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Baltimore Grand Prix falls short of expected revenue goal

The Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix that took place in Baltimore's Inner Harbor over Labor Day weekend, fell short of expected revenue. The three day long racing event, projected by organizers and promoters of the race, was supposed to bring in $70 million dollars. An economic survey that came out this week showed that spectators and attendees spent around $25 million.

"Based on our survey information, the Baltimore Grand Prix was certainly not a game-changer," said Dennis Coates, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Michael T. Friedman of the School of Public Health at University of Maryland College Park.

The distinguished Maryland university professors reported the $25 million dollar number in a report put together by surveys. Additionally they reported that about three-quarters of attendees came from Maryland. Interestingly they claim that the $10 million spent on food, merchandising, etc., would have been spent regardless if the race happened or not.

The professor's had students survey racegoers near several entrances. The students asked a series of questions regarding their spending. From these surveys only 9 percent were staying in hotels and 70 percent were returning home. The expected hotel bookings were 58,000 rooms, while these findings show it was about 34,500 hotel bookings over the weekend. The findings were equal to that of similar races in different cities.

Many Baltimore city officials dismissed the report by the two Maryland professors. They feel the city's economic analysis will be more complete and comprehensive. The city's analysis will be released in a few weeks.

"It seems that the Grand Prix would have a greater impact on the city based on length of the event, individuals staying in hotel rooms and ticket revenue generated," said Tom Noonan, president of Visit Baltimore. Noonan claimed that two recent Summer events in Baltimore, Artscape and the Baltimore Running Festival, had reported economic revenue greater than $25 million. The running festival brought in almost $30 million, while Artscape brought in $25.9 million. So he believes that the Grand Prix most likely will have generated more than $25 million.

Whether or not the race benefited Baltimore city's does not change the plans for next year. IndyCar officials confirmed that it will be returning next for Labor Day weekend.

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