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Auckland's V8 Supercar street race bid firms

Numbers firm behind Auckland V8 Supercar street race bid

V8 Supercar racing is highly profitable in Auckland now – and will become even stronger commercially if Auckland City succeeds in its bid to move it from Pukekohe to a proposed new street circuit in downtown Auckland.

The chairperson of Auckland City’s Recreation and Events Committee, Councillor Scott Milne, said today a new street race in the central city would draw larger crowds and greater sponsorship if the city succeeds in a bid to host one of the 13 races in the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

The council has decided to bid to host a race a year for seven years, most likely starting in April 2006. The estimated economic impact is $45 million a year, or $315 million over seven years. If successful, the bid would also involve the city in bringing forward road improvements and carefully managing traffic and noise issues. The central city track, proposed to go round Victoria Park and using Fanshawe, Hobson, Victoria and Beaumont streets, would involve serious traffic restrictions from 7am to 7pm for three days during the school holiday-timed event.

The city is now also considering a commercial arrangement with event organiser IMG, the world’s largest event management group. This could involve a loan to or a stake in the event.

Mr Milne said today any commercial arrangement would be subjected to the council’s usual rigorous peer review procedure before proceeding. He was heartened by the fact that venues now being used in the super car series were profitable.

At Pukekohe, where IMG owns the race entirely, $2.8 million was being earned in hospitality and nearly $2 million in sponsorship alone, without counting earnings from ticket sales, catering commissions, merchandise and signage.

“IMG has already been told some companies will substantially increase their involvement if Auckland’s bid for a street race succeeds,” Mr Milne said.

Auckland was absolutely avoiding the mistake the ACT state government in Canberra had made – when it assumed total responsibility for the costs hosting a V8 supercar race in mid-winter. From the outset the state government was intent of having a race there and had lost millions. By comparison, the event had earned only $600,000 a year from corporate hospitality.

In Adelaide, where IMG is the state’s commercial partner in the V8 Supercar event, hospitality earnings are $5.2 million. Catering earnings alone at $1.1 million and there are millions in sponsorship revenue. The event drew 171,000 spectators in 2002 and about 181,000 last year. This year’s event runs next weekend (19 – 21 March).

“In Auckland, some of the hard yards have already been done. We know V8 Supercar event works financially. The event promises huge rewards and challenges for Aucklanders,” Mr Milne said.

“When the final shape of the event is determined – and Auckland’s bid is successful – I’m sure Aucklanders will flock to support the street race event.”

Ends

For further information, please contact: Councillor Scott Milne, Chairperson Recreation and Events Committee ph 027 494 6321

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