SBD/August 26, 2013/Events and Attractions

Baltimore GP Dealing With Challenges As Organizers Try To Ensure Event's Future

Finding a weekend for the Baltimore GP is one of the event's challenges
The Izod IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Baltimore currently has a "host of challenges," making it "increasingly possible this may be open-wheel racing's last year in the Inner Harbor," according to Chris Korman of the Baltimore SUN. Event and city officials last week acknowledged that they are "struggling to find" weekends in August '14 and '15 to accommodate the racing festival. Finding another date that "doesn't conflict with events" at M&T Bank Stadium, Camden Yards and the city's convention center has "proved difficult." Race On LLC partner J.P. Grant, whose company organizes the race, said that he "remains committed to establishing the event as a yearly tradition if it proves economically viable for organizers and the city." The race "still lacks a title sponsor." Grant said that it "needs more financial support from local businesses and both the city and state government." He is "treating last year's event -- which lost several million dollars -- as a 'baseline.'" He "expects to see higher revenue this year, based on ticket sales, but still expects to lose money." Baltimore Racing Development, the original organizer, said that the event "would have an economic impact" of $70M a year. However, studies paid for by the city and race organizers show that the "reality has been more" in the $45M range. Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said that IndyCar "remains committed to hosting a race in Baltimore, as long as Race On can secure a date." He is "pushing to make the circuit more appealing to fans by ending the season with a three-race series showcasing the circuit's three kinds of racing -- on an oval like the Indianapolis 500, on a permanent road course and on a temporary track like the one in the Inner Harbor -- while drivers chase points for the championship." That would "give the Grand Prix of Baltimore an opportunity to become a signature event" (Baltimore SUN, 8/25).
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