Race On in Baltimore after new GP deal

14 May 2012 | Posted in Agencies, Hosting, Motorsport, North America, | By Michael Long

Race On LLC, a consortium led by JP Grant, and racing driver Michael Andretti’s Andretti Sports Marketing have reached an agreement with the City of Baltimore to organise and manage the Baltimore Grand Prix.

Under the terms of the five-year deal, which is subject to approval by the Board of Estimates in Baltimore, Race On LLC will assume the role of organisers for the annual Izod IndyCar race and the coinciding American LeMans Series meeting, while Andretti Sports Marketing will handle all commercial affairs, such as selling sponsorships, managing public relations, marketing, ticketing, hospitality and other logistical and organisational aspects.

If the deal is voted through when the Board of Estimates convenes on 16th May, Race On LLC, which is fronted by JP Grant of Columbia-based Grant Capital Management but also includes Andretti and Greg O’Neill of Baltimore’s BMW Construction Specialists, will become the third agency in six months tasked with organising the race, the inaugural staging of which took place in front of some 160,000 spectators on America’s Labor Day last year.

Previously, Baltimore Racing Development and then Downforce Racing had been charged with overseeing the street race, but the city’s contracts with both groups were terminated after financial and organisational problems.

Commenting in a statement, Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said: “The Grand Prix was a great event for Baltimore that boosted our local economy and showcased our city on the international stage. This has been a difficult process, but Race On and Andretti Sports Marketing have what it takes to move forward and make this world-class sporting event successful for Baltimore.”

Andretti said: “Our company has a history of resurrecting races in cities such as Toronto, Milwaukee and St. Petersburg, Fla., so we are confident we can do the same for the Grand Prix of Baltimore. By combining our decades of motorsports expertise with the substantial backing of local investors and community support, we believe the Grand Prix of Baltimore can become one of the most prominent sporting events on the Eastern Seaboard. We're thrilled to be working with Race On, J.P. Grant, Greg O'Neill and the city of Baltimore.”

JP Grant added: “We have assembled a great, world-class team that will ensure the Grand Prix of Baltimore is a success. I grew up in Baltimore. This event is great for the city I love and will become a new tradition Baltimoreans can be proud of for years to come.”

According to the contract, Race On will pay a flat US$350,000 Race Event Fee due 30 days prior to the race, with that sum set to increase by US$25,000 a year through until the end of the deal in September 2016. The agreement may also be extended for an additional five-year term.

Other terms include an annual Community Impact Fee, included in the Racing Event Fee, of US$50,000, which will cover the cost of neighborhood cleaning, and a provision for revenue sharing. The City will receive ten per cent of any distributed cash in excess of a base return of US$1 million for each year of the agreement.

This year's event will once again take place over Labor Day weekend from 31st August to 2nd September.

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