Despite weather, IMS rings up profit

September 15, 2008
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valMotoGP’s open approach to disclosing attendance figures finally gives us a clear view on the revenue generation of an Indianapolis Motor Speedway event. IMS President Tony George and his legion of lieutenants are among the most secretive in sports when it comes to attendance figures. They won’t even disclose the venue's capacity.

MotoGP officials on the other hand were happy to tell media members that the IMS’ first MotoGP race at Indianapolis Sunday drew 91,064. Conservatively, that means the race brought in $6 million in ticket revenue alone. Friday’s practice drew 30,978 and Saturday’s qualifications attracted 52,010. Add in revenue from those two days, parking, concessions and other ancillary sales, and the first Red Bull Indianapolis GP brought in an easy $9 million. Subtract the $1 million to $2 million sanctioning fee and operating expenses for the track, and George likely came out at least  $6 million ahead. Again, this is a conservative estimate. And only four arrests over the long weekend mean the event wasn't nearly as taxing on area law enforcement agencies as the Indianapolis 500 or Brickyard 400.

Just imagine what the event's revenue might have been if the weather had been better. Sports economists and motorsports business experts agree that three sunny days could turn that 6 in the profit line upside down pretty easily.
  • They got a boost in profit for all of the $5 ponchos and $5 dollar poncho pants that they normally don't sell. :)

    Cool, I wish I could have gone. I'll be there next time if it comes back, which I think it is.
  • Good for TG and IMS. What is good for him is good for Indy. 75 degree weather and sunny skies would have brought in much more money.
  • Yep. Great event, nice turnout. Very few people from Indy.
  • As a huge open wheel auto fan with somewhat low expectations for this event, I have to say my first MotoGP experience was nothing but positive. Even in spite of the weather. All around good people at the event. Very hard to stereotype the demographics of the crowd for me. It was like a mix of IndyCar/F1/Motorcycle crowd. Very unique.

    I actually enjoyed the racing much more than F1. I still miss the intrigue of the cars in F1 though (but I'm there for a race, not a car show). Even the 125cc moto race was exciting stuff. Qualifying was quality too.

    Very good experience. Even with the weather, I left the event feeling that this event is kind of a new 'best kept secret' (to everyone except the 90k that showed up). I intend to spread the word, and hopefully get some more folks out to the track next year.

    Great show MotoGP! Thanks IMS and thanks MotoGP for putting on a great show! Oh, and I have to throw a shout out to Michelin for competing at Indy again. I'm one of your biggest critics, but thanks for getting it right this time.
  • And it was quite a show downtown Saturday night. Motorcycles and quite an almagamation of cultures coming together for a great festival atmosphere. Whoever thought to close off part of Meridian Street for motocycles and pedestrians--brilliant!
  • Red Bull knows a little about marketing an events. :)

    Maybe Tony and his goons can get a little rubbed off on them.
  • Maybe somebody is rubbing off. I saw what looked to be like a team of three Izod marketing associates. They were at least from my view taking notes in the garage area, the MotoGP 'mall' so-to-speak. And they were moving from spot to spot with a purpose.

    I didn't see any Izod apparel in the shopping area, so I have to assume they were with the ICS/Izod team. Here's hoping they activate their product as well as say, Ducati. If so, I'm in for a team shirt or jacket for sure. See you in May, Izod. See you in May.

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