Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix brings extraordinary wealth to race weekend

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Tickets to this weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix in Miami are selling for thousands of dollars a piece, as surging U.S. interest and the global wealthy drive up prices for a weekend of high-speed excess.

More than 300,000 race fans, tourists, executives and party-goers are expected to pour into Miami for the event, sponsored by Crypto.com. It’s the racing league’s inaugural Miami event and takes place across three days starting on Friday.

The crowds and spending are expected to surpass Miami’s 2020 Super Bowl and its annual Art Basel festival, according to local officials. Miami’s top hotels are charging more than $100,0000 a night for their top suites. Chefs are offering special dinners for $3,000 a plate, and night clubs are bringing in top DJs with tables going for up to $100,000 a night.

“This is going to be the biggest week in Miami history,” said Jeff Zalaznick, managing partner of Major Food Group, which has sold out its dinner on Miami Beach at $3,000 per person. “We’ve never seen demand like this. It’s going to be a very hedonistic experience.”

Formula 1 has always been a sport for the rich, whether watching from their mega-yachts in Monaco or the SkyPark at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Miami’s Grand Prix will mark a whole new level of spending for a U.S. sporting event — fueled by the surging popularity of Formula 1, and the post-pandemic wealth boom in south Florida.

Netflix’s hit series “Drive to Survive” has created a new generation of F1 fans in the U.S. TV ratings for the races were up 54% in 2021 over 2020, and the first two races of the 2022 season were up 47% over 2021, according to ESPN, which broadcasts the races in the U.S.

Miami organizers say many of the ticket buyers and attendees to the Grand Prix are first-time race-goers with money to burn.

The average price for Sunday’s race is $2,179 — three times the average price for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin last year, according to online ticket seller SeatGeek. Some tickets sold for north of $7,200 each. Organizers say the prices are soaring even higher into the weekend, with hospitality packages listed on resale site StubHub for more than $25,000.

The massive race campus built around Hard Rock Stadium for the event includes a beach, dry-dock yacht marina and several VIP viewing areas. “Sand Tickets” at the Hard Rock Beach Club promise a resort-style seat for the racing action and are being offered for $1,000 a piece — “beach attire encouraged.” “Deck tickets” at the Beach Club go for $2,000.

With hundreds of thousands of fans expected, but capacity limited to about 80,000 at the race venue, local hotels, restaurants and bars will be overrun — and are charging accordingly. Event organizers project an economic impact of $400 million to the city of Miami Gardens, where the Hard Rock Stadium and track are located.

Local hotels are leaning into the luxury.

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is offering a $110,000 “Diamond Package” that includes an oceanfront villa, round-trip private jets, dinner and a bespoke piece of diamond jewelry from De Beers.

The five-star Faena Hotel Miami Beach is offering its 4,500 square-foot Faena Suite for $120,000 a night during race weekend. The package includes access to the Red Bull team’s hospitality suite, which offers one of the best viewing areas of the race.

Red Bull is currently second in the F1 team standings, behind Ferrari, and boasts current World Champion Max Verstappen as one of its drivers.

The restaurant Carbone, whose parent company Major Food Group is building an empire of glitzy restaurants stretching from Las Vegas to Miami to Hong Kong, is creating a special pop-up restaurant on South Beach for the Formula 1 crowds.

It will host 200 guests a night at Carbone Beach, offering cocktails, wine, champagne, caviar, dinner prepared by chef Mario Carbone and nightly performances by surprise guests. With a price tag of $3,000 per person per night — not including tip — Zalaznick said the dinners are basically sold out.

“Honestly, I think it’s worth $6,000 per person,” Zalaznick said. “We’re way ahead of where we projected we would be.”

And the spending doesn’t stop at sundown. The nightclub E11even Miami is bringing in celebrity DJs such as Tiesto and Diplo for the week and is offering tables for between $5,000 and $100,000 per night.

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