It is billed as “four unforgettable days of entertainment.” But some Azerbaijanis wonder whether the most unforgettable aspect of the June 16-19 Formula One Grand Prix Europe, hosted in their capital city, Baku, will be the event’s cost.
Overall, tens of thousands of spectators are expected to crowd into downtown Baku, a city of over 2.1 million, for the event, which got underway June 16 with an entertainment extravaganza. The weekend will feature evening concerts by singers Pharrell Williams, Chris Brown and Enrique Iglesias before the race takes place on June 19.
It remains uncertain whether Azerbaijan will make or lose money on the event.
Ticket sales are the only way for host governments to make money on a race, F1 reporter Christian Sylt wrote in 2015 for Raconteur.net. Revenue from advertising, broadcast rights or corporate hospitality packages goes to the race’s rights-holder, the Formula One Group.
For this reason, Sylt added, wealthy nations alone tend to host F1 races.
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Vusala Alibayli is a freelance journalist based in Azerbaijan.