Azerbaijan GP claims $500m boost from hosting F1 race

Adam Cooper

The numbers were compiled by global accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of Baku City Circuit in a follow-up to a review conducted after the first two races at the street venue.

The race, which ran under the European GP title in 2016, is known to pay one of the highest annual hosting fees of the season, and the report will be a useful tool to help justify the ongoing expense of holding the race.

Last February, its deal with the F1 organisation was extended to 2023.

The numbers will also provide a PR boost for other would-be race promoters are trying to put deals together.

According to BCC, the total figure of US$ 506.3m "is a combination of the direct and indirect results of operational spending linked to the arrival of F1 in Baku for the past four race weekends, taking into account the spend across various sectors including the professional services, hotels and general accommodation, catering, transport, social and cultural services, agriculture, post and telecommunications, wholesale trade and electricity, gas and water amongst others".

The figures are divided into two main categories. Direct spend on goods and services such as hotels, restaurants and transport services was valued at $300.6m over the four years of the race.

Indirect spend, defined as "any additional revenue received by those companies and businesses that sell goods and services to other organizations that are, in turn, direct suppliers for the Formula 1 Grand Prix," and which includes the construction, manufacturing, business and social services sectors, reached a total of $205.7m.

BCC points out that the race created 5-10,000 medium-to-short term jobs in the first two years, and up to 7,500 over the past two seasons, adding that its focus "was to give young Azerbaijanis their first taste of working on such a major international events, thus providing a new generation with unprecedented work experience opportunities as well as a crucial step on the career ladder in the process".

The company says that the event has also contributed to the "intangible fields of national brand reputation and raising global awareness of Azerbaijan as a modern, dynamic country capable of staging world class sporting and entertainment events".

BCC stressed the value of global media exposure, with 82.3m TV viewers in 2018, and 90.2m in 2019.

"We have always emphasised that F1 in Baku is more than just a showpiece event," said BCC executive director Arif Rahimov. "But instead a spark for economic, social and cultural change that will create increased opportunities and benefits for everyone living and working here.

"As made clear in this report, the past few years have exceeded our wildest expectations in this regard.

"Now that we have agreed our new contract with F1, which guarantees racing in this city until 2023 at least, we look forward with increased confidence and optimism to many more years of success hosting the pinnacle of motorsport here in Baku."