COTA offers $350 buyback for F1 U.S. Grand Prix early bird passes it sold for $299

Not only do you not see this often, we don’t recall seeing this ever. Last year, the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) sold more than 10,000 general admission tickets for this year’s U.S. Grand Prix that happens Oct. 18-20. The early bird price for the three-day passes was $299. Now COTA wants to buy those tickets back

from the purchasers for $350 apiece, so that COTA can resell them for an even higher price once the venue announces this year’s musical act. COTA hosts concerts on the Friday and Saturday of the race weekend, often booking two marquee musical acts to play as evening headliners. In 2022, Green Day played Friday evening, Ed Sheeran on Saturday; in 2023, Queen and Adam Lambert played Saturday. At some point after last year’s early ticket sales, COTA locked in an artist (or band) for this year it thinks will bring all the music lovers to the yard — and it wants to charge them more than $299. 

Event organizers plan to announce the act on April 29; the offer is open from now until May 6 — which, as organizers have admitted, gives $299 ticket holders plenty of time to sell their tickets using other means that yield a higher profit than $60. The track told CNN that the new ticket price will remain below $400 (hint: $399). 

Who could the act be? The track isn’t giving hints other than to say it hasn’t hosted a star this big since Taylor Swift. With Swift being the biggest musical act in the world at the moment, having just just released a new album while her record-breaking Eras Tour continues with U.S. and international dates throughout December 2024, we wonder if COTA’s pulling a sly one and has managed to get Swift again. Her concert dates show her returning to the U.S. for the final leg of the Eras Tour, landing in Miami for a three-day run at the Hard Rock over the three days of the U.S. Grand Prix. Theoretically, that rules her out.

Could be a big vintage act like Bruce Springsteen or The Eagles or Madonna (all also touring this year), but that feels like a long shot. The name that feels like both more likely and like an even longer shot, but that satisfies the star criteria and COTA’s hare-brained buyback scheme: Beyoncé. Her Renaissance Tour ended last October, but her Cowboy Carter album — which is the second piece of her planned Renaissance trilogy — came out earlier this month. She hit the top of the country charts with it. The website for the album features lots of Texas-based scenes. One of the first two singles released is called “Texas Hold ‘Em.” There will be a Cowboy Carter

tour, although it hasn’t been announced yet, and knowing Beyoncé, it could take longer than a year to choreograph and arrange. But why not a one-off show to kick up dust while the Beyhive waits for the big run? And Queen Bey was born in Houston, less than three hours up the road from Austin.

Enough prognosticating, we’ll find out in six days who’s got COTA counting its losses six months before the event. Any money on Nickelback?