I would like to offer a rebuttal to John Sangmeister’s Another View commentary about the Long Beach Grand Prix.
In the order of Mr. Sangmeister’s points, the first he states the “….Grand Prix has moved several times.” Actually, Shoreline Drive has been the location of the long, fastest part of the course since the inception. The race course has nearly always operated on dedicated public streets and established parking lots. Suggesting that we try and catch San Diego’s hotel and sports stadium efforts begs the question, where, and are we taking away existing parking in order to have more people per acre?
Secondly, is the matter about declining attendance. This is happening to all auto racing events across the entire country. Auto racing has never fully recovered from the Great Recession and industry statistics will bear this out.
The author and his friend the restaurant owner don’t need a crystal ball to see this. Nor do they need to burden the city attorney and auditor’s office with the expense of an audit. This is not the direct fault of the type of racing, the venue or the promoter, and least of all not the city of Long Beach. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath just yet.
I would like to analyze the correlation between the 1970s races in Las Vegas that, according to Sangmeister, his mother helped get started. There is no correlation. I was there at those races and that was unused vacant land behind the Strip. Of course development came about — Las Vegas held the distinction of being the fastest growing city in the U.S. for decades. We don’t need more development here in an already over-populated area on land for which we have a current and practical use.
Lastly there is the issue of economic impact. There is no question that the Long Beach Grand Prix brings direct and indirect revenue to the city in 10s of millions of dollars annually. One of the revenue sources creating a profit are the TV rights to the race. Considering that TV coverage the race gets, I have never seen any form of promotion that can match how the TV folks depict Long Beach during their various broadcasts. If you didn’t know any better you would think you were watching the race in Monte Carlo.
The TV folks do fine justice to our city and one cannot buy that kind of promotion for the amount of money the city spends on the race weekend. The Long Beach Grand Prix pays all the bills, including any services provided by the city. It’s a win for the city of Long Beach.
Long live the "Roar at the Shore."
Milt Becker is a Long Beach resident.