Baltimore Goes With Andretti Sports Marketing As Next Manager Of Labor Day IndyCar Race
Andretti Sports Marketing has "struck a deal with the city to manage the Baltimore Grand Prix for the next five years, the third group charged with organizing the race in the last six months," according to Jack Lambert of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The news comes three months after the city tapped Downforce Racing to "take over the cash-strapped downtown street race, but the group was never able to get off the ground and a deal with the group has been terminated." The new organizer, Race On LLC, is led by Columbia-based Grant Capital Management President & CEO J.P. Grant and BMW Construction Specialists VP Greg O’Neill. Andretti Sports Marketing "will help sell sponsorships, manage public relations, marketing, hospitality, ticket sales, track build, grandstand layout, and logistics for Race On." The deal "still needs approval by the city's Board of Estimates, which is set to vote on the contract May 16." Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office said that the city’s proposed new contract with Race On "guarantees payment for cost sharing City services." The agreement also "contains an escrow account on 10 percent of ticket sales to insure 'safeguards admissions and amusement tax revenue'" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 5/10). Baltimore City Council member William Cole IV, who participated in negotiations with the new team and IndyCar, said that he was "confident the race driver's company, Andretti Sports Marketing, could pull off the race in such a short time." Cole said, "There are probably very few groups that can step in at this point and have a race on Labor Day weekend." Speed's Robin Miller said that the new team "has just enough time to organize the race." He added that Andretti "would be able to tap into a deep network as he seeks sponsors" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 5/10).