Vegas Grand Prix has good first run
The people who brought downtown Las Vegas the Vegas Grand Prix made a serious promise at events that kicked off the race weekend: "This will be the worst Grand Prix you'll ever see," event co-owner Dale Jensen said.
"But that's because we will improve on this each year, make it better and better," he continued. Jensen is majority stakeholder in baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks and a shareholder in the NBA's Phoenix Suns.
Despite being "the worst ... ever," the consensus is the inaugural event wasn't too shabby.
Jim Freudenberg, CEO of Vegas Grand Prix, says some changes are in the works, with an eye toward next year. New ancillary events are being planned and more communication with downtown businesses is warranted, in order to stave off some of the headaches the race created for locals. At the top of that list are traffic tie-ups and road closures.
Despite some of the hype -- 150,000 projected attendees seemed a bit far-fetched -- the race weekend did attract roughly 40,000 people into downtown. Friday night's street party underneath the Fremont Street Experience, for example, drew more people than did New Year's Eve, Freudenberg estimates.
The grandstands on Fremont also sold out, he adds. For a downtown that's heard "revitalization" promises for more years than residents can remember, any new, big, nationally televised event is a good thing.
Mayor Oscar Goodman, who played his traditional role of universally happy host, assured organizers he was pleasantly surprised. "(Goodman) told me numerous times on race weekend that his expectations were exceeded," Freudenberg reported. "He stayed longer than he normally does at most events because he was having such a good time." More at Las Vegas Business Press