SBD/Issue 163/Events & Attractions

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  • Baltimore Approves Plan To Bring IndyCar Series Race To City

    Baltimore Dedicating $5M In Federal Road
    Maintenance Funds To IndyCar Road Race

    The Baltimore Board of Estimates yesterday "signed off on a five-year contract with Baltimore Racing Development Corp., which is expected to land a deal with the Indy Racing League to be a stop on the circuit in August 2011," according to Brent Jones of the Baltimore SUN. Motorsports Consulting Services will design the 2.4-mile course that will run through the city, and city officials said that "work on the streets will be minimally intrusive but will take more than a year to complete." Baltimore is "dedicating $5[M] in federal road maintenance funds to the racing project and is requesting a $2.75[M] state loan for related improvements." The city is "expecting about 100,000 spectators for the annual three-day event." Baltimore officials "will build about 50,000 temporary grandstand seats around the track and sell general admission seats at M&T Bank Stadium, where the race will be shown on the replay board" (Baltimore SUN, 5/6). IRL is "expected to sign a sanctioning agreement in the next two weeks." The race would be the IRL's "only event in the mid-Atlantic region, giving it a foothold in a densely populated area that has little history with open-wheel racing" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/6).

    FINANCIAL BREAKDOWN: In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow reports the BRDC as part of the deal will pay the city $1.25M "over five years in an annual race fee." The city "will also share in a percentage of revenue generated by the Baltimore Grand Prix in the second year of the event." Baltimore "would recoup its dollars, and profit, from the revenue-sharing agreement and race fee," and the BRDC will "establish a charitable arm and be required to donate at least $100,000 each year of the race to local nonprofits." The BRDC "would have a budget of around $14[M] and revenue would be generated through sponsorships, ticket sales and hospitality" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 5/6). In Baltimore, Andy Green wrote if the race is "as good as its supporters say it will be, the investment will more than pay for itself." The "tourism and international exposure an Indy Car race could bring to Baltimore would be a tremendous shot in the arm for the city." But Green added, "Officials just need to be careful to make sure the benefits outweigh the costs" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 5/5). 

    AD AGENCY SELECTED: The BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL's Sharrow reported GKV, Baltimore, has been selected to handle marketing and advertising work for the race. GKV "will be charged with designing a Web site, creating a logo, coordinating marketing surrounding the event and overseeing media buys." Firms competing for the contract included Planit, Renegade and the Leffler Agency. Maryland-based Maroon PR "will continue to handle the public relations for the race" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 5/5).

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  • Finchem Pleased With The Players Championship's Move To May

    Finchem Believes Players Championship's Move
    From March To May Has Been A Success

    The Players Championship teed off this morning at TPC Sawgrass, and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said he thinks the move of the event from March to May in '07 can be pronounced a success because it "hasn't hurt ticket sales," according to a Q&A with Garry Smits of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Finchem: "We've accomplished what we tried to set out to do. The only negative I can think of is that the local fan base here is used to the temperatures in March." Finchem added, "It's still a young event, but has had great quality of the champions. It's rooted here now, in May." Meanwhile, when asked about the "issue of whether it's accepted as a major championship," Finchem said, "People have the perception that I’ve stood on a soap box trying to make The Players a major, but I’ve been pretty consistent that we make it the best tournament we can and let others decide" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/3).

    THE FIFTH MAJOR? FANHOUSE.com's Mick Elliott noted 27 of the top 30 golfers are scheduled to play in The Players, and the $1.71M first place prize is the "largest of the season." The event is often referred to as the "fifth major," but the three WGC events "were designed to bring the world's best players together and may carry greater global notoriety." Golfer Lee Westwood said the event "probably used to be regarded as the fifth major, and it felt that way back in the late '90s." Westwood: "But since the invention of the World Golf Championships, I think it's actually stepped back from that. They have to go in now before The Players Championship." However, Tiger Woods said The Players is "much bigger" than WGC events. Woods: "The field is so much deeper. Generally you probably get, what, 95 or above of the top 100 players in the world each and every year. And you don't really get that in all the World Golf Championships. Usually, the cutoff is around 50" (FANHOUSE.com, 5/4). Golfer Jim Furyk said, "Including the major championships, it is the best field in golf. ... It is an easy argument to battle this versus every other golf tournament. It is far and away, in my mind, the biggest event otherwise." Golf Channel's John Hawkins: "The whole fifth major thing kind of irks me, but that doesn't mean it is not one of the best events top to bottom that we play all year" ("19th Hole," Golf Channel, 5/5).

    TURNING POINT: In Jacksonville, Roger Bull reports the Island Club at TPC Sawgrass, which "sat near the ninth green most years and developed a bit of a rowdy reputation," has been replaced by The Turn, which is "up on the hill" near the 9th and 18th holes. Tickets for The Turn, priced at $376 each for the week, "sold out quickly." The long tent "sells food at one end," the bar is in the middle, and it is "filled with lots of tables, with TVs scattered along the walls." There is a "terrace with three rows of seats overlooking the lake on the 18th, with the scoreboard visible right across the way." The "side overlooking the ninth doesn't have a terrace, just tables lining the windows." Perhaps "most importantly, it's air conditioned" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/6).

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