By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan’s incomes from hosting Formula One race held in Baku between 2016 and 2019, amounted to $506.3 million, according to the estimates of PricewaterhouseCoopers international audit company (PwC).
Of the $506.3 million, the country’s budget received $300.6 million directly, and the rest $205.7 indirectly.
"The share of revenues in tourism and transport sector during the four years amounted to 24.5 percent. These sectors were directly linked to the maintenance of racing weekends. In general, the total estimate of direct income during the four years of the ‘royal races’ in Baku is $300.6 million," PwC representative Bahruz Huseynzade said at a press conference held in Baku on January 15 dedicated to the results of F1 races.
Accordingly, the share of indirect income that is generated from the sale of goods and services is $ 205.7 million. In addition, indirect income includes $53 million, Huseynzade said.
Huseynzade noted that incomes came from such types of services as hotel accommodation, transportation services, restaurant services, construction and telecommunication services.
"In particular, thanks to the Formula 1 races, the number of hotels that spend money on utilities has increased. The number of tourists who have started spending more on visiting restaurants and other services has also increased," Huseynzade said.
He also noted that F1 in Baku resulted in creating 5,000-10,000 jobs mainly for the youth.
Addressing the conference, Nigar Arpadarai, the Head of Marketing and Communications Department of Baku City Circuit, which is a motor racing street circuit located in Baku, said that over the past years, the income from the race in the capital of Azerbaijan has increased significantly due to the infrastructure and an increase in the number of tourists attending racing weekends.
"Formula 1 is a global brand that has attracted the attention of car racing enthusiasts around the world. Moreover, two of the four stages of the races held in Baku were recognized by the world community as the best races of the planet," Arpadarai stated.
She further noted that Azerbaijan is decreasing expenses in connection with F1 races.
Arpadarai reminded that in the first period of holding the races, there were expenses associated with the creation of infrastructure, as well as with advertising.
"Now these costs have been reduced, the infrastructure of the competitions has been created, not so much money is spent on advertising, because Azerbaijan is already well known in the world," she explained.
Arpadarai added that in 2018, some 82.3 million viewers watched the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and this figure reached 90.2 million people in 2019.
In the meantime, BCC's Head of Commercial Bulent Ozerdim said that negotiations on sponsorship of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2020 are underway.
"The negotiations will be completed within two to three months.”
As he added that most of the tickets (81 percent) for the upcoming races have so far been bought by foreigners.
"We first sold many tickets in a short period of time. Perhaps this year we will have a record for the number of sales," Ozerdim noted.
He considers the satisfied guest who returns to his country and talks about Baku as the best advertisement for Azerbaijan.
"Our Grand Prix is in the top five for the ratio of satisfied guests. Compared to the first years, the number of viewers coming from far abroad is increasing," he said.
Ozerdim did not exclude the possibility that the number of stands at the F1 races in Baku may be increased in 2020.
He noted that the interest of foreigners in the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix has noticeably increased, including the number of VIP guests arriving from other countries.
Ozerdim noted that there are plans to increase the number of tickets. As tickets run out, he added, additional tickets will go on sale.
The landmark 5th successive F1 race weekend to be staged on the streets of Azerbaijan's capital city is taking place on the new date of 5-7 June 2020.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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