Perhaps even more sad is the Mirage and Bellagio calling for the removal of multiple trees on their property. Sure, Las Vegas is a desert, but those trees provide essential shade during the hot summer months.
It’s almost as if the hotels and city have forgotten that life will go on after the Formula 1 races. They are rushing to tear down and remove anything to make it possible without thinking of how the city will function the 363 days following the race.
Overall, the cost of tearing down properties, trees, and more cost the city of Las Vegas more than $1.3 billion dollars, which may or may not be recouped.
Related: Formula 1 Returns to Las Vegas
Tickets Aren’t Selling
When Formula 1 decided to hold a race in Las Vegas, they relied on the name alone to make it sell. When tickets first became available, there were 1,500 $500 standing-room-only tickets, while all weekend grandstand and other specialty packages started at over $2500 per person.
While some tickets were snatched up immediately, the vast majority were unaffordable to almost everyone living within the city. Those who could afford the $2500 ticket were then faced with the fact that hotels were thousands of dollars for the weekend, and there was nowhere affordable to stay. Anyone who wasn’t priced out initially quickly realized they wouldn’t be able to afford the costs to attend, and as a result, they didn’t.
This has left Las Vegas just one week before the race, with over 50% of the tickets remaining unsold. As a result, many sellers have cut their prices, with tickets available for as low as $500. But of course, hotels and flights are still expensive, and even these cuts haven’t resulted in more tickets being sold. Experts think tickets will drop even further before the event next week as more and more companies become desperate to recoup losses.
Hotels Aren’t Sold Out
Many hotels planned on Formula 1 weekend selling out their properties. But just two weeks before the race, many hotels still had rooms available, and they found that the astronomical prices they were charging just weren’t cutting it.
Many hotels raised their prices by over 400% following the announcement of the Formula 1 dates, even canceling reservations that had been made previously at lower prices. Unfortunately for these hotels, it came back to bite them, as many were over half empty as race month began.
Most hotels returned to their original non-F1 rates, with the exception of the Aria, in hopes of filling their unsold rooms. Only time will tell if it was cheap enough to draw some last-minute interest!
Homeless People Displaced
In Las Vegas, while you will see some homeless people panhandling on the strip from time to time, you’ll notice a lack of a tent city which many other large cities like Los Angeles and Seattle have. This is because over 1000 of the city’s homeless people live beneath the city in the flood tunnels.
On November 10th, it was announced that all these people will be forcibly removed from the tunnels prior to the Formula 1 race, and the entrance to the tunnels will be barred. This means that 1000 homeless people who are usually out of sight will be up on the streets with nowhere to go.
Not only that, but according to a book written by a Las Vegas native, Beneath the Neon, many homeless people have entire households in the tunnels, with items like mattresses, sleeping bags, portable stoves, and food stores. When the homeless are removed from the tunnels, will these items be removed too?
If so, not only will there be 1000 people wandering around and harassing F1 attendees, but there will also be lots of furniture and trash on the side of Las Vegas roads. Authorities state that the homeless are being removed for security issues and that they can instead go to a homeless shelter, but they’ve missed the point.
The homeless shelters in Vegas are already almost always full(which is why many live in the tunnels), and if a homeless man or woman is caught doing drugs, they are kicked out. This means that many of those in the tunnels are drug users, and you better believe they won’t be making their way to a shelter when there are wealthy F1 attendees to panhandle from.
In our opinion, it would be much safer (and nicer) for all involved to leave the homeless people in their homes and consider just having security around the tunnel exits, which may be near the race.
As you can see, Formula 1 is having several profound effects on the city of Las Vegas, and we don’t think they are good effects, in fact, we think that the impact of Formula 1 is overall negative on the city. However, we are torn as this endeavor cost over $1 billion, and while we would love for it to be a failure to teach Las Vegas a lesson, many businesses, like Ice Nightclub, were permanently closed to make way for this famous race, and we would hate for this sacrifice to have been made for nothing.
Who knows, this may be the last time we see Formula 1 in Vegas. But if it does come back next year, we hope that the city has learned its lesson and doesn’t engage in the same price gouging that made this race an utter disaster.
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