Formula E: Hong Kong E-Prix ditches Lung Wo Road grandstand and halves ticket allocation, but expands E-Village
- Organisers cut available tickets by 50 per cent to around 3,000
- Two grandstands instead of three, with expanded E-Village to fill vacant space
Formula E has frozen ticket prices for the Hong Kong E-Prix next March, though only around half the overall amount of seats will be on sale compared to last year with organisers removing one of the Central Harbourfront street circuit’s three grandstands.
“Last year we had about 6,000 grandstand tickets, this year we cut it by 50 per cent,” Coffee Pang, director of market and communications for Formula E Hong Kong, said at a press conference at the Conrad Hotel in Admiralty on Wednesday.
The removal of the Lung Wo Road grandstand means the adjacent E-Village at Tamar Park will be expanded for the March 10 race. The extra space will also be filled by a paddock for the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy – the world’s first electric vehicle racing championship.
Tickets for the Observation Wheel and Tamar Park grandstands will cost HK$2,880, though there is a 15 per cent early bird discount running until December 11.
Organisers saw an increase in revenue from the HK$50 million hit they took on the city’s first Formula E race in 2016, with around 87 per cent of grandstand tickets sold for last December’s season four-opening double-header.
“We wanted to have the grandstand sold out, and encourage as many people to come to the E-Village as possible,” Pang said.
“We thought about it for a very long time, we would like to strike a balance between the very high production costs and also whether anybody can afford the tickets, so that’s why this year we removed one of the grandstands from Lung Wo Road.
“We feel quite comfortable there will still be a good number of tickets available for the grandstands while we’ll still have more space for the E-Village, which will be more economical for everybody to come and enjoy.”
Organisers have also done away with the E-Village balloting system for the season five Hong Kong E-Prix.
Around 10,000 free E-Village tickets were allocated to fans online last December, but next year entrance to the entertainment facilities at Tamar Park will cost HK$50.
“Last year when we did the ballot it was very popular, everybody was trying to get a ticket or get into the ballot,” Pang said.
“However, when it comes to people actually taking the free tickets and coming to the E-Village, we were not very happy with the percentage.
“We have to have a balance with whether our sponsors and exhibitors are happy and also whether people can actually afford it to go in.
“The goal for the E-Village is to get as many people in as possible no matter whether they are real car fans, event goers or families wanting to enjoy the afternoon.
“The HK$50 is just a commitment fee for people to say, ‘Yes, I’m interested to come’. We want them to have a good time.”
A new attraction at the E-Village will be the “Formula E World” entertainment booth, showcasing the all-electric racing series’ drivers and history, its development of technology and its message of sustainability.
“We wanted a holistic presentation for everyone – not just for education but entertainment,” Pang said. “It’s a zone tailor-made for families.
“We’re going to make it more fun for the kids to enjoy the place with a bigger gaming area and more simulators for people to enjoy the simulator experience of the circuit.”
The season-opening early December slot Hong Kong occupied last year has been granted to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia this time around, but Pang believes the calendar change could be beneficial.
“In my personal opinion I do think March is a good time because it’s kind of out of the way – we do not have as much competition,” she said.
“At the end of the year you’ve got lot of different activities or events people go to. After Chinese New Year, when things die down a little bit, our very active Hong Kong people will start to look for places to go. So I think March is actually perfect for us.”
A Pit Lane walk with grandstand ticket combination package is also available at HK$3,180, while an E-Village and Pit Lane walk combo costs HK$350.
Half-price concessions will be given to spectators aged between five and 12, or over 65 years old. Those under five years old will be granted free access but must be accompanied by an adult.