IndyCar Cuts Management Fee For Baltimore GP; Belle Isle Expects More Than 100,000 FansPublished May 30, 2012
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said that the series "is deeply discounting the million-dollar-plus fee required to run this year's Grand Prix of Baltimore and is committed to bringing in big sponsorship dollars to help the race succeed," according to Jack Lambert of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Bernard "declined to say how much" Race On LLC, led by J.P. Grant of Grant Capital Management and Greg O'Neill of BMW Construction Specialists, will pay in sanctioning fees. However, Bernard said that "it was much less than" the $1.8M last year's race organizer Baltimore Racing Development paid. The fee "grants an organizer the right to use IndyCar drivers." Bernard said that offering a discount to Race On "is one of the ways IndyCar is working to make the Grand Prix of Baltimore thrive" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/25 issue).
MILWAUKEE'S BEST? Andretti Autosport Owner Michael Andretti said that for the June 16 Izod IndyCar Series Milwaukee IndyFest, he has "lowered ticket prices 38% and has built a two-day, bang-for-the-buck festival." In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt writes the event was "on life support until Andretti and his investment team rode in last winter." Andretti said, "We started flat-out last Wednesday with the advertising. ... That's when we were told to hit the market here because they are late buyers." Andretti added, "I'll probably let you know by the end of the week if it's doing what it's supposed to be doing. I know we are ahead of last year." The '11 event was on Father's Day and it was estimated that a crowd of "only 12,000 showed up." However, Hunt notes this year's event is "on a Saturday with the Brewers out of town" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/30).
BELLE OF THE BALL: In Detroit, Dustin Walsh wrote Sunday's Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix "is expected to draw more than 100,000 attendees." Event Dir of Communications Merrill Cain said that ticket sales for the IndyCar race are "ahead of pace" from the '08 race, the last time it was held. However, he "declined to reveal current ticket sales figures." The city of Detroit and the race "are benefitting from moving the event's date to June from August," when the '08 race was held. IndyCar team Owner Roger Penske said, "By having the first race after Indianapolis, we have the best date. It's great for the summertime, because people haven't gone on their vacations" (CRAINSDETROIT.com, 5/27).
ALLIGATOR ALLEY: In Miami, George Richards reported with the backing of IndyCar driver and Ft. Lauderdale native Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Sports Marketing, there is hope the proposed Ft. Lauderdale Grand Prix "could serve as the IndyCar season finale next October or November." Ft. Lauderdale Public Affairs Manager Chaz Adams in an email said that the city is "working with the promoter on an 'event agreement' that included 'specific operational and logistical details,' which include how the race will be set up and broke down, traffic plans as well as safety plans." Adams said that the promoter "also needs to reach out to local residents and businesses that would be affected by the race." After the promoter takes those steps, the race "can go to the city commission for approval." Hunter-Reay: "IndyCar wants it to happen. Fort Lauderdale wants it to happen. We already have sponsor support and interest. But there are obstacles to clear" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/26).
SCRANTON-ICITY: In Pennsylvania, Scott Walsh wrote there is a "palpable buzz concerning IndyCar racing and its possible return next season to Pocono Raceway," and track President & CEO Brandon Igdalsky "is doing nothing to curb the tide of excitement of IndyCar's possible return." Igdalsky met with Bernard at the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fla., in March, which led to a "lot of speculation that Pocono would be back on the IndyCar schedule." If IndyCar does return to Pocono, "the biggest question is when the race would take place" (Scranton TIMES-TRIBUNE, 5/28).
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