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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Voices from the Heartland: Well, Duh! NASCAR PR Once Again Overstates the Obvious

Whenever I am feeling down and I’m sure that my world is going straight to heck in a hand basket, I can always count on a bit of NASCAR PR to brighten my day and reassure me that the world is, in fact, a good and happy place. This week was no exception.

The press release that once again allowed me to sleep peacefully wasn’t actually from NASCAR itself, but rather, Michigan International Speedway. However, since MIS is owned and operated by International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and ISC is essentially the conjoined twin of NASCAR, I consider it all from the same source.

What this particular press release stated was that MIS has a greater economic impact to the Detroit area’s economy than the Super Bowl. Wow! NASCAR bigger than the Super Bowl?! That’s pretty impressive. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that the particular study in question was made by noted economist Gary Wolfman, Ph.D. What a noted economist is, as compared to a non-noted one, I have no idea; I am not known for hanging out with economists, noted or not. I do, however, happen to be personal friends with a man who is the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of a well known national corporation, and I will ask him what the difference is. It is my guess that he will tell me that all that means is that Mr. Wolfman stayed in a Holiday Inn Express recently.

At any rate, this particular press release went on to inform me of the following interesting tidbits to prove its point:

  • Michigan International Speedway generates more than $400 million in total economic activity, with more than $260 million of that in direct economic benefit.
  • MIS employs more than 5,000 people at its events, generating an annual payroll of about $5 million.
  • The speedway’s capital investment projects of $66 million between 2000 and 2006 added an average of $9.5 million annually to the state’s economy. Another $10 million in upgrades has begun for 2008.
  • Michigan International Speedway annually pays $2.1 million in property taxes.

It went on to compare that the Super Bowl, held in 2006, only generated about $302 million for the local economy.

Now, my faithful readers, let’s take a minute to take a breath here. Despite the facts that have already been presented, what is the major problem with NASCAR’s argument?

Still can’t see it? (If you can’t, you must be one of those people in need of immunizations before heading to the track).

Well, here’s your answer: The Super Bowl has only been held in the Detroit area twice in its 42-year history!

Excuse me if I am wrong, but aren’t there TWO races a year at MIS?

Super Bowl XVI (that’s 16) was held in 1981 in Pontiac, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), and Super Bowl XLII (that’s 42), in 2006 was held at Ford Field, also in a suburb of Detroit.

Are you with me yet? Do you see where I’m going with this? You should if you have half a brain,

NASCAR runs two races a year at MIS!! Of course there is more of an economic impact! The Super Bowl has been in the area only twice since I have been alive!

Many people who will read this will write in and say something to the effect that it must hurt to hate NASCAR this much, and that I need professional help.

Yes, I need professional help, but that is beside the point. If you want to believe that NASCAR is so much ahead of the NFL, why does the France family go out of their way so much to convince you?

It is often said that I hate NASCAR. That is NOT the truth. What I hate is some entity trying to tell you what to believe. You cannot compare apples to oranges. Why doesn’t the speedway come right out and compare themselves with the Detroit Lions and the NFL in general?

Is NASCAR afraid that they cannot beat the Detroit Lions? Granted, the Lions are not your premier team in football, but as much as I like stock car racing, I’d bet my bottom dollar that the Lions have impacted the Detroit economy more than NASCAR ever will!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer