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My friends at The Octane Group who run the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix and the NASCAR Nationwide race in Montreal to the rescue in Edmonton!
The City of Edmonton will sit down with Octane to negotiate a deal that would see the Indy car race remain in Edmonton for at least the next three years.
Councillors voted 7-5 Wednesday in favour working on a sponsorship arrangement with the Montreal company, which would continue to hold the race at the City Centre Airport.
Mayor Stephen Mandel said, “When you look at what we get from it, it’s $18 million just on national media coverage,” he told reporters following a closed-door meeting. “That stuff is invaluable … in addition to all the intangible things.”
Although councillors gave acting chief financial officer Lorna Rosen a monetary cap for her discussions with Octane, details won’t be released while the talks continue, Mandel said.
Northlands has been in charge during the current three-year deal with the Indy Racing League which expires after this weekend’s race.
Over the last two years it ran up a $9.2-million deficit covered by the city. Losses are expected to be smaller this year.
The deal means the city won’t be responsible for any losses, Mandel said.
Octane will decide whether they want Northlands to continue having a role in the event, he said.
The company has a strong record for arranging federal government sponsorship money, receiving $75 million toward the Grand Prix, which bodes well for Edmonton, he said.
“Always the challenge in our race is we didn’t get the federal government support,” Mandel added.
“This is professional people. They know what they’re doing. There’s a big joie de vivre for the race … I think it’s very exciting to have a company like that involved.”
Last year Northlands expected about $2 million in federal and provincial grants, but received only $400,000.
Councillors have indicated in the past they might be willing to pay $1 million to $1.5 million annually in sponsorship as long as the city didn’t have to cover any deficit.
The Indy could continue to be held at the City Centre Airport at least until 2013, even though one of the facility’s two runways is scheduled to be closed in the first week of August.
Good news in the heart of affiliate TEAM 1260 land!