NASCAR license deal reveals new details about upcoming race in Chicago – NBC Chicago

The NASCAR race to be held in Chicago next July could shut down part of Grant Park for more than a month, more than double what was previously planned, according to the event permit agreement obtained by NBC 5 Investigates.

It’s one of many new details revealed by the license agreement between NASCAR and the Chicago Park District, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act request, which several Chicago aldermen said they didn’t even have. seen before.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the event last month: NASCAR’s first-ever urban street race scheduled for July 1-2 next year. The city’s deal is for three years, tentatively scheduled for the July 4 holiday weekend in 2024 and 2025 as well.

The recently secured 46-page license agreement reveals an option to extend the deal for 2026 and 2027 as well. It also shows that NASCAR will be given a staging window for a portion of Grant Park west of Buckingham Fountain that will last 21 days before the race and then 10 days after. For the rest of the event site, including parts of DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive, Congress Plaza Drive and more, the staging window will take place nine days before and three days after.

“What we’re doing is basically leasing downtown and Grant Park to this private company,” 2nd Ward Ald. said Brian Hopkins.

NASCAR will pay the city $2 per ticket sold, excluding corporate suites and VIP passes, plus a net food and beverage commission percentage: 15% next year, 20% in 2024, then 25% in 2025 , according to the permit agreement. In addition to a portion of ticket sales, the agreement states that NASCAR will pay the city a permit fee of $500,000 for next year’s event, $550,000 for 2024, and then $605,000 in 2025. The event is expected to potentially attract 100,000 attendees.

“Compared to what we get from Lollapalooza, we get $6 million from Lollapalooza license payments, we’re going to get less than a million from NASCAR to tie up downtown and Grant Park over the summer,” said said Hopkins.

NASCAR will also use the Petrillo Band Shell from Wednesday through Sunday of the week of the event and will retain exclusive broadcast rights as well as 100% of sponsorship sales proceeds, according to the agreement. It also notes that the Park District has granted NASCAR “the exclusive right to hold motor racing events at Grant Park” during the agreement, which runs through the end of 2025.

“It’s going to be a very profitable event for NASCAR with all of their marketing, with all of their branding and all of their side deals, they’re going to do really well, they’re making money and we’re making pennies” , said Hopkins.

“It’s a bad deal for the taxpayers. Even if you’re a NASCAR fan, the city left a lot of money on the table,” he added.

The agreement also reveals that the city and NASCAR have agreed to “coordinate the content and timing of all public statements and press releases” and that neither “will make any public statement, to the press or otherwise, which would portray the other party in an unfavorable light”. light.”

“Judging from the details we just learned, it’s pretty obvious that the administration has prohibited NASCAR from sharing the terms of the agreement with the aldermen who represent the affected communities: the more we learn, the more this agreement worsens”, 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly said in a statement, adding, “I commend the media for securing the contract via FOIA, as this document had still not been shared with members of city council.”

The license agreement also states that NASCAR will pay the Park District a security deposit of $50,000 for each year of the event for any damages that may occur. It does not specify what repairs NASCAR should pay for if needed, only that a third-party landscape contractor will submit a damage assessment and post-event restoration estimate for NASCAR and the Park District to review.

“I find it incredible that the city thinks a $50,000 ‘security deposit’ is enough to secure tens of millions of dollars worth of city infrastructure in and around Grant Park – for a car race that sometimes involved crashes. major cars,” Reilly said.

Both Hopkins and Reilly said they believe the city council should have been more involved in this event and are pushing to change the rules so that in future deals like this require council approval.

Neither the Chicago Park District nor Choose Chicago’s Chicago Sports Commission responded to requests for comment.

NBC Chicago

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