IndyCar might have an October race in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. if the city and promoters can work out a plan by December, but the city and the race organizers will need to come up with a lot of cash to make it happen.
Andretti Sport Marketing, which organizes the very successful Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Honda Indy Toronto, Milwaukee IndyFest, and Grand Prix of Baltimore Presented by SRT 2012, approached the City of Ft. Lauderdale with plans for a street race at the behest of team driver and 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who lives in the area.
The proposed three-day event, which would feature IndyCars, American Le Mans Series and historic racing as well as a concert and a charity gala. AMS is seeking a five-year contract with a three-year option.
AMS is sure the event will be a success—if the city puts up $20 million over five years. Broward County mayor John Rodstrom says the event sounds great but the price is too high.
“A $20 million request is so far out of the realm of possibility of anything we’ve ever considered before,” Rodstrom told ASM representatives, according to Sun–Sentinel.com. Still, Rodstrom liked the economic impact figures ASM presented, saying “This is a huge, huge deal, should we be able to land something like this.”
Broward County commissioner Chip LaMarca agreed. “I’m extremely supportive of the event,” he said. “How we do it, I guess, that’s the challenge.”
AMS projects $73 million in economic activity for three surrounding counties—Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade—from each event, with 68,000 people attending, 76 percent of which would stay in a hotel for two or three days, and dine and shop in the Ft. Lauderdale area during each race weekend.
According to ASM the city would collect $2.3 million in sales tax alone on each three-day event. National and international exposure for the city could be worth up to a million dollars more.
ASM estimates it would cost $10–$15 million per event; the firm wouldn’t expect to make a profit until the second or third year.
The city wants to see more proof that the race will pay off the way ASM claims it will before making a commitment.
ASM president John Lopes believes he can furnish that proof and possibly find some other funding to reduce the load on the city. “Our intent is to bring a world-class event to Fort Lauderdale, which essentially becomes a globally broadcast television commercial for Fort Lauderdale as well as Broward County,” he told the County Commission at its meeting Tuesday.
Lopes said he would look for more funding from private and corporate sources, but the city would need to contribute. “If the number’s zero, there probably won’t ever be a race here,” Lopes said, referring to the city’s contribution.