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MotoGP race-day attendance up; three-day total down

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Attendance for the weekend’s MotoGP event was a mixed bag for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Attendance for Sunday’s main event was 64,151, a slight improvement from last year’s 62,749, according to MotoGP officials.

But the three-day total going through the turnstiles at the Speedway was 134,766, the lowest of the event’s four-year stint in Indianapolis.

A total of 136,184 spectators attended all three days of action at the Speedway in 2010.
 
Motorsports business experts predicted that ideal weather for the three-day event could boost attendance 15 percent, but sunny skies and moderate temperatures didn't do the trick.

Officials say the hurricane battering the East Coast probably had an impact. Dozens of flights to and from Indianapolis were called off over the weekend. The cancellation of a motorcycle race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds also may have hurt attendance. That race drew about 9,000 spectators last year.

In 2009, attendance was 75,130 for Sunday's race and 146,680 for the entire event. The three-day total for the first event in 2008 set the high-water mark at 170,000, according to MotoGP officials.

IMS officials are still in negotiations with MotoGP to host the race next year. Speedway spokesman Doug Boles said an announcement will be made—one way or the other—in September.

“We’d certainly like to have it again,” Boles said. “We definitely think there’s a place for motorcycle racing at the Speedway.”

Speedway officials said they like the MotoGP race because it draws a different audience from the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400. If they can’t sign a deal with MotoGP, they said they will consider hosting a motorcycle race sanctioned by another series.

IMS President Jeff Belskus said there are some issues with the MotoGP race’s date in 2012. MotoGP officials, Belskus said, want the dates of the races at Indianapolis and Laguna Seca in California closer together so the teams can stay in the United States for the two races.

That might mean moving the Indianapolis race to early August, which could be difficult on the heels of the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race, which this year was held July 29.

Another complication: MotoGP has a 10-year contract to compete at the new Formula One track in Austin, Texas. The first race will be held there in 2013, though no dates have been announced.

 

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  • re: Attendance FYI
    Duh! Do they take the Sepang circuit AND the 77k of fans from Asia to Europe for the race, or just the circuit (and use European fans)?
  • Attendance FYI
    I believe Sepang in Europe pulls around 77k fans so if these numbers are correct, Indy GP is pulling pretty well.
    • MotoGp
      Was at Indy for the 2012 MotoGp and was very disappointed that the race wasn't restarted after the blown engine on Ben Spies bike. This was a huge oversight by Dorna race officials as it created a very boring race that followed! There was a race up until smoke in turn 1 caused the whole field to slow to a snails pace and from then on it was just BORING for the fans! I've been to this race every year since the first in 2008 and it was a total disappoint for me and my fellow race fans with me!
    • It's the Economy...
      Everyone knows we're all going through some tough times, & this event has had some tough luck w/ weather & disasters, but someday, the economy will improve (if Europe doesn't burn in ashes). In the meantime, it's still a No-Brainer that this event is a Money Maker for everyone involved: DORNA, IMS, the City of Indpls. Get together & make it keep happening. I agree, let's promote it a little better. And how 'bout making the course really World Class. Get some earth movers in there, build a tunnel out to the Back 40 & put in a few Elevation changes (or even better tear out the golf holes in the infield & extend it into that area). Perhaps the City could kick in a few bucks to help IMS make that happen & make Indy truly the Racing Capital of the World. Oh, one more thing... I am a race fan. I love all sorts of motorsports. I grew up loving the 500 & always will, but MotoGp is da Bomb right now. Who else can say "New Track Record." Get those grumpy 4 Wheeled biased Yellow Shirts outta there for that weekend & bring in some help that is more Motorcycle Friendly. It will grow. Nurture it!
    • indygen
      It didn't help that the pole sitter and eventual race winner said the day before the race that the track/racing were sub par for the series.
    • Ticket Prices
      Carrie, thanks for the info. I agree that is reasonable.
    • Advertising
      We stopped sponsoring the event because we received no advertising exposure as we were NOT the main sponsor. I agree Ginny and CK- poor/limited advertising overall! I did see an ad here and there but a very minimal effort at best hence only 62,000 attendees-
    • I am not really sure what media outlets you frequent, but I saw repeated ads for it on most major networks. There have also been billboards around town, including the suburbs. Add to it the media coverage on the tv and newspapers, I am not sure how you missed it, or short of having Belaskus come to your door to personally invite you, I do not think you can improve on the marketing.

      Anytime you went to Indy Star.com, a full page ad inflated in front of you.
      • Good for families
        Actually, it is pretty affordable for a family. General admission tickets were $40 and that got you into the infield. Kids under 12 were free when accompanying an adult with general admission. For $80 (plus parking and food) our family of 4 had great seats in the infield right on one of the turns. We loved it and hope the race returns!
      • Agree
        Ginny is right on the money. They need to do a better job of marketing the MotoGP and the 400. Until Saturday's paper, I had no idea it was this weekend. Have a big concert or something the week before to get people talking about it. The other thing I just heard is the lack of affordable tickets. If the cheapest seat is $75, that makes it tough for many people to take a family.
      • What race
        It might help if the advertise it. If I didn't work downtown I would not have even the race was in town. That falls back to the marketing division. Plenty of people enjoy the racing. Just have to have some hype with it. Make it affordable as well.

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        1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

        2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

        3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

        4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

        5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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