SBD/Issue 204/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Tony George Says Family Remains Financially Committed To IRL

George Says Family's Commitment
To Racing Remains Unchanged
Former IRL and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) CEO Tony George Friday said that the Hulman-George family "remains financially committed to the sport," according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. George, commenting publicly for the first time since he stepped down from his positions on June 30, said that he has received assurances from his mother, IMS Chair Mari Hulman George, that the "family's commitment to racing remains unchanged." George in a statement said, "No such reduction of support or commitment is intended or anticipated. I can assure teams, sponsors, media and fans that our family is sincere in its commitment to the Indianapolis 500, the (IRL) and the sport." New IMS Corp. CEO Jeff Belskus, who replaced George, also said that "no major changes are anticipated." Belskus, who will oversee all aspects of the IRL, IMS and IMS Productions, said that he has a "lot of catching up to do in a short period." Also "still to be resolved" is George's next contract with IMS Corp., which will "retain him as an adviser to many of the family businesses" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/11). George in the statement also said, "I have served at the pleasure of the board and, in doing so, I enthusiastically agreed to commit myself to stewardship of a great institution. While my service as CEO has now ended, I consider my stewardship to be a life-long appointment" (Vision Racing). George's statement also included a "section about his intent to propose a restructuring" of the IMS Corp. BOD. George in the statement said a restructuring would "provide a structure for better governance for generations to come." The INDY STAR's Cavin noted one objective of the restructuring could be to "lessen the control of his three sisters who voted him out of power" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/12).

OFF TO THE RACES: The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Pappone notes there were "empty seats in the sparse grandstands" at yesterday's Honda Indy Toronto, but organizers "stressed that 2009 is only the first in a five-year plan to rebuild the event." Organizers did not release official attendance numbers, but estimates "put the grandstand seats at about 15,000," and a "glance across the track toward the pit lane during the race showed grandstands with large blocks of empty seats." Andretti Green Racing co-Owner, President & COO Kevin Savoree, whose organization operates the race, said, "Would we like to have sold more tickets in these areas? Absolutely. But we did have a successful day. I think already we've looked at areas where we can add more seats and move seats to enhance the fan experience overall" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/13). More Savoree: "We have a five-year plan to rebuild this car race. We'll reflect on the event, and make it bigger and better next year" (TORONTO STAR, 7/13).

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