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My F1 Vegas Experience / Review

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Phoenix
clear sky
80.9 ° F
84.9 °
74.4 °
23 %
1.6mph
0 %
Tue
97 °
Wed
101 °
Thu
108 °
Fri
112 °
Sat
110 °

Ever since they announced the F1 Vegas race, I started looking for tickets.  When I first started looking about a year ago, for grandstand tickets for the Thursday or Friday events, they were running about $1700.  Hotel rooms on the Strip ranged from between $400 to $900.  I had no intentions of being gouged to see an F1 race, so I concluded that I would be watching it on TV. 

The week before the race, I started to hear of massive drops in ticket prices.  The Wednesday before the race I started checking prices again.  I found a pair of tickets in the West Harmon grandstands for $249 per ticket for Friday and a hotel room at the Linq for $149, a far cry from what I saw 12 months prior.  I pulled the trigger and got the tickets and reserved the room at the Linq. 

After all the ridiculous fees, the tickets ended up costing about $320 and the room just under $200.

A buddy of mine and I drove from Phoenix to Vegas.  Getting onto the Strip was surprisingly easy and traffic was probably less that what I have usually experienced getting to the hotel. 

We walked around the Strip that afternoon, as the first event did not start until 8pm.  There did not seem to be the amount of people I expected.  We ate at two different places that were next to empty.  The casinos we entered seemed almost empty too. 

Stopping by one of the F1 merch kiosks, I found one of the first evidence of the stupid prices surrounding the event.  I was going to buy my son a F1 baseball cap.  I didn’t pay much attention to the price.  When it was rung up, I found it cost $110 . . . for a baseball cap.  Needless to say, I put it back. 

Getting into the event was painless.  Inside, I ordered a Jack & Coke, which cost $27.  I will say this, the stuff inside of the Harmon Zone, to enhance the fan experience, was almost non-existent.  There wasn’t much to see or do.  This is based on my past experiences at big events like the Phoenix Open, the World Series and multiple Super Bowls. 

Watching FP3 was what I expected.  If you are not a F1 fan, it would probably be super boring.  While sitting there we started talking with the people next to us.  They had just bought their tickets right before the event.  They told us they paid $1200 per ticket.  They were shocked that we got our tickets for the price we did.  I had to check Stubhub and Seat Geek for current ticket prices.  We found the listing for the four empty seats just in front of us.  They were $1248, which was the cheapest in the section.  Most tickets were around $1400.  Prices definitely shot back up.      

Getting out of the event was easy too.  Between FP3 and Qualifying we ate over by the Linq.  It was about 10pm.  We were the only people in the restaurant.  One more table sat, but that was it. 

We made it to Qualifying.  The grandstands were almost 100% full.  Qualification was cool. 

We made it back to the hotel about 2am and decided to grab a drink at one of the free-standing casino bars in the Linq.  We ordered two Jack & Cokes . . . price $86 before tip.  That’s $100 for two, small, adult beverages.  Having stayed at the Linq before, that’s about a 100% increase in price.

My take-aways are this.  I never would have spent $1200 or $1700 for the event prior to us going.  After being there, I definitely would not spend that much and probably wouldn’t spend $200 per ticket.  I feel this way due to the lack of “stuff” surrounding the event.  I just expected it to be more like the Super Bowl, where there are tons of things outside of the event to enhance the fan experience.  Also, given the price gouging both in and out of the event, dropping $2000 for, effectively 2.5 hours of watching a sporting event, is just not worth it for me. 

Glad I did it.  Checked it off my Bucket List. 

Ended up watching the race on TV back at my house in Phoenix.  I will say that many of the fears surrounding the event were unfounded.  I thought it was a great race with great action.  The fears of track temps causing chaos did not materialize.  Seems like the drivers like the course and the race. 

I will make one comment about what happened to the fans that had tickets for Thursday.  The way F1 handled it was bush league.  To throw the people out of the event after it was Red Flag is understandable.  But, to not let fans who paid to see FP2 into the event is inexcusable.  And then to only give them a $200 voucher to but merch, which would be about two baseball caps, is crazy.  I hope they are successful with the class-action lawsuit that was just filed.      

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