Why the Grand Prix Failed in Baltimore

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While I wasn’t sad to see the Baltimore Grand Prix go, I was a little curious about what exactly went wrong.

Well, now I know, thanks to a case study on the Grand Prix’s Baltimore failure by Andretti Sports Marketing, the company that handled the event’s promotion.

“Baltimore was an example of, whenever we were selling, it felt like we were outsiders. It was a case of ‘You’re not from here,’” company president John Lopes told MotorSportsTalk recently.

Lopes blames vague “problems with the [previous] promoter” for the city’s reluctance to embrace the car race. In the event’s second year, they brought in a new promoter, who didn’t work out. ASM took over in 2012, just 90 days before the event was scheduled to take place.

Besides promotion issues, there were scheduling issues, as well as problems with fund distribution: “The big thing with Baltimore was that it was in three different taxation zones. Everyone took chunks out of the event. There was state; county; the convention center had to take $250,000; the city had huge taxes, the fire department brought their stuff. So it was difficult for the event to gain any traction,” Lopes said.

Ultimately, Lopes seems to think that if the city had given even more money to the IndyCar event, things might have worked out. “[Louisiana] put $4.5 million into [next year’s New Orleans grand prix race], which shows it matters. That never happened in Baltimore. Nothing injected revenue into the event.”



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3 COMMENTS

  1. So, I hope Baltimore City didn’t have to pay for a study on why it failed. Here’s why it failed. That event was pushed on the community by the promoters and the Mayor’s office before they had proper funding. They needed to delay the event until they secured the title sponsor. Instead, they were always operating from behind. Also, the big plus for having the event was getting Baltimore to look good on national TV. We already get that with the Ravens and O’s. I am glad we are not losing money on this event anymore.

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