Loss of CART race would hurt Denver financially
Posted: Thursday December 4, 2003 4:51PM; Updated: Thursday December 4, 2003 4:51PM
DENVER (AP) -- Financial woes at CART could cost Denver its Grand Prix race -- and millions of dollars in potential revenue -- after just two years.
Officials with the Indianapolis-based racing series are considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and this week postponed the 2004 season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
CART, which became a publicly traded company in 1998, has struggled since the creation of the rival Indy Racing League in 1996. A bankruptcy filing would cloud the future of races across the country.
The company that operates the Grand Prix races said Wednesday it is too early to speculate on what will happen.
"We're watching the situation very closely," said Chris Esslinger, spokesman at Grand Prix Association of Long Beach Inc. "The good thing is we have the luxury of time, because the Denver race is not until August."
Last year's race brought $26.5 million to Denver, including food and souvenir sales, taxes, team expenses and track construction, according to the Mayor's Office of Economic Development.
"The national exposure on TV is great, and having an event that keeps or brings people into the city rather than the mountains is always important for Denver," said Rich Grant, spokesman for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Grand Prix organizers have contracts with Denver through 2008. The 2004 Denver Grand Prix is scheduled for Aug. 13-15.