Broward County Officials Not Keen On IndyCar's $20M Request For Ft. Lauderdale Race
A request for $20M in county tourist taxes for an IndyCar race in Ft. Lauderdale was “flatly rejected Tuesday by an otherwise enthusiastic Broward County Commission,” according to Brittany Wallman of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Commissioners said that the “idea of a new signature event during a dry tourism period … sounds great,” but “not at that cost.” Broward County Mayor John Rodstrom said, "A $20 million request is so far out of the realm of possibility of anything we've ever considered before.” However, Wallman notes commissioners agreed to "move the proposal forward.” By “unanimous vote, they asked county staff to meet with the show promoters and come back with a request for less money.” It is “clear the county won't give” Andretti Sports Marketing President John Lopes the $20M spread over five years that he wanted. Lopes said that he is “not sure how low he can go and still put on a show." The event's budget each year is $10-15M, and "it won't turn a profit at first." Lopes: “If the number's zero there probably won't ever be a race here” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/14).
COMING ALONG: Lopes said that efforts to bring IndyCar to Ft. Lauderdale in ’13 remains a “work in progress but he’s encouraged by the show of support.” He said, “We’ve been working on this for a long time and we’re still in the due diligence phase of trying to determine if it’s something we can pull off.” SPEEDTV.com’s Robin Miller noted it was driver and Ft. Lauderdale resident Ryan Hunter-Reay’s “idea to bring the series back next to the Atlantic Ocean.” Lopes: “Absolutely, it all began with Ryan and it’s his vision. It’s a cool layout along highway A1A and if it happens it would be spectacular.” Miller noted the race “would also give IndyCar a 20th race in 2013 and hopefully shore up a big gap in the current schedule where there is no race from Sept. 1 (Baltimore) to Oct. 5 (Houston doubleheader).” The Ft. Lauderdale papers “speculated that it could be in October to coincide with the popular boat show.” Lopes said of a timeline for making a decision, “We could probably go as late as Christmas and still pull off a race next year but any later than that and we’re looking at 2014” (SPEEDTV.com, 11/13).