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Grand Prix Of Puerto Rico Set For Oct. 26
Tourism Co. still deciding how much to donate to sponsor event
By EVELYN GUADALUPE-FAJARDO
May 1, 2003
The Puerto Rico government has given the green light to hosting the season finale of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup at Isla Grandes Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport this October.
The series kicked off in February with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla., and continues in May at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmansville, Ontario, and Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. The Grand Prix of Puerto Rico will be Oct. 26.
"Its a great opportunity for Puerto Rico to have a world-class event at a time of year [tourisms off-season] when we are desperately in need of tourists," said Rick Newman, president of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association.
Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Executive Director Jose Suarez said the agencys board hasnt decided how much money to donate to promoter Jorge Diaz, who has requested $1 million for the event. The board will make a decision at its next meeting, this month.
"The Tourism Co. is evaluating [the request]," said Suarez. "It interests us to sponsor the event because we believe it will be positive for Puerto Rico. . .but it is still too early to say how much we will give."
Newman said an event of this kind has the potential to fill 2,000 hotel rooms and could inject an estimated $12 million to $15 million into the local economy. "This event is beneficial not only for hotels but also for restaurants and transportation operators," Newman said.
The race will be televised by a U.S. television channel affiliated with Fox and has a potential audience of 68 million viewers.
"There are people who follow this kind of event and we anticipate a large number of spectators," Newman said. "The other thing that is important is that this is a circuit and Puerto Rico is the last leg of the race, which means the people involved will be relaxed and not in a hurry to head off to another event. This give us the opportunity to market to them extended stays and visits to areas outside of San Juan."
The decision to host the race in San Juan was made despite an analysis by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority that using the airport for the race would provide more hassles than benefits. The Ports Authority study indicated Hiram Bithorn Stadium would be a better alternative to Isla Grande.
The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup features closed-fender, production-based, V8-powered racecars. It is the oldest continuously running racing series in the U.S. and celebrates its 38th anniversary this year.
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.