The Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix brings extraordinary richness to the race weekend

Tickets for this weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix in Miami are selling for thousands of dollars each as growing interest from the US and the world’s rich raise prices for a weekend of high speed excess.

More than 300,000 race fans, tourists, executives and partygoers are expected to descend on Miami for the event, sponsored by Crypto.com. It is the inaugural event of the racing league in Miami and takes place over three days starting on Friday.

The crowds and spending are expected to exceed Miami’s 2020 Super Bowl and its annual Art Basel festival, according to local officials. Miami’s best hotels are charging more than $100,000 a night for their best suites. Chefs are offering dinner specials for $3,000 a plate, and nightclubs are bringing in top DJs with tables costing 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 sold its Miami Beach dinner for $3,000 a person. “We’ve never seen a lawsuit like this. It’s going to be a very hedonistic experience.”

Formula 1 has always been a sport for the rich, whether they watch it from their mega-yachts in Monaco or from the SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The Miami Grand Prix will mark a whole new level of spending for a US sporting event, fueled by the growing popularity of Formula 1 and the post-pandemic boom in wealth in South Florida.

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

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

The average price for Sunday’s race is $2,179, three times the average price for the United States Grand Prix at Austin last year, according to online ticket seller SeatGeek. Some tickets sold for more than $7,200 each. Organizers say prices go even higher over the weekend, with hospitality packages listed on resale site StubHub for more than $25,000.

The massive racing campus built around Hard Rock Stadium for the event includes a beach, a dry-docked yacht marina and several VIP viewing areas. “Arena tickets” at the Hard Rock Beach Club promise a resort-style seat to the racing action and are offered for $1,000 each, “beach attire recommended.” “Deck tickets” at the Beach Club are $2,000.

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

Local hotels are leaning towards luxury.

The St. Regis Bal Harbor Resort offers a $110,000 “Diamond Package” that includes an oceanfront villa, roundtrip private jets, dinner, and a custom piece of De Beers diamond jewelry.

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 hospitality suite, which offers one of the best viewing areas in the race.

Red Bull is currently second in the F1 team standings, behind Ferrari, and counts reigning world champion Max Verstappen as one of its drivers.

Carbone Restaurant, whose parent company Major Food Group is building a dazzling restaurant empire stretching from Las Vegas to Miami to Hong Kong, is creating a special pop-up restaurant in South Beach for the Formula 1 crowd.

It will host 200 guests per night at Carbone Beach, offering cocktails, wine, champagne, caviar, dinner prepared by chef Mario Carbone, and nightly performances by surprise guests. Priced at $3,000 per person per night, not including tip, Zalaznick said dinners are virtually sold out.

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

And the spending doesn’t stop at sundown. E11even Miami nightclub will bring in famous DJs like Tiesto and Diplo for the week and offer tables for between $5,000 and $100,000 a night.

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