Baltimore Grand Prix Officials Acknowledge "Financial Missteps" During Debut Event
Organizers of the Baltimore Grand Prix “are grappling with mounting financial problems, including a missed loan payment to the state and lawsuits alleging nearly $1.6 million in unpaid bills -- raising questions about their ability to host next year's car-racing event,” according to Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore SUN. The IndyCar event “thrilled spectators with a downtown race that sold 110,000 tickets and drew throngs to the Inner Harbor on Labor Day weekend.” But two months after the race's end, Baltimore Racing Development “acknowledges financial missteps, such as failure to pay the vendor that erected the grandstands.” Officials from the Maryland Stadium Authority, “which lent the company $2 million for road improvements and other infrastructure projects,” said that they “are meeting Friday with Baltimore Racing Development representatives.” MSA Exec Dir Michael Frenz, said that "he plans to 'delve deeper' into the company's financial problems, after it failed to make a $470,000 payment on the loan." Baltimore Racing Development spokesperson Edie Brown yesterday indicated that BRD President Jay Davidson, “who often served as the face of the event, will be ‘changing roles.’” BRD COO Pete Collier said that Davidson “would stay on as CEO but that his duties may change.” Baltimore City Council member William Cole IV said he viewed the Baltimore Grand Prix as "incredibly successful." Organizers had projected the event “would generate about $70 million in spending, though a study from two professors recently estimated that attendees only spent as much as $25 million.” Cole said of the race’s financial situation, "It's frustrating." IndyCar officials have “already announced that they have added Baltimore to the racing schedule” in ’12 (Baltimore SUN, 11/3).