It appears that for a third year in a row, the Grand Prix of Baltimore will be run without a title sponsor – something that the Labor Day weekend event has never had since its inception in 2011.
General manager Tim Mayer told the Baltimore Business Journal earlier this week that his group is looking for a title sponsorship in the low seven figures and that multiple companies have expressed interest to fill that role for next year’s running.
A title backer would likely ease any lingering concerns about the event’s long-term presence in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Those concerns would appear to come from the Grand Prix’s past history of financial and organizational problems.
The race’s original organizers, Baltimore Racing Development, had its contract with the City of Baltimore terminated in 2011 due to unpaid debts, and the next managing group for the event, Downforce Racing, was quickly dropped after it failed to meet benchmarks set by the city administration.
In May of 2012, Race On Baltimore and Andretti Sports Marketing stepped up to organize the race with limited time to get everything ready; the race went off, but attendance, understandably, took a drop. However, with the luxury of a full year of preparation, things appear to be looking up for the Grand Prix.
While Mayer wouldn’t give exact numbers to the BBJ, he said that ticket sales and corporate suite sales are on line to improve from last year’s marks. In addition, there’s a bigger number of said suites – always a good sign for a street race – and with a 21-day track building schedule (down from 31 days in 2012, per the BBJ), there should be less hassle for the city’s commuters.