IndyCar files lawsuit against Sao Paulo race promoters (Update)

UPDATE The IndyCar Series has "filed a lawsuit" against Radio e Televisao Bandeirantes Ltda., the promoter of an IndyCar race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, "seeking to recover a seven-figure sanctioning fee that was due this summer," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL.

The case was "transferred Dec. 12 from Marion Superior Court to a federal court in Indianapolis." Despite "troubles with the promoter," IndyCar officials have not given up on returning the series to Brazil. Though the lawsuit does not "reveal how much IndyCar is seeking and series officials are not commenting," a source said that IndyCar is seeking just under $10M for the annual sanctioning fee.

The Sao Paulo race brings in about $2M in annual profit for the IndyCar Series and "would be a painful loss for the open-wheel circuit," which has not yet turned a profit in its 18-year existence (Take a bow Tony George – look what you've done). IndyCar officials signed a deal with Radio e Televisao Bandeirantes in '09 to "hold the race in Sao Paulo" through '14.

That deal, "the lawsuit says, was later extended" through '19. While the race "seemed to be a significant moneymaker for IndyCar," motorsports analyst Derek Daly "doubts the race was making much money for the promoter." Radio e Televisao Bandeirantes officials "did not return calls seeking comment." INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL

12/23/13 The IndyCar Series has recently filed a lawsuit against Sao Paulo Indy 300 promoter Grupo Bandeirantes.

The Indianapolis Business Journal says the series is attempting to recover a seven-figure sanctioning fee that was due this summer.

IndyCar (going by its legal name of ‘Indy Racing League LLC’) filed the lawsuit against Bandeirantes on Dec. 12 in the Indiana Southern District Court for breach of contract.

Attorneys from law firm Ice Miller LLP have been listed to represent IndyCar in the case, which has one William T. Lawrence named as the judge.

The Sao Paulo Indy 300 ran from 2010 to 2013, but did not make the 2014 IndyCar Series schedule upon release in mid-October. At the time, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles noted that the Sao Paulo event could still happen. But that hope, you would think, is probably long gone now.

Word is that like the Chinese, who cancelled their contract, the Brazilian promoter wanted a reduction in the sanctioning fee. The amount IndyCar charges for overseas races is very high compared to domestic races. Japan also axed their IndyCar race. If Mark Miles thinks IndyCar can have a successful international swing during the offseason, this should put that notion to rest. Surfers, Motegi, China and now Brazil prove that the cost to put on an IndyCar race overseas given the high sanction fee makes it cost prohibitive. So any new overseas race IndyCar add won't last for very many years until the sanction fee is in line with the revenue a promoter can generate.

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