Mid-Ohio: Greedy hotel owners are killing track
The Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs are gone because of "excessively high accommodation rates" in the area on race weekends, according to Michelle Trueman Gajoch.
The president of TrueSports, which owns and operates Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, has sent a letter saying just that to members of the Richland County Chamber of Commerce and Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"In early February, members from the TrueSports Inc., staff met with the bureau to address growing concerns related to local hotel room rates," Trueman Gajoch said in the letter.
"At that time, the unique opportunity to once again host the SCCA National Championship Runoffs was afforded to TrueSports Inc. It was our hope that the CVB would assist us in addressing the exorbitant room rates with the local hotels to avoid such rates becoming a determent to negotiations with the Sports Car Club of America.
"It is with great disappointment that I inform you of the SCCA National Champion Runoffs decision not to return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2009. The Runoffs, which relocated from Mid-Ohio in 2004, spent the last three years in Topeka, Kansas. When the news came earlier this year that they would accept bids for a new venue next season, TrueSports Inc. submitted a proposal that was top-notch, and in our opinion, unbeatable.
"While the SCCA was in agreement with all elements of our proposal -- stated to us via phone and in writing -- and that our submission was the most thorough and complete, they have elected to take the 10-day event elsewhere."
Trueman Gajoch said the Runoffs would have brought $10 million to the local economy.
"Inquiries into their decision revealed that another venue was chosen strictly due to 'excessively high accommodation rates' in the Mansfield area, which were put in place by local hotel owners during our event weekends.
"Forcing competitors, not to mention spectators and corporate partners, to spend hundreds of dollars a night, coupled with a four-to-five-night minimum, is completely unrealistic and unscrupulous. Normal, nightly rates in the a area run for $49.99 to $79.99, while on a race weekend, rooms go for $200 a night minimum." More at Mansfield News Journal
[Editor's Note: Hotel prices for this weekend are down to the $139 to $200 range for most places. Perhaps they learned their lesson.]