By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The mayor stuck her neck out and spent $6 million making the city ready for the Baltimore Grand Prix. 

As Mike Schuh reports, those who brought the race here declared it a resounding success.

While it sounded like angry hornets, others heard the sound of success.

Terry Angstadt is the president of IndyCar, the company that controls which cities get these races.

“It was absolutely a 10,” Angstadt said.

With a worldwide audience, the city looked good on TV. A race organizer flew to Paris the next day. Baltimore dominated the meeting.

“They were talking about what a remarkable event it was, the unbelievable crowd shots and the scenes of the city,” said Scott Atherton, American Le Mans Series president.

Costs won’t be recovered this year, and firm numbers are scarce. But here’s what they have: 160,000 attended, local contractors were paid $ 3 million for goods and services and hotel business was up 44 percent with many sell-outs.

“Are the hotels happy this morning with the outcome of Labor Day weekend? When you hear of the Hilton up 250 percent, when you hear a 55 percent increase in rate, 45 percent increase in revenue, I think projections were met,” said Tom Noonan, Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association.

“It could not have been better for IndyCar,” said Angstadt. “It was great for our business. It was great for our brand.”

On the downside, traffic stunk on Thursday and Friday. Naysayers told the mayor this race would fail.

“I’m not a gloater, and this was not about me,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

And right before a primary, it was suggested to her this race was too risky.

“I was gambling my whole political career on one weekend, you know” Rawlings-Blake said. “I would gamble for the opportunity to hear this. This is people all over the world talking about Baltimore in a way that makes us all proud.”

The city is crunching the numbers. They won’t know if this was a financial success for a couple of weeks.

While the city would like to host the race next year on Labor Day, those running the racing series have not yet published their schedule.

Comments (4)
  1. Bob Higginbotham says:

    Some hotels benefited, a lot of restaurants lost money and the stands were never full. Many people were more than inconvenienced because of the inability to get around, get to work, get home or to eateries. Someone made the comment on air that Baltimore should do it again next year not realizing Baltimore is stuck with the race for 4 more years.

  2. G.Hammer says:

    The city is broken and broke, yet locals still take a “what an incredible inconvenience this is” stance. What a shame, because the energy of the weekend was over the top. Race goers were treated to a world class event and the nay sayers missed a great opportunity to enjoy the spectacle, the energy and the race and say “Yep. this is my city!”
    Overall the hotel I work at, just a few blocks north of the harbor, was not sold out, and the restaurant was slammed one day and more than a disappointment the next.
    We hope the positive reviews of the weekend will do more to entice people to join in the festivities next year, we hope the city and race organizers do a better job of advertising and promoting the race further out from race weekend next year, but are truly excited there will be a next year for this event. I’d call it a fantastic success, and look forward to watching the event grow and continue to stream revenue to a city that can use whatever help it can get.

  3. Robert Brown says:

    How about acommodations for the disabled. My husband was in a wheel chair.We went to Gate B the only gate on the map that showed handicap acessibility and asked about getting into the inside of the track and grandstands with lifts,No one could us give any information.We finally found out you had to go into the Bank of America building up two floors then over a bridge.On Sat.we found out there was a lift in section 26.When we went back for the main race on Sunday,that lift was broken and no one could tell us where another section with a lift was located.Means we couldn’t find a place to see the race we decided to go home ,We were stopped and not let over the bridge while the cars were racing.,We were eventually allowed over the bridge. We think that accomations for the disabled really need to be enhaced next year. The volunteers were very nice to us but just didn.t have the information, Mr and Mrs. Robert Brown,

  4. Racelover says:

    Well said Hammer. Of all of the east coast cities that this event could have been held, Baltimore was selected. Well done Mayor and well done Indy. That was one heck of a weekend. And hopefully next year it will be on standard television for an even larger audience who might not be able to make it to the race. That’s when those restaurants and bars in Lil’ Italy and elsewhere can enjoy a piece of the pie too. Can’t wait!!!

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