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Tourists spent big money in Las Vegas during F1. Was it more than Super Bowl 58?

Updated April 10, 2024 - 6:37 pm

The Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix in November produced the largest economic impact in history among Las Vegas special events while Super Bowl 58 three months later was a close second.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors was told Tuesday that F1 had a net economic impact of $1.5 billion while the Super Bowl produced $1 billion.

Overall, while Las Vegas hasn’t attracted the record visitation it had in 2016, tourist volumes have been on a steady climb since the pandemic, and those visitors are spending more than they ever have.

In an economic impact report to the LVCVA board of directors by Applied Analysis principal Jeremy Aguero, the number of visitors was up 5.2 percent to 40.8 million from 2022 to 2023, which is still 4 percent below the 42.5 million that visited in prepandemic 2019. The record in 2016 was 42.9 million.

But Aguero said in 2023, visitors spent a record $51.5 billion — roughly $1,261 per visitor per trip. While some of that Aguero chalked up to inflation, he said many visitors are buying an experience they can only get in Las Vegas. He added that the near-record 6 million conventioneers arriving in Southern Nevada in 2023 was an additional boost because they spend more than leisure travelers.

Aguero said the higher spending patterns underscore the importance of the city’s tourism economy to the region. He said the tourism industry is more important to Las Vegas than to other cities because the rest of the local economy is not as diverse as in other cities.

Aguero said it’s important to note that the economic impact of tourism is a result of three different types of spending: direct, the things that tourists pay for; indirect, items that suppliers buy to supply vendors; and induced, items bought by tourism industry employees who are salaried in tourism jobs.

Overall, tourism accounts for $85.2 billion in economic output, roughly half of the region’s gross domestic product. In total, the industry in Southern Nevada supports 379,630 jobs, with wages of $21.2 billion.

Aguero said a large chunk of tourism spending comes as a result of special events hosted in Las Vegas. He offered some totals resulting from two recent big events: the inaugural F1 Grand Prix in November and Super Bowl 58 in February.

Aguero said the F1 race resulted in $500.6 million in net visitor spending (after infrastructure expenses), a total $884.5 million visitor economic impact and $1.5 billion in total economic impact including F1 operations and capital.

For the Super Bowl, Aguero said there was $606.3 million in net visitor spending and a total $1 billion economic impact of that visitor spending. The impact of the Super Bowl didn’t increase dramatically because the city normally is full anyway with visitors wagering on games on the weekend.

“It’s really not as complicated as I think we ended up trying to make it,” Aguero said of F1, “but if we look at the 145,000 unique visitors that were in town and either attended the event or were in town because of the event, and we look at their spending, it is $884 million including the entire economic impact of that.

“A typical visitor to Las Vegas spends about $1,200 per person per trip,” he said. “A typical visitor that came for Formula One spent $4,100 per person per trip, which helped elevate the market overall.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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