Formula 1 in Las Vegas is bringing concern to local business owners. Executives are threatening to block the view of the street circuit unless developers pay millions of dollars in fees.
The organization required venues along the circuit – scheduled to pass through the heart of Las Vegas during the Grand Prix in November – pay $1,500 per person for licensing rights, according to a letter obtained by The Post.
For a 1,500-seat restaurant or club, the bill would rise to $2.25 million – regardless of how many guests may have views from their decks, terraces and dining areas.
If clubs and restaurants refuse to pay, F1 sales representatives – owned by billionaire John Malone’s Liberty Media – have warned that obstructions such as barricades and grandstands could end up ruining the race for their customers.
“They are literally threatening people, saying they will obstruct the view unless they pay,” a casino owner on The Strip told The Post.
“It seems crazy that they are asking for money for a public event that is taking place in the streets.”
Sources also claim that salespeople working for Renee Wilm, CEO of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas and chief legal officer of Liberty Media, even threatened that lights would shine in viewing areas of unlicensed venues, blinding guests who would try to catch a glimpse of the night race.
“There is a real chance of obstructing views with bleachers and barricades,” said a source close to the situation. “I know hotels are upset about this and are trying to figure out if they’re going to play the game.”
Local business x official sponsors
The letter was sent to local businesses like Planet Hollywood and Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer – which are along the route of the race.
“The Las Vegas Grand Prix will make reasonable efforts to maintain the local licensee’s vision all the way to the track/race,” according to the F1 proposal overview reviewed by The Post.
“The license fee will equal the licensee’s maximum occupancy of the site (by fire code) multiplied by $1,500.”
The big concern is that local Las Vegas businesses will be forced to pass the fees on to their customers in the form of skyrocketing coverage fees that can exceed $2,000 per person, according to a Las Vegas executive.
While Formula 1 may charge similar fees at other street circuit venues like Monaco, Las Vegas venues want the high rollers to come and play several times a year.
If customers spend a lot of money on this trip, they may not be back anytime soon, the executive insisted.
The Las Vegas executive added that he has direct knowledge of a location that in recent days said it would not pay for licensing.
In response, F1 is pressuring official sponsors of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas to cough up the cash.
“There’s a certain line they’re crossing [by] telling someone who’s spent billions on their property that you’re closing the Strip for construction and then asking them to pay for the seats,” the source close to the situation said.
“They are trying to limit people’s ability to capitalize on the race.”
Famous casino hotels like the Venetian and the Wynn are already paying between $2 million and $10 million each to be official sponsors of the race and are not being asked to pay more for course-facing rooms.
But Formula 1 is still asking some of its restaurants to pay licensing fees, sources say.
What Formula 1 is doing is probably not illegal, although it seems opportunistic. “They own the right to the race so it would be difficult for a venue to prove damages,” said the source.
Formula 1 in Las Vegas expected to receive up to 300,000 fans
The three days of events, culminating with the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Saturday night, will take place November 16-18. It is estimated that around 300,000 fans of the sport will attend.
Ticket packages for the public have not yet sold out, according to the Formula 1 website.
The average ticket price for the three-day package is already $6,651, nearly 50% higher than the $4,600 price for the Miami Grand Prix, according to a King Casino Bonus study.
Standard hotel rooms for the weekend are charging $1,000 a night.
Add in the $6,651 average three-day race tickets — or the over-the-top coverage to go to a restaurant with a good view — and flights and it can easily become a couple’s $15,000 weekend before the game.
Beer Park is officially a Formula 1 partner and is charging $5,500 for three days’ full access to the venue’s indoor space, including food and beverages, with more than 75 HDTVs, as well as the outdoor terrace overlooking the track.
Formula 1 is paying Madison Square Garden’s Sphere arena nearly $10 million for its empty parking lot to build its own grandstands.
Previous US races such as the Miami Grand Prix have been held on tracks contained within a single location.
In the Formula 1 test in Las Vegas, the cars will pass by the Mirage, Caesars Palace, Drai’s Beachclub, Bellagio and Cosmopolitan.