San Jose organizers to ask taxpayers to chip in UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact.' See the exclusive report on our Hot news page. 01/10/06 [Editor's Note: Even NASCAR is asking taxpayers to chip in before building a new race track. The economic benefits of a race for a city are significant. Of course Bernie Ecclestone does this with all his races, but F1 fees are so high, they have to.]
Operators of the San Jose Grand Prix will ask today for $4 million in taxpayer money to keep the race going over the next two years, saying the cost of running the event exceeded what they expected.
The first car race drew an announced attendance of nearly 154,000 over three days last summer, and organizers were supposed to have covered anticipated city costs for such things as traffic management and code inspections.
Instead, city officials revealed Monday that San Jose was left with nearly $600,000 in unreimbursed expenses, and the organizers are asking the city council for much more.
``We were hopeful that we wouldn't have to change the agreement with the city that we had last year, but it became clear the start-up costs were significant enough that we need to partner with the city in a little stronger way to make sure we could continue the event,'' said Dale Jantzen, the race's president. Jantzen declined to discuss how much money the event lost on the 2005 race, saying it was ``proprietary business'' information.
Organizers have said the losses would be covered by Don Listwin, the former technology executive who founded the event to create a fundraising mechanism for his charitable organization, the Canary Fund, which focuses on research for early cancer detection.
City administrators who negotiated the new deal over the past several months with Jantzen and Listwin said the increased subsidy is justified by the other economic benefits the race brought to San Jose. They estimate the total economic impact from the 2005 race at $41.6 million, although that figure is not based on an actual survey of activity associated with the race.
Instead, it's an extrapolation based on spending patterns for other events that have been held in the city, which were then applied to race organizers' estimates of attendance. It also includes $18.5 million in indirect spending activity assumed to have trickled down through the economy.
The race, a Champ Car World Series event that was carried on the low-rated Speed Channel in 2005, will be broadcast on NBC this year on July 30, race officials said. The move, which has not been announced by the race circuit, should broaden the recognition the city will receive, officials said.
``This is an investment toward a long-term relationship that already has proven some great value,'' said David Vossbrink, spokesman for Mayor Ron Gonzales, who supports the new subsidy. More at San Jose Mercury News