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Study Finds Lower Grand Prix Impact Than Promised

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Baltimore Grand Prix - Day 3

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BALTIMORE (AP) — A report by two researchers published Monday estimates that Baltimore Grand Prix patrons for the three-day Labor Day weekend event spent $25 million, far less than the $70 million projected by promoters.

The event was not the “game changer” some hoped it would be, according to Dennis Coates, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County economics professor, and Michael Friedman, a University of Maryland, College Park kinesiology assistant research professor.

Hotels, restaurants and other businesses were expected to benefit from the influx of tens of thousands of race fans.

Promoters projected a $50 million influx to the city through spending at hotels, restaurants, retailers, other entertainment, transportation and costs associated with the race and another $20 million impact on the region.

Days after the race, officials with the city’s tourism bureau, Visit Baltimore, said a sampling of some area hotels showed 44 percent revenue increases. A more complete estimate including hotel and restaurant revenue, local contracting, ticket sales and favorable marketing and media is expected in coming weeks.

Officials disagree with some of the assertions in the report, but they may decide to incorporate some of the information about visitors’ perceptions about their spending into the economic analysis of the event, according to mayoral spokesman Ryan O’Doherty.

Based on 210 survey responses, Coates and Friedman estimate that with an attendance of 160,000 as reported after the race the total spending attributed to the event was $25 million and could be revised up to $33.6 million if they use more generous assumptions for spending.

Promoters projected 80 percent of patrons would travel from outside Maryland, but the report found that 76 percent of those surveyed said they lived in the state. They note that with that Marylanders likely would have spent money in the city or state anyhow.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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