Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Racing On . . .

It was a big day at Camden Yards, with some welcome announcements coming about the Grand Prix of Baltimore and some very interesting special guests.

Race On and Andretti Sports Marketing held a press conference at Sports Legends this morning to tout ticket sales and event sponsors.

Camden Yards is fortunate to have Sports Legends, in the historic Camden Station, as a setting for press conferences and other sports-related events.  It's a real asset to our complex.

As you can see here, it is also provides a handsome setting to display the IndyCar.

Today, the good news from the Grand Prix of Baltimore team involved cash flow -- from big name sponsors and ticket sales.

Tim Mayer, General Manager of Grand Prix of Baltimore, announced that Dr. Pepper TEN (as in calories) has signed on as the official soft drink of the Grand Prix of Baltimore, and local grocery retailer Giant Food is the supermarket sponsor.  Both have signed multiyear contracts, and each will be involved in marketing campaigns in conjunction with the race.

Returning for the second year as fuel sponsor is regionally-based Sunoco.  As Mayer noted, motor sports originated as a means to test products under extreme conditions, so fuel sponsors have traditionally been among the most significant investors in racing.

(Once again, our neighbors in Ridgely's Delight enjoy great product placement, with their pumps and signage visible at Turn Ten.)

The press conference today was also the opportunity to recognize the American Le Mans Series as a major component of the racing weekend.

ALMS dominated the Camden Yards site last year, with their paddock and car corrals staged on Lots B and C.  Since Maryland has a large Corvette Club membership, they were well represented in the corrals.  That's Tommy Milner, of Corvette Racing, who recently won his class at Long Beach.  This very articulate young (26) man grew up in the Washington area with a racing pedigree.  His father, Tom Milner, has been both an owner and engineer in LeMans racing.  Tommy is excited to be coming back to Baltimore because he has so many friends in the area who came last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Next, Mayer introduced Ryan Hunter-Reay, the Andretti driver who leads the IndyCar circuit after winning the last three races.

In addition to his accomplishments on the track, Hunter-Reay is actively involved in cancer research.  He is a supporter of the LiveStrong Foundation and his own Racing for Cancer, an education and awareness effort which focuses on childhood cancer.

Hunter-Reay, whose "28" car represents the 28 million people worldwide living with cancer, announced he was partnering with the Ulman Cancer Fund on an event prior to race weekend.  The Ulman Fund, based in Maryland, focuses on support services for young adults with cancer.

Like Milner, Hunter-Reay is American.  That puts them in the minority of their respective disciplines.  Both are proud to show that the country hosting most of these races can also produce the drivers that win them.

For IndyCar, this the first time since 2006 an American is leading the field in points.

One key objective stressed by the promoters of the Grand Prix of Baltimore is that race festivities be an asset to local businesses, and not a liability.  They are making fan access to restaurants outside the racing zone much easier.  They also have an ongoing PR campaign to inform the public that downtown Baltimore will be open for business during the weekend, with numerous routes in and out of the city available.

We'll be hearing much more from our neighbors downstairs in the coming weeks.  Without disclosing numbers, they indicated they are pleased with the three-day ticket sales and, as of today, are selling the single day tickets. 

Be sure to visit their newly revamped website for up to the moment information:

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