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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

From Hype to Staple: Miami GP Now a Formula One Fixture

  • Ticket pricing and viewership have fallen, but the high-profile race is still becoming core to the local sports scene.
  • Frequent celebrity sightings provide a hefty dose of extra sizzle to the event.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There is likely no way to ever match the hype and intensity of the Miami Grand Prix’ debut in 2022, but Formula One and race organizers are aiming for the event to remain a high-profile fixture of the sport’s calendar. 

The main event—set for Sunday after two days of practice, qualifying, and ancillary events—will be back at the track developed outside of Hard Rock Stadium (above), as will the faux marina that is designed to help provide that South Florida feel and stands as one of the race’s most distinguishing features. But the challenge for the Miami GP will be to move fully beyond the initial novelty status and solidify its position as a core part of F1. 

The initial race two years ago drew an average audience of 2.6 million, representing the most-watched live F1 race in U.S. history, while secondary ticket prices soared to as much as $32,000. Last year’s average TV audience for the Miami GP fell to 1.96 million, but it still ranks as Formula One’s second-largest live American viewership total.

This year, Miami GP organizers slashed the price of a three-day Campus Pass general admission ticket to $450, down from $590 a year ago, while the resale market for a single-day pass for Friday’s preliminary events has fallen to as low as $20. Secondary pricing for a single-day ticket for Sunday now begins at less than $200, roughly a third of the low-end pricing typically seen two years ago. 

Still, the Miami GP is also quickly becoming a core part of the local sports scene.

“Miami loves events like this. It’s one of the best weekends of the year for all of South Florida,” Jason Shatsky, CEO of TicketRev, a Boca Raton, Fla.–based ticket marketplace, tells Front Office Sports. “There’s a lot of excitement around the fact that F1 is in town.”

Who’s Who

Celebrity sightings have also been an integral component of the Miami GP scene, as the first race drew the likes of Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and David Beckham, while last year featured Patrick Mahomes, Lindsey Vonn, Serena and Venus Williams, and Shaquille O’Neal.

This year is slated to draw arguably the biggest celebrities of the moment: Travis Kelce and his girlfriend, pop icon Taylor Swift, who are reportedly joining Mahomes and his wife, Brittany. Given Swift’s halo effect on the NFL universe during that league’s 2023 season, F1 officials would certainly relish a similar boost in Miami. 

“The aspect of wanting to see and be seen [at the race], that’s parallel to the entire city, and there are tons of networking events, parties, celebrations, and brunches all surrounding this race,” Shatsky said. “And some people [drawn to the event] don’t even end up going to the race.”

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