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Formula One still interested in Las Vegas as race site

Updated August 10, 2019 - 4:44 pm

Gentlemen, restart your speculation.

The possibility of the globetrotting Formula One auto racing series returning to Las Vegas is back in the news after F1 CEO Chase Carey said the city remains a potential venue for a second U.S. race.

Speaking on a Liberty Media earnings conference call — Liberty, which also owns baseball’s Atlanta Braves, purchased F1 for $4.6 billion in 2017 — Carey said adding a second race to partner one in Austin, Texas, is a priority.

“Probably the first step would be adding that race in a city like Miami or Las Vegas,” said Carey, who indicated he would be meeting with representatives in both cities next week. Officials at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Las Vegas Events said they were not aware of any formal negotiations.

Formula One is not nearly as popular in the U.S. as it is around the world, but appeals to a sponsor and fan base with lots of discretionary dollars to spend — the kind of clients that Las Vegas hotel-casinos find desirable. Even more impressive are global TV ratings that saw F1 average 23.3 million viewers over 21 races in 2018 compared with 15.5 million for NFL regular-season games.

“There’s a lot more fans here than people believe,” Carey said about bringing a race to an American destination city such as Miami or Las Vegas, where Caesars Palace hosted two Grand Prix races during the 1980s. “We’re excited about those opportunities.”

More Henderson baseball?

A new independent baseball league has announced plans for a 2020 startup and is interested in putting a team in Henderson, according to local sources. Former Los Angeles Dodgers (and Las Vegas 51s) star James Loney has been mentioned as a potential investor.

The Western Association of Professional Baseball Clubs (WAPB) hopes to play a 78-game schedule with eight teams in California, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada that would begin in June and end in September.

If the Arizona Diamondbacks also are considering a move to Henderson, one would surmise they probably aren’t concerned by this report.

Alternative uses

Las Vegas Ballpark was transformed into a highway to the danger zone Friday when moviegoers paid $2 to watch “Top Gun”on the giant scoreboard while the Aviators were on the road stalking first place.

In a similar vein, promoter Daren Libonati tweeted about UNLV having lured the gargantuan Spanish soccer side Real Madrid and its then superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to Sam Boyd Stadium seven years ago. Libonati said when it comes to finding other uses for Allegiant Stadium when the Raiders are away filming reality TV episodes, international soccer friendlies might be one to explore.

With twice the seating capacity of Sam Boyd, tickets wouldn’t have to be scaled as expensively for the landlord to break even after the big soccer sides take their cut, Libonati said.

They would probably still cost a lot more than $2, though.

Around the horn

— Friday’s confirmation that McLaren Racing will merge with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for a full two-car 2020 IndyCar season should result in a worldwide publicity bonanza for the domestic race team headed by Henderson’s Sam Schmidt, based on interest generated by McLaren and its driver Fernando Alonso of Spain in recent Indianapolis 500 efforts. Alonso has indicated he is not interested in running the entire IndyCar season, but would be the likely choice to drive a third team car at Indy.

— Boulder Creek Golf Club will host a PGA Jr. League regional Sept. 14 and 15. The PGA Jr. League is golf’s answer to Little League baseball, minus the gobs of eye black.

— The Los Angeles Rams are offering 2019 season tickets for as low as $250 — $31 per game. The soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders are offering 2020 season tickets at a slightly higher price.


As Jim Lampley famously said when George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer at the MGM Grand to win the heavyweight championship at age 45, “It happened!”

Chris Maathius, longtime sports director and usually jolly good media fellow at KLAS-TV, Channel 8, finally uttered a disparaging word in a public forum. After the Las Vegas Bowl said a premature goodbye to “iconic” Sam Boyd Stadium on Twitter, Maathius delivered a counterpunch that would have done Juan Manuel Marquez proud:

“You say so long, I say good riddance.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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