IRL, IMS making staff cuts

December 19, 2008
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danica2If you’re an open-wheel racing fan, should you be concerned that Detroit cancelled its 2009 Indy Racing League race, reducing the IRL schedule to 17 races? You bet.

Sure, Detroit—with all the tumult surrounding the Big 3—is among the hardest hit U.S. markets as the economy is bottoming out. But it appears that reports that there are no layoffs in the IRL and that all is well in the land of open-wheel were a bit premature.

Series and Speedway sources today told IBJ today that both the IRL and IMS are looking to make staff cuts. And these will go much deeper than the 15 people who lost their jobs in the Brickyard Crossing Inn closure. The IMS also has instituted a hiring freeze.

Series sources are also chirping that teams—including Vision Racing—are looking at tightening their belts and may be laying staffers off before year’s end. The belt tightening and even a few staff cuts doesn’t make me necessarily think the sky is falling.

But here’s what does worry me. An economist told me in August that we’d see real serious fallout by year’s end, and that he wouldn’t be surprised if at least one professional league folded. I scoffed. Then this week, the Arena Football League folded its tent. No, the AFL is no NFL, but it had the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, John Elway and Ron Jaworski behind it, and it had two decades of history to lean on. AFL officials said the league could return. Few sports business experts think that it will. That same economist told me once the first shoe dropped, others would follow.

The NFL’s move to eliminate 150 jobs—14 percent of its work force—over the next 60 days is a stark reminder that no sport, even the most popular U.S. pastime, is immune to the slowdown.

It’s true the IRL had only been in Detroit since 2007. Still last year, race officials said more than 100,000 fans attended the weekend of events including the race. The race had 69 corporate sponsors this year, up from 59  in 2007. Roger Penske poured $7 million into the Detroit facility to ready it for the IRL race held each September. According to a joint study conducted this year by the event and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Grand Prix generated over $55.2 million in economic impact for metropolitan Detroit in 2008. I’d say it’s possible that more than the first shoe has dropped.
  • AOW is already dead, although the zombies are still attempting to make it look real.
  • And I am sure by AOW you mean the much vaunted c>rt/ccws/owr, because that is all you side seems to think ever existed. By the way, I don't think you should call yourself zombies, that is a little harsh.

    Amazing how one race drops from the schedule, and that is in one of the hardest hit cities and the chicken littles come out.
  • Not only Chicken Littles, Indyman, but butt munchers. They're always talking out of their rear ends and now they are eating their own words, hence butt munchers. And, besides, they've already chewed up at least one of their own shoes. Let the survivors rule you gutter dwellers.

    Tought times require touch actions and it happens everywhere. Why, if the cash cow NFL must trim, what in sports in exempt? Such a shame that the NBA and Major League Unions don't ever face reality. Look at the NBA players getting paid millions for sitting on their cans. Wouldn't happen in the real world and those people had better wake up. Sponsors will no longer spring for the cash it will take to feed their habits.
  • Tony is backing another loser. I'm surprised.

    Maybe it's good that the US will not meet its self-imposed ethanol mandate for 2022. According to a new study by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, ethanol - whether derived from corn or cellulose - is the worst form of renewable energy. Ethanol's numbers were put to the test against solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The energy types were rated on their ability to power new-technology vehicles (plug-ins, flex-fuel ICEs and fuel cell vehicles). Ethanol lost. Big.

    The study, called Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security, found that wind-powered battery electric vehicles and wind-powered hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the cleanest ways to drive. The big problem, naturally, is that it's awfully expensive to drive a wind-powered BEV today. Still, the study is already having an effect. The Kansas City Star has already said that, It's time to ban all federal subsidies for this wasteful taxpayer investment in Midwest farmers and this inefficient use of corn to power vehicles across America.
  • Hey berwick, since you have all the answers: Why do blondes dye their roots brown?
  • SSD,

    Depends if you are viewing ethanol as a green power or a way to lessen our dependence and our subidizing of terrorist states. If you want green power, the only thing the greenies will accept is solar. It is the only one that does not produce greenhouse gasses. Of course solar is far from being effective for cars. So there is no fuel that will make the greenies happy that will work.

    Of course cellulose ethanol appears to have the best chance of providing us with a large degree of energy independence. They can grow it on marginal land and use waste cornstalks and cobs to make it. So it does not adversely affect food prices. So I am not sure what you mean by TG backing another loser.

    Now if you meant c>rt/ccws/owrs fans, then yes they continously backed losers.
  • SSD:

    For once I agree with you. There should be no federal subsidies for much of anything, especially using food crops for fuel. It makes no sense. Lastly, the insistence that we are facing a global climate crisis is coming under increased scruitiny and question by knowledgeable scientists. Since the entire scenario was promoted by Al Gore, whom also invented the Internet, well that's enough for me to begin to question its validity.
  • The American Petroleum Institute and there paid researchers and lobbyists are becoming almost as plentiful as casino lobbyists in Indiana.

    Guess they see a real threat to their exclusive monopoly on energizing the worlds transportation system with new ethanol and electric alternatives.

    Expect the rhetoric meter to rise as the new state and national legislative sessions convene.
  • The earl should lay off its entire staff, and cease operation. IMS should follow suit and then close the track permanently as it is extremely unlikely to ever recover from the damage inflicted by Anton running a completely fraudulent failed imitation of the 500 since 1996.

    So yes, as a racing fan, I am concerned. Concerned that only Detroilet is off the schedule so far, and that the idiotic 'league' is still a going concern. 17 more to go.


    And those '100,000 fans' they are claiming for the attendance, well it looks like a conservative estimate would put at least 90% of those tickets as promotional freebies (meaning they got 'sold' for like $1) since Penske is now claiming it never made money.
    I'm sure the charity that was supposed to get the profits from this are thrilled with his accounting. :lol:
  • Hey, now maybe Berwick Girl and Mindyman can get their dream jobs as volunteer, non paid yellow shirts. You two seem to have plenty of time on your hands and limited intelligence which makes you prime candidates. And if you work for free for twenty years, IMS will give you a bronze badge so you can see irl* heroes Special Ed, Foyt IV, Marty Roth, and maybe even Greg Ray up close and personal. How exciting!
  • Stan and Brett,

    Nice... run down anyone who tries to do something worthwhile. Oh, but it's ok because you put a cutesy little smiley face on it. Perhaps its time to call Tony Kanaan, since you always like to run him down too. He'll come over and pour about a 55 gallon drum of whoop a## on you heads.
  • That's funny, Kanaan is about 5'3 in driving shoes. Danicle would probably kick his ass.
  • Stan and Brett,

    Nice… run down anyone who tries to do something worthwhile. Oh, but it’s ok because you put a cutesy little smiley face on it. Perhaps its time to call Tony Kanaan, since you always like to run him down too. He’ll come over and pour about a 55 gallon drum of whoop a## on you heads.

    So you want to send Tony 'cement head' Kanaan to fistfight me and Brett instead of you? :lol: Like that would settle anything regardless? Brilliant earlriffic logic.
    Why not Greg Ray or Sam Schmidt? Or you? :lol:

    What exactly about the earl is 'worthwhile'? I'll answer that for you - nothing, so your idiotic premise is completely effing worthless. As is FTG's 'league'. And you. And jug-head and his AGR super-special friends.

    But your threats and delusions are high comedy, so please keep them coming.
  • toucan tony is a baby and yoiu are right danicle could kick his little butt she is the real deal dontcha know it! :gomers:
  • Anthony, did you mean for this forum to turn into a first grade recess? Cause you are letting an awful lot of children make very childish statements and insults of each other on here. I would expect better from the IBJ.
  • I agree Indyman. berwick's name calling should be nipped in the bud.

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim