IMS supports push for nearly $100M in improvements from General Assembly
PRESS RELEASE — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation announced Friday, Feb. 8 its support for proposed legislation in the Indiana General Assembly focused on strengthening the state’s position as the Racing Capital of the World and creating benefits for economic development in the tourism, hospitality and motorsports industries.
State Senator Michael Young (R-Speedway) is expected to introduce legislation Monday, Feb. 11 which will create an Indiana Motorsports Investment District that will capture state sales, income and corporate taxes at the commercial property that includes IMS for future investment in the Speedway.
“IMS is an enormous, 100-year-old facility. In addition to the many annual projects to maintain it, we need to make the Speedway more flexible, more modern and better positioned to attract more fans to IMS and Indiana,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. “In addition to funding contributed by IMS, the Motorsports Investment District will use dollars generated at IMS to enable the fan experience at the Speedway to continue to be the most enjoyable in motorsport.”
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in new racing facilities, combined with upgrades at existing tracks that are publicly financed. This legislation is needed to ensure Indiana remains competitive and maintains its position as a driver for the motorsports economy.
The Purdue Center for Regional Development released in September 2012 a report on the impact of motorsports in Indiana that showed the industry touches 91 of 92 counties in the state and includes 23,000 direct jobs that pay an average wage of nearly $63,000, which is $13,000 more than the average state wage. In fact, a study commissioned by IMS, to be released next week, indicates that 6,100 of those jobs are directly or indirectly related to IMS or INDYCAR racing and contribute nearly $300 million to the Indiana economy.
“It is clear motorsports plays an important role in the success of the Indiana economy, and there is no place in the world better identified with our industry than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Tom Weisenbach, Indiana Motorsports Association executive director. “This is an economic development initiative that will strengthen our tourism and hospitality industries and also help grow our state’s economy.”
According to the legislative proposal, at least $70 million in significant capital improvements would be made at IMS, using funding from a new Indiana Motorsports Investment District and investments made by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Potential projects that could be implemented by IMS because of this legislation include installing lights for night events at the 2.5-mile oval, the addition of high-definition video boards, LED scoring and information boards, technological upgrades designed for increased fan communication, structural renovations to stands, upgrades to seating and restrooms, and infrastructure improvements to parking, tunnels, gates and fan access points.
IMS officials indicated that the Motorsports Investment District as proposed would not financially impact the local school funding formula because it would not be funded through property tax collections.