SBD/Issue 163/Events & Attractions

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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