What’s the current cost of attending the race day of a Formula 1 event around the world? We’ve crunched the numbers.
What determines the cost of F1 tickets?
It wasn’t always so expensive to attend an F1 race. Fans have the commercial supremo of the sport, Bernie Ecclestone, to thank for the rising cost of F1 race tickets. The business model of Formula One is unlike other sports in that organizers have to pay large yearly sums (currently $30-40m USD) for the privilege of staging a race and are also not entitled to TV revenue or trackside advertising. The annual fees payable by race organizers also include an annual rise of around 5%.
As a result of the business model in F1, the main source of income for race promoters (largely governments) is ticket sales. F1 is an expensive event to stage, and whilst some governments are prepared to subsidise the cost of a race for benefits such as increased tourism and worldwide exposure, there is a strong correlation between the rising costs to stage a race and the increased prices of tickets.
As you can see from the table below, there is a very large range of race-day ticket prices for F1 races around the world, from as little as $20 USD to attend the race day in Malaysia up to the average ticket price of around $120 USD.
Supply vs Demand
Many other factors also come into play when it comes to the pricing of tickets, most notably supply and demand. It is not surprising that some of the most popular races on the calendar are also the most expensive. There is big demand for tickets to races such as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Canadian and US races.
Several newspaper articles in the UK this year ahead of the race bemoaned the high cost of tickets, particularly in comparison to other major sporting events during the English summer, and predicted a poor turnout partly due to the excessively expensive tickets. Such reports ultimately proved incorrect however and the British race was hugely successful, drawing a full house of 120 000 spectators on race day. The promoters of the British Grand Prix do not receive any government assistance which partly explains the high cost of tickets.
In contrast, races such as the Malaysian Grand Prix have always struggled to encourage fans, particularly locals, to attend and the race organizers have recently lowered ticket prices significantly to encourage better attendances. Direct competition in the form of the night race in neighbouring Singapore has also undoubtedly influenced the decision to lower ticket prices for the Kuala Lumpur race.
When it comes to general admission tickets, some races are much more attractive than others. Most travelling fans, even those on a budget, are not going to choose general admission over a covered grandstand in the hot and sunny Middle Eastern and Asian races. In contrast, many European races such as Spa, Monza and the German races provide excellent viewing areas and mild weather for fans to enjoy general admission areas (and camping) on a budget weekend.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the ticket prices is the cheap cost to attend Monaco on race day. The general admission vantage points may not be the best or most comfortable, but fans on a budget are able to commute easily from nearby Nice and surrounds to keep their accommodation costs down. Of course the fact that Monaco is the only race on the calendar not to have to pay a fee for staging the race is a factor in the lower cost of general admission ticket prices.
2013 Race-Day F1 Ticket Prices – Cheapest to Most Expensive
|Rank||Race||Price EUR||Price USD|
*No race-only ticket available so prices given are for weekend or full event. Note: Ticket prices are taken from official ticket suppliers for each 2013 event and don’t include any postage or handling fees. The ticket prices were correct at the time of publishing. General admission prices don’t provide a grandstand seat.