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US Grand Prix organizers promised a star performer. Now, with a superstar in the works, it’s offering to buy back tickets

Mark Thompson/Getty Images/File

This year’s musical performer at the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, is so big, Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is offering to buy “early bird” tickets back from buyers and pay ticket holders an extra $50.

Similar to a music festival, the Grand Prix has artists perform before the race. That’s usually all pretty standard, but whoever is chosen is so high-profile that many fans believe COTA can turn a bigger profit by reselling tickets at higher prices than the initial $299 fee.

The identity of the musical guest, meanwhile, remains a mystery.

“Taylor (Swift) was here a few years ago, and I’ll say this is the biggest we’ve had since then,” COTA founding partner Bobby Epstein told CNN on Friday.


Britney Spears, Bruno Mars and Billy Joel are just some of the stars who have performed at the Grand Prix in Austin.

COTA will announce the entertainment lineup on April 29, and early bird buyers have until May 6 to sell back their ticket for $350.

But fans commenting on the official COTA page call the company scalpers for their own event’s tickets. Others say they could resell their tickets through a third party themselves for a much higher profit than $50.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to want to sell their tickets (once the lineup is announced),” Epstein said. After the backlash, Epstein told CNN that he expects COTA to raise the price of the buyback.

“It just illustrates that (early bird buyers) got a really good value on their purchase and hopefully, they’ll be there for us again in the future,” Epstein said.

The offer was for any general admission three-day weekend grounds pass.

Epstein said COTA sold more than 10,000 early bird general admission ground passes. He suggested the limited number of general admission tickets that will be released after the announcement of the artist will still be priced below $400. Last year’s general admission price was around $475.

The Grand Prix runs from October 18-20.

General admission seating is among the most basic options for a race known for its glitz and glamour. Private air-conditioned suites and club seats run into the thousands.

“It’s not about buying back your ticket and making a profit on it at all,” Epstein said. “It was about just demonstrating the value that we see in our tickets and that we appreciate that those buyers saw.”

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