NASCAR HOF a white elephant?

NASCAR has put their Hall of Fame up for bid between 5 cities, but it's quite possible the only ones benefiting from the HOF will be NASCAR. According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte leaders have called the contest to win NASCAR's Hall of Fame a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to lure tourism dollars to the region. But an economic impact study shows the project would generate less revenue per year for Mecklenburg County's economy than a single Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway does for the region. And it would have only about five times as much impact as the McAdenville Christmas lights do in Gaston County. The study was conducted for the city to help build support for the hall. The Observer obtained it from Gov. Mike Easley's office through the N.C. Public Records Law (watch this study get swept under the carpet real fast by NASCAR).

The information provided to the Observer does not show, however, what the hall would cost to operate over time, who would cover those costs, or who would get the revenues if the hall makes a profit. That's what Jeff Wise, executive director of the Charlotte whitewater park project, would like to know. He said the NASCAR Hall of Fame is an exciting opportunity that needs to be evaluated, but the business case hasn't been made publicly.

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