Opinion: Insane F1 Ticket Prices Will Shut Out Real Fans – WTF1

Opinion: Insane F1 Ticket Prices Will Shut Out Real Fans

It doesn’t really matter how you consume it, F1 is disgustingly expensive. 

I’m not talking about ‘ooh that’s a little steep’ kind of money. In recent years, F1 especially has become a ‘hold my $10 bottle of water while I remortgage my house, just so I can sit in row Z of the outfield grandstand’ kinda deal – and it’s only getting worse. 

According to MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle, the world-famous Las Vegas hotel chain is planning to buy $20-25 million worth of Las Vegas Grand Prix tickets to create hotel and event packages for its return to the calendar in 2023.

Then, as if he couldn’t shaft regular F1 fans enough, he also added that rooms may cost three times their usual rate and packages could cost up to $100,000. 

This is F1’s latest attempt to alienate its ‘Everyday Joe’ fanbase, but unfortunately it’s nothing new. 

Hosting cities and hotels are known for bumping up prices when F1 comes to town. That isn’t exactly rare for major sports, but F1’s insane ticket prices take it to another level.

In 2022, the cheapest two-day grandstand ticket to an F1 race will cost you anywhere between £95 – £525 ($127 – $700). That’s plenty steep enough before you add in the price of flights, hotel bills, the $30 chicken salad, and the $80 Ferrari baseball cap.

Pretty quickly, a trip to an F1 race turns from a cool idea into a full-on financial investment. In my opinion, that’s not what sport is about.

Like any other major championship, F1 would be nothing without its fans, and I’m not talking about the glamorous celebrities on the grid walk that can afford to splash $100k on a weekend away in Vegas. 

I’m talking about everyday fans who’ve been pinching every penny of their salaries just so they can sit in the last row of a grandstand and see a fraction of an F1 car as it flashes by at 200mph. 

They’re the fans who go nuts at Silverstone, bring the atmosphere to Mexico City, and flood to the winners’ podium at Monza. They’re the fans that ultimately turn F1 into the great spectacle it actually is! 

If ticket prices continue to soar, don’t be surprised when the grandstands are empty and the only people at races are celebrities and influencers who pack up and leave once they’ve been papped. 

F1, stop pricing out the real fans! 

27 thoughts on “Opinion: Insane F1 Ticket Prices Will Shut Out Real Fans

  • HerezAThought says:

    I would not worry about Vegas specifically. There will be plenty of opportunities to see the race, and the eye popping package price is for the highest of high rollers. The good thing about Vegas is that, as an entertainment city, there is always room and opportunity for any budget.

    That said, the sport’s focus on ticket prices is wrongheaded. As someone who grew up on IndyCar, it’s shocking how expensive it is to go to an F1 race.

    But that’s F1’s historical revenue model. It will take years for Liberty to convert an expanded fan base into broadcasting contract revenues.

    • Munkeh Madness says:

      Quite frankly, it’s got out of hand over the last few years.
      Back in the early 2000s, Silverstone had got to the point where a day ticket was over £100. They had a big reset and made all general admission weekend tickets £95.

      Now? £279.

      I’ll not be going again.
      Spa, on the other hand, is around half the price. Even with a ferry and the cost of travel, it’s still way less. Camping is much cheaper too (although it’s also a bit more feral).

    • Andrew Gish-Johnson says:

      All the casinos are going to be rolling out absurdly expensive packages for the high rollers, especially since it is the first year.

      I’m not sure if there will be affordable live views, but I’d expect the casinos will have wild viewing parties inside the casinos at the sportsbooks.

      • HerezAThought says:

        The largest single race ever was USGP Austin Tx 2021. The 140,000 fans attending on race day fit into a city with 39,000 hotel rooms.

        Las Vegas has 152,000 hotel rooms. Most of the people occupying them will not be watching the race, unless there are some spots to casually catch some of the action for free, which is likely given the layout.

  • The best value GP I went to was Sepang in 2016. IIRC the tickets for the whole weekend where under £50. You could buy a bag 0f chicken fried rice for a couple of quid, and the beers were a bit more expensive at about £4 a can.

    An overnight stay at a 5* hotel in KL was another £80 for the Saturday night.

    The only expensive thing really was the official team merch.

    Yes getting to Malaysia would have been expensive – but I happened to be in the country that weekend for work.

    • Natalie Ellis says:

      Sepang was absolutely fantastic. I studied there for the final race in Malaysia. £150 for main grandstand tickets for Friday to Sunday. It was so quiet we could sit anywhere at all and move around. At the end of the race we were on the start finish straight and what and experience that was. Best value tickets I have ever had.

    • David Douglas says:

      Sepang was 1/3 full when I went in 2012. I had bought cheap general admission tickets but the Malaysian Tourist board sent me grand stand tickets free of charge just before I flew out to Sepang.

    • David Douglas says:

      Sepang was 1/3 full when I went in 2012. I had bought cheap general admission tickets but the Malaysian Tourist board sent me grand stand tickets free of charge just before I flew out to Sepang.

    • You must have been in the posh seats, mine were £33 for the 3 days, everything was setup great from the train for a tenner return. Miss Sepang!!

  • Natalie Ellis says:

    Year after year I leave a great review of Silverstone except one point. Value for money. Racing aside, the tickets are ridiculous these days and even worse is the catering for fans. At silverstone, it was £17 for ONE pathetic chicken burger with fries. Now times that by 3 or 4 depending on if you chose to go to the Thursday entertainment and if you are there morning to night. We certainly ate at least twice at the track along with drinks. It is out of control. Silverstone was a sell out and at the prices we paid for 2 grandstand tickets (woodcote B £400 each), I will never believe them when they say they can’t afford to keep F1 there.
    We are such big fans that whilst the cost is extortionate, we still go and that’s our (well certainly my) holiday for the year. Who needs a relaxing 7 day holiday in the sun abroad when you can spend 3 days watching cars go zoom? 😂

    • It’s only going to get worse. The thing is, even with those prices, Silverstone is right when it says it struggles to afford the race. It’s the only race on the calendar that’s not heavily subsidised by the government of the country it’s in. With the cost of living rising, Silverstone will have to raise prices further. It’s already priced me out.

      • Roxanne Lyson says:

        It’s not the only race. No sporting event or team in the US is ever subsidized by the government, not even our Olympic teams.

  • Gabriel Anderson says:

    I agree. In Brazil the tickets cost us between R$ 790 – R$ 3500+ (the most cheap places). A cap is over R$ 400. Our AVERAGE salary is R$ 1898. Insane.

  • Pricing out fans but also basic customer service. Currently trying to get either a refund or move to 2023 race for the Japanese Grand Prix.
    F1 Experiences don’t seem to realise or care that anyone other than yours can get into the country, and there’s no group tours recognised by the government.
    So much for a delayed honeymoon for F1 diehard fans who got engaged at CotA

  • In 2018 I went to the Shanghai GP, 4 of us flew business class with BA, we stayed in a 5 star hotel for 4 nights and, the spending money aside, 4 nights in Shanghai – with paddock club tickets – cost less than what it would have cost for us to drive the 400 mile round trip to go camping at Silverstone with grandstand tickets.

    Go figure F1.

  • Robert Stein says:

    Absolutely agree!! F1 has long courted the rich and famous while demanding vast sums from more and more dubious governments but it’s been accelerating…. Couple that with the hit of the netflix thing which adds the “popularity” and the whole going to be seen there on social media BS. The real F1 racing fan is NOT the “fan” they care about. The prices are reflecting that…. I’ll always watch the races but in person – rally and bikes are far better value – which is sad for me to admit.

  • I’ve found, as yet another devotee of F1, that watching almost all the races televised and preferably live from the comfort of my soft leather chair with my much loved 65” LED TV, is the best way to go! I have all the food and drink I need, a great sound system, no stupidly expensive fares or hotel rooms to afford, AND I can watch the whole race from every angle and point of any track. That’s where F1 seems to be heading because they’ve been so astonishingly greedy and self-absorbed to give any leeway to the real racing public!

  • Frank Gradilone says:

    They will keep raising them until there is a BIG fall off in attendance. The fact if the matter is there are a lot if folks out there with lots of money to fill F1 races, not to mention NFL, MLB, NBA games, Disney parks… On the later, Disney calculated that they could raise prices a lot and still fill the parks. The the fact that it would mean that the typical middle class families they used to try to cater to could no longer afford to take their kids (the kids they market to heavily) to Disney was collateral damage, all that mattered was the bottom line. F1 has done the same, they rather have 1000 people pay $10,000 on paddock club passes, than sell $100 grandstand seats to the masses.

  • Years ago I attended the Canadian GP, general admission. At the end of the race we were all (as in 1000’s of people) were pushed through a two-person wide path (fenced on either side) as beside the path the ultra-rich drove out of the circuits in their supercars. I had enough and broke down the fence to cheers from everyone on the path and we all just started walking out in a much wider path. The ultra-rich were furious. We gave them our “kindest regards” using a certain finger and ignored them. To many people set free to herd us back.

    Do that if you’re herded like cattle in these events, especially if you’re paying these massive prices.

    • Funny you mention that. The exact same thing happened this year. Someone broke down the barrier and we ended up moving forward quite comfortably. LOL.

  • Australia 2022 was my first F1 race after almost 25 years watching the sport. I bought a park pass (a fancy name for General Admission) and it was AU$200/US$140/EU€140/GB£115 (including a collectors ticket) for the 4 days, which I felt was very reasonable, considering I’ve been to a few other sporting matches for the same price for 3 hours tops.

    I was planning to go to perhaps Singapore in 2023, but it depends on prices, I’ll be disappointed if F1 believes being a hard core fan extends to how fat your wallet is

  • Not planning on ever going to one as its massively over priced just to be headed around like cattle.
    The Las Vegas one will be insanity.

    Rather just stream it all live at home.
    I know theres the other entertainment, but if I want a festival experience, I’d just go get shit faced at a actual festival.

  • It’s economic reality! The disparity between those with and those without has grown to the point sellers can target Those With Money who have enough discretionary income to pay whatever the fare is.

  • If it’s selling out, why would they drop prices? Sepang was cheap because there was no local interest (and the race no longer exists for that reason).

    The Vegas promoters are confident it will sell out at inflated prices which is why they are making block bookings in advance.

    If you want prices to come down, just don’t buy tickets. However, usually the truth is that “real fans” have enough money for the tickets anyway, and just like to complain about the prices before paying them anyway. Same with every discretionary purchase (“oh foreign holidays are unaffordable this year!” *clicks buy on all inclusive trip to Greece*)

  • i am hoping to go to Las Vegas but my fears are materializing with this article. I hope Liberty/F1 blocks suck a massive ticket purchase to a single intermediary (mgm is not a fan they re profiteers).

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