Despite the demise of the MotoGP race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Downtown Indy plans to continue the Motorcycles on Meridian celebration that occurs the same weekend as the motorcycle race.
The decision will help blunt the local economic loss from Friday morning's announcement that the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix will not return to the IMS next August, ending an eight-year run. It had been the international series’ only summer race in North America for the last two seasons, creating financial and logistical challenges for Dora Sports, the rights holder for the MotoGP series.
“We saw our biggest crowds last month, with approximately 20,000 motorcyclists at Motorcycles on Meridian drawing an additional 100,000 spectators,” Bob Schultz, senior vice president of marketing and events for Downtown Indy, said in a statement. “The event weekend (Aug. 7-8) generated an estimated $4.5 million in direct visitor spending, filling downtown restaurants, bars, nightclubs and attractions. We love them—and the business they bring to our downtown. Of course we’d want them back.”
Downtown Indy is working with long-time Motorcycles on Meridian participant ABATE of Indiana and other partners to ensure the event remains well-attended.
"Motorcycles on Meridian has grown to a point where it can likely stand on its own,” Schultz said. "We will meet in the next few weeks to review the 2016 summer calendar, determine potential sponsors moving forward and develop a plan.”
Madrid-based Dorna Sports and the IMS said they mutually agreed to discontinue the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, even though the contract was scheduled to run through 2017.
On top of Dorna's logistical challenges, the IMS had struggled with attendance, in part because of the dearth of top American competitors. Attendance at this year's race was only about 67,000.