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F1 accused of extortion over Las Vegas track view demands

NEWS STORY
25/07/2023

In an extraordinary move, F1 is seeking millions from clubs and restaurants that have a view of the Las Vegas circuit.

"Las Vegas Grand Prix will use reasonable efforts to maintain sightedness from licensee's venue to the track/race," reads a letter sent to businesses such as Planet Hollywood and Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer, which are alongside the circuit, by F1.

"The license fee will equal the maximum occupancy of licensee's venue (per fire code) multiplied by $1,500 (1,200)," venues were warned.

The move, which is hardly likely to go down well with local businesses, and could lead to similar moves at other street tracks should they get away with it, could explain why Liberty Media CEO, Greg Maffei made the extraordinary claim that the Las Vegas race will add $500m (388m) in revenue to the sport's coffers.

"They are literally shaking people down saying they will obstruct views unless they pay them," one casino owner told the New York Post. "It seems insane that they are asking money for a public event that is taking place in the streets."

According to the Post for "a restaurant or club with 1,500 seats, the tab would soar to a whopping $2.25m (1.75m), regardless of how many guests can catch views from their roof decks, terraces and dining areas".

"There is a certain line they are crossing (by) telling someone who has spent billions on their property that you are shutting the Strip down for construction and then asking them to pay for seat," the Post quotes a source as saying. "They are trying to limit people's ability to capitalize on the race."

A number of the big casinos have been part of the project from the outset and already have some pretty impressive - and equally expensive - deals in place, not least the $5m (3.9m) 'Emperor Package' from Caesars Entertainment, now it would seem that others are to be prevented from getting in on the act unless they pay up.

Indeed, in a move that evokes memories of the city's 'previous management', it has been suggested that screens could be placed outside venues that don't pay up, thereby preventing those inside from seeing the track, it is even alleged that Renee Wilm, Las Vegas Grand Prix CEO and Liberty Media's chief legal officer, has suggested shining lights into non-paying venues in order to block the view.

This would be equivalent to telling the owners of the thousands of apartments that overlook the Monaco track that they must pay a fee, a move that would cast doubt on the future of the event.

"There is a real chance of obstructing views with stands and barricades," the source tells the Post. "I know the hotels are upset about it and they are trying to figure out if they'll play along."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by trackrecords, 30/07/2023 15:56

"Using the example of how Putin deals with opponents, even if they live in a bungalow, Vegas as a venue blessed with lots of very tall buildings, seems a perfect opportunity for the 'license fee' to be discussed on the balcony, and the possibility for some unfortunate 'window-related' accidents."

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2. Posted by ARL, 29/07/2023 0:31

"So the third rate grifting starts to come to light. Of course the binbags will not be so visible on TV, given the vampire friendly midnight hour timeing of the race. Liberty and Vegas - made for each other."

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3. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 28/07/2023 19:17

"Maybe Liberty are realising this race will be a dud, and a one-off, so screwing LV for all they can get. Trouble is, they might get more than they bargained for........somewhere remote in the desert."

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4. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 28/07/2023 19:13

"@ Endre - no, not Ecclestone - but CVC Capital."

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 26/07/2023 19:01

"Hyper greed. Completely bonkers.

"

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6. Posted by Anthony, 26/07/2023 12:30

"Mo Green also thought that he could dictate what happened in Las Vegas…….!"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Dirt, 26/07/2023 12:19

"@Chester. I'm not against capitalism. Trust me, I'm no socialist. I do, however, believe capitalism is being corrupted by the stock market and the associated speculative angle. Too much money and power concentrated in investment groups, etc. I could go on, but I won't."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Chester, 26/07/2023 11:36

"@Dirt. Capitalism is not the enemy. Liberty is"

Rating: Positive (7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by Paulinho, 26/07/2023 8:06

"Money Money Money"

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10. Posted by ian_w, 26/07/2023 0:27

"F1 already tried to shake down the Clark County government back in June for the "benefit" of F1 repaving the roads on which the race will take place (ref: LVRJ: https://www.reviewjournal.com/sports/motor-sports/formula-1/f1-seeks-40m-from-county-for-las-vegas-grand-prix-infrastructure-work-2789800/). According to LVRJ (https://www.reviewjournal.com/sports/motor-sports/formula-1/formula-1-las-vegas-grand-prix-paving-continues-with-lane-closures-coming-2876666/), the paving is now underway and the negotiations as to who will pay for it continue. I see the County just forking over a giant "Thank you very much" and walking away from the table soon.

Now they are going after the adjacent property owners for the equivalent value of West Harmon Zone Grandstand ticket? F1 isn't even providing the seating, but the audacity to charge even General Admission ($500 per person) rates to off-venue private establishments is exorbitant/extortionist!

Can you imagine them having these negotiations in Monaco or Imola or any of the other street circuits ?

Both the paving costs and the "ancillary entertainment fees" are items that should have been negotiated when the initial agreement was discussed with the County and the partner resorts. If F1 did not want the track to be seen from the venues, the initial proposal should have made clear hoarding, banners or other site obstruction would be put in place.

"

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11. Posted by The Hubris Of Man, 25/07/2023 23:18

"This Vegas race was a terrible idea from it's inception and it continues to prove why it's incredibly stupid. "

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12. Posted by jcr, 25/07/2023 20:28

"Cant wait for Dominacali,s comment on this, Slow to respond so far !!"

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13. Posted by Apexing, 25/07/2023 18:30

"Um...bad idea. I wouldn't mess with the "businessmen" in Vegas. These guys invented cement shoes, and sleeping with the fishes. I wouldn't push too hard on the guys who perfected extortion..."

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14. Posted by Superbird70, 25/07/2023 16:28

"Corruption and extortion in Las Vegas?? Who would have guessed? Any bets this goes away if Verstappen clinches the title and Las Vegas loses it artificial relevance? "

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15. Posted by gcdugas, 25/07/2023 14:42

"It's an intentionally timed shakedown. Absolutely criminal. They should arrest the principals of Liberty and toss them in jail for extortion. Even more so since it happened in public and the facts are not in dispute."

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