Grandstands

The grandstands were packed Sunday for the 45th annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The date is set, and for the first time in more than a decade, live network television coverage has been secured.

Now if the coronavirus will just cooperate.

Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian announced last Thursday, Oct. 1, that the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place April 16-18, with the INDYCAR main event on NBC live starting at noon Sunday, April 18. A full lineup of support races, including the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, is expected over the three-day weekend.

This year, the road course around the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center was almost half built when the state shutdown of all large events due to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March forced a construction halt, then the cancelation of the April race. A brief effort to reschedule failed.

INDYCAR has since produced several races, including the Indy 500, but in front of reduced audiences or no audiences at all. Michaelian said in an interview Friday that it wouldn't make sense to build the Long Beach course and run a race without most, if not all, of the fans in the stands. There is no revenue from the television network.

“For many years, we have worked hard to get coverage of the race on network television but always ran into conflicts with NBA and NHL playoff broadcasts," Michaelian said in the release. "This is great news for all of our clients including our title sponsor Acura.”

Later, he said that construction doesn't stop until late February, but a decision whether to move ahead would have to be made before then. The logistics of creating a temporary course, along with the time needed to attract and sign sponsors, requires more lead time.

The 2020 race would have been the 46th Long Beach Grand Prix, and next year's race would carry the same designation. Tickets are not available for sale yet. 

Fans who chose to credit their 2020 Grand Prix tickets to 2021 after the postponement of the event will be able to select their viewing options before tickets go on sale to the general public.

For more information, go to gplb.com.

 

 

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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