CHICAGO — New details about Chicago’s deal to bring NASCAR to Grant Park next year are further fueling some city officials’ displeasure with the upcoming event.
Up to 100,000 people are expected daily for the race. Documents obtained by Crain’s Chicago Business reveal, however, that the event won’t be as lucrative for the city as initially thought. Worse, the event’s impact on downtown Chicago may last longer than anticipated.
The city’s park district previously said NASCAR would have access to the site nine days before and three days after the event, but Crain’s Chicago Business reports that NASCAR will have a staging window of 21 days before the race and 10 days after.
According to the news outlet, NASCAR will pay the park district $550,000 in 2023 and 2024. The park district will also receive $2 for every ticket sold and a percentage of concessions and merchandise sales.
But NASCAR has exclusive rights to sell sponsorship.
Crain’s columnist on politics and government in Chicago, Greg Hinz, spoke on the financial comparison to another summer event in Grant Park.
“It doesn’t look like based on partial information that they’re kind of getting the financial compensation, the park district, that Lollapalooza is,” Hinz said. “It would help if the city offered all of the details for the people that live around here, who are going to have to deal with this, so they can better judge it.”
Justin Laurence, who covers City Hall for the news outlet, says, “In the Lollapalooza contract, they get a cut of the sponsorship and they get a cut of streaming of the concert. That’s not going to happen here. So the city, in all likelihood, will make much less money.”
Downtown Alderman Brendan Reilly reacted to Crain’s report, saying in part:
“Judging from the details we are just learning now, it’s pretty obvious why the Administration forbade NASCAR from sharing the terms of the deal with the alderpersons who represent impacted communities: the more we learn, the worse this deal gets…In my experience, Chicago taxpayers know a bad deal when they see one. And I’m sad to say: this is one of them”
The mayor’s office did not return WGN News’ requests for comment.