Yesterday there was a press conference regarding how Baltimore's economy benefited from the Baltimore Grand Prix. I was invited and attended to hear what they had to say and even got to ask a question. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Mayor of Baltimore, and Jay Davidson, president of Baltimore Racing Development were in attendance. To my surprise Terry Angstadt, the Indycar Commissioner, was in attendance as well as Scott Atherton, president of American Le Mans series.
The early numbers look good. Hotel revenue taken from 11 hotels around the track had a 44% increase in revenue from last Labor Day weekend. City parking garages showed a 119% increase in revenue. (No shit! They charged $40 for a parking spot.) The media coverage is valued at 3.5 million, which I am not sure how that is tallied. Jay Davidson said, “We spent more than 3 million dollars on local vendors.” which included D&T welding and Sparks Fencing. So obviously a lot of money was spent with Maryland businesses to put on the event.
I thought there would be more numbers on how the weekend went. More comprehensive numbers will be released by Forward Analytics on October 1st after Baltimore's Mayoral election on September 13th. Mmm… I find that very interesting. Don't you? Rawlings-Blake, “I don't have any preliminary numbers. As soon as I do I will make them available.” It's early but with computers you can't come up with numbers faster?
After leaving and talking with several of the PR and Marketing bigwigs of the city, I realized this press conference was mainly to applaud the people who put on the Baltimore Grand Prix. Nothing is wrong with that, since it did take a leap of faith. I was expecting some better numbers though. We will wait and see.
Pictures from the 2011 Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix! It was an awesome event. It made me want to jump in a car and drive fast! The first day was shaky and not well organized (that is really an understatement) but by Saturday and Sunday the operation was a lot smoother. You can check out more pictures on my Flickr page. Even more pictures to come. I hope to see more great racing next year in Baltimore.
It's a gold colored Media Pass! This gives you access to the pit lanes, media center located in the convention center (where they served lunch and drinks), all of the paddock areas, Grand Prix Circuit, and press conferences. Maybe there are other benefits I am not aware of? I also got parking passes for all 3 days of the Baltimore Grand Prix, but I took the Light Rail to get down here today. Traffic congestion is bad. Pictures to come!
If most of you have not heard tomorrow Baltimore will be hosting it's first Grand Prix. This a big event for our small city and it is supposed to bring in an estimated 70 million dollars. There are many people unhappy with the event. Rightfully so as this is causing huge traffic congestion downtown. Consider though how much this means for a city like Baltimore. Our reputation has been marred by such shows as “The Wire” and “Homicide.” While there are many fans of these shows and I would include myself among fans of “The Wire” our city is plagued by many issues. It all really comes down to Baltimore being a poor city. Attracting a big racing event will mean continued commitment to keep money flowing into the city. Tens of thousands are expected to come out for the Baltimore Grand Prix. Baltimoreans should be excited! I know it can be difficult with terrible traffic, which I experienced today. Many communities are still without power. Racing is the last thing on their mind. Even if this is only around for 1-2 years, it will be a Boost for Baltimore. I look forward to covering it this weekend for the people of Baltimore.
Hey Everyone, I just got some great news! I was media credentialed to go the Baltimore Grand Prix. I am sooo excited to be able to cover the event on this blog and The College Driver. Should be a lot of fun. If you have tickets, I look forward to seeing you there.