BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The numbers are in, and Race On claims success. The Grand Prix of Baltimore drew tens of thousands of spectators and millions of dollars.
Political reporter Pat Warren tells us how many and how much.
First, remember what a struggle it was to find new race operators after the financing problems of the first and second group that wanted to organize the Grand Prix. Race On came in as the third group, and had just 100 days to pull it off.
Race On took on the Grand Prix of Baltimore with a game plan.
“It’s like that Ravens offense in 2000, 3 yards, 5 yards, little mistakes, we kick a field goal, but we win the game,” said J.P. Grant, Race On organizer.
And Maryland is more than $42 million richer for it.
“This is what we accomplished in 100 days,” Grant said.
Baltimore saw nearly $25 million, $22 million spent by spectators visiting to see the race.
“This is a windfall. This is a Ravens game on steroids,” one attendee said.
In addition to business volume, the report says the city and state each gained more than $1.3 million in taxes.
“Baltimore’s such a cool city. Fans come out, really support us,” one driver said.
While Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called it a terrific event, at 131,000 it fell 30,000 short of the number of spectators last year and made $5 million fewer in economic impact.
“The economic impact report, in my mind, was like a report card for us on the race,” Grant said.
Grant tells WJZ the failures of two previous groups to get the Grand Prix up and running this year put pressure on Race On.
“We did face some healthy skepticism from businesses around the race,” he said.
But there’s a healthy optimism going forward.
“People have to have a reason to come and take a look. Our tourism people tell us if they come, they will come back. This is what this is about,” Grant said.
And Race On hopes to have next year’s tickets on sale in time for Christmas.
The Race On partners commissioned the economic impact report to get a comparison for the future.