The Las Vegas Grand Prix is fast approaching but Formula 1’s much-anticipated return to the city faces ten days of challenges, as hotels slash room prices to attract patrons, while the Culinary Union plans the largest hospitality worker strike in United States history, for this Friday.
The (long-ago-decided) 2023 Formula 1 World Championship and the sport could be on their way to being mobbed in the Mafia-built city, as troubling reports emerge, ahead of next weekend’s race next, that a cavalcade of problems awaits, from low room occupancy to a massive strike.
Oversteer48 reports under the headline: “Las Vegas F1 hotel rates slashed by 83% in a bid to fill empty beds” and that’s ahead of what was expected to be a sell-out even.”
The intro adds: “With the Las Vegas Grand Prix rapidly approaching and tickets being far from sold out, local hotels are slashing their nightly room rates to dirt-cheap levels to fill their empty beds during F1 week. Some fans are getting refunds and re-booking to save themselves hundreds of dollars.”
With the sport booming in the United States in recent years, Las Vegas is the third race in the country, unlike their hands-off approach to other racing venues, Formula One Management (aka Liberty Media) is heavily invested in the project. But challenges are looming at the 11th hour.
Hotels dropped their prices even more in a bid to fill empty beds
Oversteer48 reporter Alex Gassman found: “After that initial price surge and some panic booking from the fans who thought all the hotels would be fully booked in an instant, prices have steadily declined over the last 12 months.
“You’d always expect hotel prices to drop slightly after the surge at the initial release subsides. But the Las Vegas Grand Prix tickets are much more expensive than anyone had anticipated (over $2500 for a 3-day grandstand seat) and that’s meant less people have been planning on coming to watch the F1 in Vegas.
“Now, with less than three weeks to the Vegas F1 race weekend, hotels are dropping their prices even more in a bid to fill some empty beds.”
The report adds: “Data shows, the Vegas Hotel prices for the F1 race weekend have dropped dramatically. The biggest nightly rate decrease comes from Circus Circus. A year ago they were charging $649/night for their rooms on the F1 weekend. Now they’re charging just $111. That’s less than one-fifth of the original rate.
“The second biggest decrease comes from the Rio hotel (who also had the largest increase in the original analysis by 8 News Now). Their rates have dropped by 79% in the space of a year, down from $566/night to just $117/night.
“Aria, one of the most expensive hotels in Vegas, have held their rates and are still charging the same as they did when the F1 dates were first announced a year ago. The average decrease across all 22 hotels analyzed was 58%.”
Las Vegas Culinary Union readies for the largest hospitality worker strike in USA history
The objective of taking F1 to Las Vegas, apart from how it sounds for the commercial and marketing folk who control the sport, is for everyone involved in the investment to be winners, namely make money from the venture.
And, when you block the main roads of the heaving resort city, the rewards should be immense. Time will tell if that is the case, but that’s not the only problem going on with the return to Sin City for F1.
“The Culinary Union intensifies preparation for the largest hospitality worker strike in U.S. history by amassing supplies and materials to maintain 45 different strike stations with multiple picket lines around casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, continuing to sign workers up for strike pay and shifts on the strike line, and urging companies to agree to a fair contract now.
A strike would impact 18 casino resorts on the Strip: 8 MGM Resorts properties (Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, and Park MGM), 9 Caesars International properties (Caesars Forum, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and The Linq), and Wynn Resorts if an agreement for a new 5-year contract is not reached by the deadline.
The expected 120,000 F1 race attendees have been asked not to cross picket or strike lines
While F1 under Stefano Doemnicali has been brave to tackle the Las Vegas GP project with the ambition and gusto they have, but Vegas is not Monaco or Baku or Jeddah or any of F1’s city tracks where Kings and dictators call the shots.
While the room rates dropping is an issue, who among normal fans really cares that very rich hotels and businesses on the strip don’t make as much money as they do for three days of the GP weekend?
However, without the hard-working folks who make the city tick 24/7, seven days a week and every day of the year, the Las Vegas Grand Prix could be in serious trouble.
Eater Las Vegas sums up the challenges already facing F1 this week: “The move toward a strike is intended to put pressure on casinos to approve new five-year contracts that would include provisions such as expanded safety measures, health care, and the largest pay increase ever negotiated in the history of the union.
“The culinary union is asking the anticipated 120,000 race attendees not to cross picket or strike lines and to refrain from patronizing propers where there is a labour dispute.
“If the strike goes into effect, it would mean tens of thousands of bartenders, cooks, cocktail and food servers, guest room attendants, porters, bellmen, laundry, and kitchen workers statewide would walk off the job — leading up to and potentially during the F1 race.
Probably not for this edition of the LVGP next weekend but, when the dust settles, the question will be: Was Las Vegas worth it for F1?