Secondary tickets surge for F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, but a sellout appears unlikely
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sales on the secondary-ticket market were surging for Saturday night’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, but plenty of tickets were on sale on the Ticketmaster site for the Formula One race as of early in the afternoon.
Race CEO Renee Wilm promised on the Nov. 3 earnings call by Formula One Group that “we will be sold out by the time of the event.” Barring an eleventh-hour surge, the race will fall short of that prediction.
The first-year LVGP — beset by a number of on- and off-track issues that have tempered the enthusiasm of race fans, Las Vegas locals and even drivers — didn’t waste any time putting tickets on sale for next year. Beginning Saturday, fans can put down a deposit beginning at $250 for the race, which is Nov. 21-23, 2024.
When tickets were originally put on sale for Saturday’s race about a year ago, the cheapest was $500. Nevada residents later were offered a limited number of tickets starting at $200.
Even if there have been a number of missteps, the surge in ticket sales on the secondary market also shows a great interest in Saturday night’s race.
Gametime reported early Saturday afternoon that the lowest-priced ticket was $1,387, matching the cost of a three-day pass that was offered Wednesday. The high-end three-day was $4,613 on Wednesday and on Saturday the top single-day ticket was $10,635. Gametime later reported that the lowest-price ticket had jumped again, this time to $1,613.
TickPick has seen a similar increase. It’s lowest-price ticket went from $771 on Monday to $980 on Friday to $1,128 by Saturday afternoon.
Betting on this race has been strong from the beginning, with BetMGM and Caesars Entertainment projecting record-setting handles for a motor sports race. Attempts were unsuccessful Saturday to see if those expectations were met, but if Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas was any indication, then it is a big weekend for those sports-betting companies.
“Handle has been tremendous!” Red Rock sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said in a text message. “It is by far the largest I can remember.”
He said F1 isn’t typically a heavily bet sport, but the Las Vegas race has captured the attention of those who otherwise might put their money elsewhere. Esposito said the resort added five pages of proposition bets to meet the wagering demand.
“Seems like everyone at the counter is placing a bet on their favorite driver,” Esposito said.
Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at Westgate Las Vegas, said in a text message betting was “most likely a record,” but still wasn’t on the same level as other major American sports such as the NFL.
“I would compare it to a lower level college football game,” Kornegay said. “Again, maybe this event will take it a high level college football game.”
Max Verstappen, who clinched third successive F1 championship well before this race, is the minus-195 favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook. Verstappen has been critical of this race, and again early Saturday morning after qualifying third said there is too much emphasis on the entertainment part of this event rather than the actual driving.
Pole sitter Charles Leclerc is listed at plus-200, just behind Verstappen. He was more complimentary of the track and called it “an amazing venue.”
The race got off to a rough start Thursday night when Carlos Sainz Jr. ran over a water valve cover and damaged his Ferrari. That resulted in a 2 1/2-hour delay for the second session, which began at 2:30 a.m. local time Friday. They also extended the practice session from an hour to 90 minutes.
Spectators were not allowed to stay for what race officials said were safety and legal reasons. A class-action lawsuit was filed against the Las Vegas Grand Prix on behalf of fans.
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