Motorsports have been a part of Hoosier history since the first running of the Indianapolis 500 more than 100 years ago, and a new Purdue University study shows just how important the industry continues to be to the economy.
The motorsports sector contributes more than 23,000 jobs that pay an average annual wage of nearly $63,000, well above the $39,700 state average, said the report released Thursday by the university.
The sector is indirectly responsible for 421,000 jobs, the study says.
The figures put the state’s motorsports industry nearly on par with the life sciences sector, which employs 48,000, pays an average of $68,000 and is indirectly responsible for 225,000 jobs.
“Indiana continues to build on its tradition as home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the annual running of the Indianapolis 500 by leveraging the industry’s strengths and advancing a vibrant motorsports economy,” Scott Hutcheson, assistant director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development, said in a written statement.
The study, titled “Race to the Future: The Statewide Impact of Motorsports in Indiana,” was released with the International Motorsports Industry Show running Thursday through Saturday at the Indiana Convention Center.
The show draws about 25,000 visitors to Indianapolis and is expected to attract more next year following last month’s announcement that it had been purchased by the Performance Racing Industry Show, the nation’s biggest motorsports trade show.
Among the top employers in motorsports besides Indianapolis Motor Speedway are racing teams led by Chip Ganassi, John Force and Don Schumacher, merchandising firms like MainGate Inc. and marketing firms such as Just Marketing International.
Motorsports companies in Indiana also are linked to industries such as defense and aerospace, auto manufacturing and orthopedics, according to the study.
In fact, technology used in race helmet design is helping produce football helmets that might reduce concussions, the study said.
Information for the study was compiled from databases supplied by the Indiana Motorsports Association and Conexus Indiana. The Indiana University Public Policy Institute also partnered on the study. Funding was provided through a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration office in Chicago.