Nancy Knapp Schilke
City of Baltimore terminates BRD contract but looks toward the future
News on the ongoing saga of Baltimore hosting an event in 2012 continues to make break on whether or not the city in Maryland would retain the Baltimore Racing Development (BRD) organization due to the debt they owed to the city and to the vendors from the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series races in 2011.
In a non-shocking move today, December 30th, the City of Baltimore announced that they terminated the contract with the BRD; which originally was set for five years. BRD was responsible for organizing the event from bringing in fencing to line the course, to selling sponsorships and tickets to fans.
As of December 9th, Motorsport.com reported that the city of Baltimore had given the BRD a warning and again was allowing them the time needed to pay the debt; earmarked for the end of 2011. At that time, the indicated that they were already looking into possible new organizers for future races on the city streets; including the return of the IndyCar series in 2012 on Labor Day weekend.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other city of Baltimore officials were still in the hope that the BRD would take the steps to pay off their debts but the deadline is tomorrow and apparently the debt will not be settled.
“The Grand Prix generated $47 million in economic impact and proved valuable in terms of positive media exposure and civic pride for Baltimore's residents," Rawlings-Blake said. "The event, if conducted responsibly, has significant economic value to potential investors and the City this year and in future years."
The first news of the event being in trouble came in early November when it was discovered that the BRD had failed to pay their debts and were in financial trouble. At that time, it appeared that the race was in jeopardy. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was a supporter but she did state that the BRD "needs a new management team."
It was discovered in November that the BRD CEO Jay Davidson was no longer only that position but was apparently still with the group. No comment by the BRD has been made since the first news of the BRD’s financial trouble made its way to the media.
In early December, it was noted by the Mayor’s office that she and other city officials wanted to save the race and would use the option to terminate the contract with the BRD and today that has come to pass.
The race could still happen in 2012. The city is not giving up and potential investors / organizers have already shown interest.
Please see: December 9th article